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Jamie's story updated

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My story begins around September of 2004 at the age of 35. I was teaching middle school band in a Memphis City school. After leaving school, I would pick up my little boy (2 years old), go home, cook supper, clean house on occasion, give the little one a bath, spend time with my hubby (also a middle school band director)and get the baby to bed. Very similar to the lives of most working mothers. The only difference was that I was so exhausted in the afternoons, I could barely stand up. I had developed a terrible cough and had lost alot of weight. I went to my doc. and they gave me antibiotics for about 3 months- increasing the strength each visit. Unfortunately, none of the medicines worked and they finally did a chest ex-ray and there it was-----the mass. At first, I was told it was sarcoidosis or scar tissue and that lung cancer was at the bottom of the list. The pulmonologist scheduled a biopsy and lo and behold, he called me with the results. My life was turned upside down!!!!! After the initial shock wore off that I had NSCLC, I started preparing for the treatment that lay ahead. I ended up getting 2nd and 3rd opinions and another biopsy because of the stage (IIIB). I was inoperable. Another blow to the heart since I was told surgery was the only curative. I could not believe what was happening to me. I mean, 35 years old, I still felt like a little kid. During treatment, I met many wonderful cancer survivors and stopped feeling sorry for myself. I completed my treatment and had long decided that failure was not an option. The tumor had shrunk 75 to 90 percent and the nodes had shrunk at least 50 percent. I almost kissed the onc. What success!!!! Life had changed so much since diagnosis. I began to realize what was truly important in my life. I developed a very close relationship with GOD and felt so clean and worthy. It is a really hard feeling to describe but it's one you will never forget. I felt I was truly blessed to have had the opportunity to finally know HOW TO LIVE!!!! At this time, I am on Tarceva and am doing great. Stable scans each time I have gone to the clinic. The great news is that, I get to spend alot of quality timewith my little boy, I volunteer at my cancer clinic, I helped form a cancer support group, I teach insrumental private lessons to a number of middle school students that can't afford them and I host a Concert, Jazz, Solo and Ensemble competition for middle and high school band students with all of the proceeds going to a lung cancer foundation. I live to help others, to enjoy my family and I love my life. I am so very lucky to have had this opportunity. So, my story ends on a happy note. Live Your Life to the Fullest----You Only Get One Chance!!!! That's my motto and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks for listening!!! I am currently entering my 2nd year of survival and have had the glorious opportunity to meet many awesome people. I am but one in this lung cancer journey and I find my strength in the numbers. LCHELP.COM ROCKS!!!! This site has been my rock!!!! My personal website that contains details of my cancer journey and can be read at www.caringbridge.org/tn/jamie and you can also view the fundraiser at www.lungevity.org/playingforacure. I have various opportunities to speak on behalf of lung cancer awareness and my successful treatments and I jump at the opportunity.

Lung cancer does not discriminate!!!!

As stated by my oncologist at M.D.Anderson, my cancer is non smoking related even though I was a smoker!!!

Awareness, More Funding, Early Screening is the key and I will keep on fighting for our voice!!!!

Thanks so much for listening and for your time!!

God Bless You Friends!!!


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