Hello there …. my name is Alisa Brenes and I am a 16-year Stage 3 lung cancer survivor.
I guess you can say my lung cancer journey started before I was born. My mom, my maternal grandfather and many of his siblings all died of lung cancer. I am motivated to do my part to end our family history now.
I have been a lung cancer advocate for over ten years, most of my work behind the scenes, but little by little I’m coming out and sharing my story. I hope to follow this introduction with
I am now on disability, fighting my cancer is a full-time job. In my past life I was the Business Development Manager for a technology company in Rohnert Park, CA. When not doing advocacy work you can usually find me in a spin class or out in Mother Nature hiking or biking with my friends.
I was dx with Stage 4 Lung Cancer in June of 2009. Since then I have done radiation, six cycles of chemotherapy Taxol, Carbo and Avastin for the lung cancer. That was followed by six cycles of Genzar for
Amazon Kindle Royalties Donated to LUNGevity.org During November:"I am not a doctor; indeed, I possess little medical knowledge. I am, however, a very experienced and long-tenured lung cancer patient. That gives me a unique perspective on the disease that kills more people—many times more—than any other type of cancer. I do not intend to fill this story with statistics. They are readily available from any number of reputable resources. I have a firm belief, however, that lung cancer resea
I first got involved with LUNGevity in early 2013. My husband had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer and I was looking to participate in a walk to raise the much needed funds for research.
I chose to work with LUNGevity because I saw that they had many walk/runs throughout the country. Prior to my husband's diagnosis I didn't know much about lung cancer and like most people believed it was unlikely to ever touch my life as we both have never smoked. After his diagnosis I learned that
I will donate all Scanziety Amazon Kindle Store sale royalties for the Month of November to LUNGevity.org to support much needed research. I wrote for the book for three reasons. First among them is “to raise a call to arms for funding lung cancer research.” Help me raise the call to arms! Read a book about surviving lung cancer and donate to sponsor research to find, fix and finish lung cancer.
Stay the course.
Get your copy of Scanziety here https://www.amazon.com/Scanziety-Retrospec
Meet Charlett Emilyrose Wilson, my first grandchild. Her parents, daughter Melissa and son-in-law Bill, are overjoyed. I am ecstatic! Proud would be a vast understatement!
Charlett was born 12-years, 8-months, and 13-days after my diagnosis with NSCLC. I celebrate this joyful milestone in my life for but one reason. If I can live, so can you.
Stay the course.
The other day, in conversation with a newly minted medical school graduate, he told me low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) was dangerous. Dangerous! If LDCT is dangerous, what is late discovery of lung cancer? He nearly fainted when I told him I had perhaps more than 40 CT scans in my treatment history, telling me I was a candidate for radiation induced cancer. It didn’t seem to register that I was a candidate for extinction by lung cancer.
We are told the only effective way of treating our
I just completed a most unusual intellectual assignment—evaluating molecular biology and pathobiology research grant applications. When I learned of my assignment, I wondered how I’d make the academic stretch from civil engineer to biologist.
Sure, on a good day, I can spell pathobiology correctly without aid of a spell checker. Why would someone deliberately assign me to review molecular biology stuff? I’d forgotten. I was a lung cancer survivor and expert, not by education but by expe
LUNG CANCER ACCOUNTING—A METHOD TO WIN THE BILLING BATTLE
Treatment for lung cancer was, hands-down, the hardest thing I ever endured. What’s the second hardest? Without a doubt, it is settling treatment bills. After nearly 13 years, I still get them. Despite all of the advances in information technology, medical invoices, including medical insurance invoices, are the most unnecessarily complex documents ever created. Their level of useless intricacy bests even lawyer generated minutia
Chances are you pay attention to new treatment developments. I was aimlessly scrolling through a social media app when I happened on a dramatic interview. Everything was staged to look legit. The interviewer looked like a TV reporter, the background scene looked like a doctor’s office, and the set up question “doctor, let me talk about cancer a little bit” got my attention.
The camera changes views to the doctor as the reporter says, “what are some of the things you’ve seen in terms of y
The summer Olympics kindles an unpleasant anniversary. I was in hospital recovering from a failed bronchopleural fistula surgery complicated by pulmonary embolism, further complicated by pneumonia, and then aspirational pneumonia. After surgical mayhem and ensuing coma, I settled into a nil per os or NPO recovery from a uncooperative epiglottis. July, August, and early September of 2004 were clearly the worst days of my life. The only joy was watching Katie Couric’s daytime TV Olympic broadca
“Terminal stage IV lung cancer patient miraculously cured by cannabis oil.” “Frankincense oil kills cancer cells while boosting immune system.” “The real reason pharma companies hate medical marijuana is because it works.” If you are a lung cancer survivor, you’ve read these pronouncements. Hopefully, you don’t believe them. The purveyors of miracle cures are so persuasive that some people avoid conventional treatment and rely instead on the unconventional.
I remember my frantic web search
I’m reading of a Yale University study that advocates we choose primary care physicians by testing their political views. It is political open season and medical reporters want to join in the feeding frenzy. The danger is some will believe a political test (views on motorcycle helmets, pot smoking and firearms to name a few) is necessary physician competency criteria, especially since the test is aimed at our closest and most important connection to the medical system—the general practitioner.
Baseball is a game that requires patient players and fans. Like lung cancer treatment, there is a lot of waiting for something to happen. Also like lung cancer, the game is unpredictable. A single pitch can change the outcome of a game like a single cell can change the outcome of treatment. And like lung cancer, baseball has many uncertainties and these are defined by odds. The best hitters succeed a little better than one in three times; the best teams winning about six in ten games. Baseball p
“Squamous cell cancer offers distinct therapeutic challenges by virtue of presentation in older patients, its physical location in the chest, pattern of metastasis and association with comorbidities that can compromise treatment delivery and exacerbate toxicity.” This quote is from the article Targeted Therapy for Advanced Squamous Cell Lung Cancer.
When diagnosed, almost 13 years ago, I didn’t realize lung cancer had types. Pathologists visually classify lung cancer cells seen under a micr
Hi all, I hope this is not stupid. I'm going to see a pulmonary doctor Saturday and I'm scared to hear the news. I'm almost positive I have lung cancer. Can someone tell what the first consultation will be like? thank you!
Early on, we learn Algebraic equations with only one solution. Then we encounter equations with two solutions -- Quadratic Equations. Consider: x2 + 3x – 4 = 0. This has two solutions: x = -4 or x = 1. Both are correct; one is negative and one is positive. Algebra students get very comfortable with solutions having a positive and negative outcome -- lung cancer survivors are less comfortable!
The positive outcome for lung cancer is extended life. But like quadratic equations, there can be
Red, in white shirt and loose thin-black tie and sweating in Maine’s summer heat, is leaning on a rock-wall fence. He’s just opened Andy’s letter found under the black obsidian rock. In the background we hear Andy reading his evocative description of hope: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.” The movie Shawshank Redemption is a powerful story about hope and life with a message that should resonate with every lung cancer survivor.
It’s normal for someone diagnosed with cancer to experience feelings of sadness, fear, anger and grief. It’s when those feelings prevent you from functioning in your everyday life and you feel emotionally paralyzed in your situation for an extended period of time that you need to seek help.
Cancer patients experience depression two times more than the general population and studies have shown that mental health and social well-being can affect the success of treatment. Those diagnosed wit
10 years ago I was diagnosed with NSCLC and was told that with an operation and treatment, I had 3-5 years to live .
After an upper left lobe resection followed by systemic chemo I went into remission and enjoyed 2 1/2 years of precious time. Then, a checkup revealed that I had 17 mets to my liver and a couple of “hot spots” in my lungs. At that time I joined the already very full ranks of stage 4 NSCLC patients. The day I was to begin another course of chemo, my oncologist recommended
Last year, after seventeen months on Tarceva, I got the news. My lung cancer was off it's diet and was starting to get fat again. It was time to try a different treatment. But what was left? Seeing my doctor's scrunched-up face while he stared at the floor said it all: He had run out of hope that anything would work.
Chemo and Avastin had kept my cancer at bay before Tarceva, and together these three drugs had given me three extra years of life. But they had all eventually run their course.
My cousin Kathi, who was more like a sister to me, died of lung cancer in December 2003. She was 46 years old. At the time, I didn’t know the first thing about lung cancer. Since Kathi smoked for years, I thought that’s why she got lung cancer. I didn’t think too much more about lung cancer for the next year, although I thought about Kathi every day.
Then, about a year later, I had a sharp pain in the right side of my chest, like a knife stabbing through my chest and back. I thought
When my Stage IV lung cancer was discovered in October 2012, I was, as far as I knew, as healthy as I have ever been in my life. I was playing agility with my two dogs three or four nights a week and every weekend. For those who do not know, agility takes a lot of stamina and energy! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCFrUCu6F_g)
I went to the doctor because I kept gaining weight. No matter what I did, I couldn't lose it. Since I had always been tall and thin, the extra weight was disturbi