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Acme Elixir - The Miracle Cure

Remember the western movie scene — the debonair dressed pitchman rides into a small frontier town in a wagon whose canvas sides are emblazoned with Dr. Arturo Pedic’s Acme Elixir.  He sets up a stage, draws a crowd, and delivers the pitch. Yessireeebob! My specially formulated Acme Elixir is a sure-fired medicament for any illness. One bottle of this miracle wonder is guaranteed to cure any malady.  It is an antidote for ablepsy, ague, apoplexy, barrel fever, biliousness, dropsy, camp fever

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Comprehending the PET

Almost every lung cancer survivor has a positron emission tomography (PET) scan these days. Now, a PET is often given with a computerized axial tomography (CT) scan.  The diagnostician is a radiologist; a discipline that does not write in lingua franca. What do the report words mean? Here is a summary of my August PET-CT to interpret radiology speak. INDICATION: (Why am I getting this scan) “The patient…with non-small cell lung cancer of the right main bronchus diagnosed in 2003 status post

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

The Long Road Ahead: Garth Atchley (Part 2 of 2)

Facing a lung cancer diagnosis changes a person’s perspective about what matters in life and what doesn’t. Being diagnosed with cancer makes you put absolutely everything else to the side, or totally out of mind.  You have the chance to let back in only the things that really matter back into your conscious mind. If you can do that, and spend more time focusing on things that really matter in the present moment, you will have completely changed and improved your mind and your life. I still get c

LaurenH

LaurenH

A Life Well Lived

A lady with lung cancer passed early this morning. I knew her well. She survived two surgeries claiming a lung, radiation, and many many infusions of chemotherapy. Indeed, her disease was being treated like diabetes or heart disease — a chronic but controlled condition. Lung cancer did not claim her and death is not a celebratory event, but living a full and meaningful life despite lung cancer is indeed praiseworthy. In characterizing the lady’s life, full and meaningful are an enormous und

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

First Steps: Garth Atchley (Part 1 of 2)

I learned about my lung cancer in a roundabout way in the summer of 2017. I started having headaches and experiencing vertigo. I also noticed some slurred speech and trouble with fine motor skills like writing. I went to a series of doctors to try to determine the cause, including my PCP, an ophthalmologist, a massage therapist, and an ENT. Eventually, a neurologist ordered an MRI. I went in for the MRI and afterward the radiologist wanted to see me to “look at something.” From then on, it was l

LaurenH

LaurenH

Don Fredal

I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in September 2014. Like many people, my diagnosis came as a huge surprise to me and my family. A friend told us about the Breathe Deep Kansas City Walk that was happening in our area. We called our team The Village People because we like to say, “It takes a village” to fight this thing. The Breathe Deep walks provide an opportunity to raise awareness and money in your own community. It’s very powerful. I attended my first National HOPE Summit in Was

LaurenH

LaurenH

Another recurrence, another call to Mom and Dad

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  cancer can be as hard, if not harder, on the loved ones than the patients.  Our family is very close  - I don't have any siblings and my husband and I don't have children.  Our family unit is small.  After 2.5 years, my husband and I have a process.  He goes with me to all of my scan result appointments.  As soon as Super Doc gives us the results, Neal steps out and texts or calls my parents with the updates.  I always want to be with them if we have t

Susan Cornett

Susan Cornett

My Thoracic Surgeon Comes to Dinner

I've survived a lot of medical treatment. The most sophisticated and creative was while in the care of an extraordinarily gifted, courageous and talented surgeon. We invited him and his wife to dinner to renew our acquaintance and review the bidding.  The dinner was memorable. I could launch into the details of my 8 surgical procedures performed by this brilliant man but that story is told elsewhere. Of more interest to this community is what are the indicators of brilliance in a surgeon? 

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Free and Invaluable

Using the words free and invaluable to characterize lung cancer medical care is a hard sell. I’ve seen so many scams promising this, that, and the other thing that deliver nothing more than a money pit.  So I was indeed skeptical when Dr. David S. Schrump introduced his National Cancer Institute Intramural cancer treatment program, at our April 2018 LUNGevity Summit, with the words “no cost to patients, including travel and lodging.” Why didn’t I know about this resource?  I’ve encountered

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

The Cadence of Scan Days

"Count-off...One, Two...Count-off...Three, Four...Bring it on down now...One, Two, Three, Four, One-Two...Three-Four!"  My life is filled with counting.  As a young soldier on the march, we counted cadence to stay in step.  The rhythm of the cadence was an elixir to the mile-upon-mile-upon-mile of forced march in full combat load.  They always scheduled the forced march on the hottest day, or the wettest day, or the coldest day of the year.  One memorable march was the day after a hurricane

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

There are days....

Most days, the cancer is buried somewhere in my thoughts, my work, my hobbies - not at the surface.  But there are days when it hits me right between the eyes.  Cancer.  How the hell did I get here? Is this really my life?   Wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

Susan Cornett

Susan Cornett

Caregiving 101...so to speak!

"Hindsight is 20/20!" "You know, in retrospect..." "Looking back now, I'd..." "If I had it all to do over again..." "If I had known then what I know now..."   Chances are, if you're a caregiver, you're guilty of saying at least one of these catchphrases at least a little bit often. I know I am. A LOT a bit often! Why is that? Why is it that we never feel prepared to be a caregiver, and always feel like a little of our well-earned wisdom would have bee

DanielleP

DanielleP

Ashley Rickles

“I’m sorry, sweetheart these are tumors in your lungs and a form of lung cancer”. These were the words spoken to a vibrant, healthy 36-year-old female on October 19, 2017, by the thoracic surgeon. I knew that things were probably not good when he came in and asked if I was alone. Unfortunately, I was alone. Looking back, that day seems like a blur. I remember the ladies at the checkout desk asking how I was doing as they ask so many patients all day long. It’s mere customer service, right?

LaurenH

LaurenH

Hope? Sure, let's talk about hope! Hope is...well, what is it, exactly?

Sometimes, HOPE is a kitten. Okay, okay, sure, I know, that sounds a little weird. And a little bit like a desperate attempt to pass a poetry exam. Let me explain… Hope is strong and confident. Hope can be fickle. Hope can be hard to corral, name, and predict. Hope can be ephemeral, and hope is also everlasting. Hope can be full of contradictions. Hope can take many forms, directions, shapes, and sizes. You’ve heard the expression “herding cats?” Hope is one th

DanielleP

DanielleP

Random thoughts

I'm in the middle of my quarterly scan appointments.  While I was waiting for my blood draw yesterday, I noticed a couple that was apparently new to the oncology clinic.  The wife is the patient and, when she was called into the lab, her husband got up to walk with her and she told him she was fine, just going for a blood draw.  I looked at his face and saw fear and I just wanted to give him a hug.  This is the part I hate the most - when we look into our loved ones' eyes and see their fear.  I

Susan Cornett

Susan Cornett

Amy Richard's Story

For the past 11 years, I’ve helped treat lung cancer patients as an RN in a cardiothoracic practice. Then last October, I developed a bad cough that lasted over a month. It was cold season, and my co-workers and I thought it might be pneumonia or even bronchitis. No one suspected it could be lung cancer, since I’m a nonsmoker and haven’t been exposed to common risk factors like asbestos, radon, or pollution. I had a chest ray taken, which showed fluid around my right lung. The tests of the

LaurenH

LaurenH

And Major Means What?

“Drug-related deaths have grown to be a major US public health problem over the last two decades.  Between 2006 and 2015 there were more than 515,000 deaths from drug overdoses.…” This from a March 26 article in Science Magazine. The death rate averages 5,722 per year over the cited period.  Further, “the drug epidemic is a pressing concern among policymakers.” This concern translates to a $865 million research budget for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This budget funds $151,117 per indiv

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

Carole Baker's Story

My lung cancer diagnosis came as quite a shock to my family, my doctors, and me as I’ve always maintained a healthy lifestyle. I exercised regularly, ate healthily, never smoked, and enjoyed a variety of outdoor sports and other activities with my husband and our three children. I worked as a learning specialist for children ages K-8 and loved my job. Everyone I was close to commented that I was “the healthiest person they know.” But in March 2011, after worsening back pain, I visited my ph

LaurenH

LaurenH

Bill & Heather’s Story (Part 2)

Becoming Empowered Advocates My wife, Heather, told me about LUNGevity National HOPE Summit and that she wanted to attend. She received a Travel Grant from LUNGevity and I decided to join her at the conference. It is one of the best things we ever did. The wealth of information about lung cancer available through LUNGevity is not comparable to anything I could find in Canada or through any Canadian organizations. LUNGevity is so caring, thoughtful, and cutting edge. Heather and I atten

LaurenH

LaurenH

Bill & Heather's Story (Part 1)

My wife, Heather’s lung cancer was discovered by accident. She was having an abdominal CT scan when the doctor noticed a small shadow on her lower right lobe. She subsequently had a chest CT scan. The Thoracic surgeon felt it was pneumonia scar but it was too small for a needle biopsy so he ordered a PET scan. We went for the PET scan and the radiologist who did the scan also read it and told her immediately that she did not have cancer. (It was not until a couple of years later that I actu

LaurenH

LaurenH

Cancerversary

Today, I happily paint two of my toes red, to celebrate two years of being a survivor.  Some days I ask myself it has really only been 2 years because it feels like I got the diagnosis so long ago.  Lots of scans and needles and chemo and radiation and....I'm still here!   I woke up this morning, very cheerful, almost like I was celebrating a birthday.  I realize that EVERY SINGLE DAY is a gift, whether we have lung cancer or not, but that cancer seems to make each day that much more import

Susan Cornett

Susan Cornett

Jordan Meyerson

I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer on September 19, 2016. The doctor told us that it was inoperable and radiation was not an option. It felt as though I’d been punched in the stomach. I immediately began thinking of my children and my wife, Lisa, and that my time here on Earth was very limited. I had no words that day, only utter despair. As the initial shock wore off, and the option of getting selected for a trial medication was offered, I realized that I may have a chance at fighti

LaurenH

LaurenH

My Friend Randy

It was mid-morning on a beautiful February Sunday in Texas when my phone rang.  Randy’s name flashed on my phone screen and on realizing who it was, my mind raced to recall the last time we spoke. Pam his wife greeted me, a mild surprise. Randy and I grew up in the same Pennsylvanian township and attended high school together.  Our lives parted with college and after an Army career took me everywhere but home. Randy settled in our hometown.  We had many things in common including surviving

Tom Galli

Tom Galli

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