Jump to content

Born To Be Alive


Recommended Posts

Bev’s Story

as told by Kim.

On September 3, 2004, at the age of 48, Bev was diagnosed with SCLC. But her story actually begins years before. In her early 40’s, Bev began to experience various vague symptoms which, ultimately, turned out to be peri-menopausal, but got her into the doctor’s office often. They did a variety of tests, blood work, stress tests etc., but nothing came of it. They did caution her on the overall health of her lungs, as she had been a smoker since her teens. She eventually developed a case of pneumonia that required a brief hospital stay. A few years later, after a bout with walking pneumonia and more warnings on her lung health, she started to worry about the possibility of developing lung cancer. Every little ache and pain had her wondering.

Bev decided to research lung cancer at the local library. She found a book called "Lung Cancer- Myths, Facts, Choices- and Hope" by Dr. Claudia Henschke and Peggy McCarthy. One of the interesting ideas that Dr. Henschke was investigating was the use of CT scans as a screening tool for Lung Cancer. Armed with this information, Bev went to her PCP and requested that she get one. Her PCP agreed (Thank You, Dr. Keeler!) and she had it done. It showed nothing. A year later in 2003, she had a second CT scan. Nothing. In the Summer of 2004, when she told me it was time for her annual scan, I remember thinking to myself she’s fine, there’s nothing wrong but I wasn’t going to argue with her.

This time, they found something. A subsequent PET scan revealed what was probably a 1.5cm tumor in her upper right lobe. We had entered the nightmare.

The pulmonologist was bleak and referred us to a surgeon. He was the one who rallied our spirits into fighting this. There were some raised eyebrows when we told them how the scans came about. He said “You’ve really opened up a can of worms”, as the “tumor” was so small the only way to biopsy it would be to do a wedge resection. It could be cancer or it could be benign. He said we could wait 3 months and see if it had changed or do a resection. What did we want to do? We weren’t ready for that question. After a minute or so with our heads swimming, Bev said “Take it out.”

The wedge resection was done, biopsied as a carcinoid tumor and, importantly, a lobectomy was done. Two weeks later on our follow-up visit we were told that a further biopsy determined that it was Small Cell Lung Cancer with several lymph nodes positive. Final diagnosis- SCLC limited. We don’t have to explain to you our feelings at this point but eventually we were able to focus on the “good” points. Early detection, surgery, Bev’s strength and determination to use every weapon in the book and to fight it to the end. She did not want to leave her children.

Treatment consisted of Carboplatin, VP16, 35 rounds of radiation to her chest and finally PCI. I was in awe of her bravery and determination. The only bump in the road was an inept installation of a portacath which landed her in the hospital with a collapsed lung for 11 days, in a lot of pain and during Christmas, which she was worried at the time, might be her last. We brought everything but the tree up to her room on Christmas Day. The kids said it was the best Christmas they ever had.

By March of 2005, she had completed all treatment and the scans began. Yesterday we got the results of her latest PET scan, the same as every scan since she completed treatment: NED

To all of you in the battle- While Bev’s circumstances are unique, the treatments can work.

Keep The Faith!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.