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Two Time LC Survivor


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Being new to this site, I think I originally posted My Story at another location...so here it is again. In Dec. 1998, I was diagnosed with lung cancer in my left lung. Treatment was chemo (Taxol and Carboplatin) a treatment every 3 weeks for 3 treatments and 6 weeks of radiation. Treatment was based on possiblity of cancer in the plueral wall as well as left lung and they wanted to reduce the size if that was the case. I finished the treatments in January, 1999 and was scheduled for surgery but had to wait because of low white cell count. Had surgery March 3, 1999 and had 1/5th to 1/4 th of my left lung removed. Surgeon said he got it all and stated that my chance of getting cancer again was no more than anyone else.

In October 2001, my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer and told that it had progressed so much that surgery was not an option. He was told that he could live for approximately a year, but he got pneumonia and died 6 weeks later.

The first of April 2004, I had severe stomach pains and my doctor decided to do a ctscan of my abdomen. I suggested that we might as well do one of my chest at the same time since I had not had one done on my chest for a couple of years. I still do not know why I had the stomach pains, but know that God works in mysterious ways. The ctscan of my chest showed a small mass on my right lung. A needle biopsy was done and was inconclusive. I had to wait a month for a petscan which showed "activity" in the upper lobe of the right lung and in the hylar node. At the end of May 2004, I had surgery to remove the upper lobe of my right lung. My doctor told me that this was a completely new cancer not related to the previous one at all but a new primary. I contracted double pneumonia while still in the hospital and ended up on a ventilator for 5 days, but recovered and after 24 days in the hospital was released. I stayed with my sister who cared for me and helped me to recuperate. In August 2004, I had another petscan as a follow up and it showed "activity" still in the hylar node. My oncologist said that this might be a result of the surgery (my surgeon had checked the hylar node when he removed the upper lobe), but that he didn't think we should take that chance. He suggested chemotherapy (gemcitabine and taxatere) which was administered 1 time per week for 3 weeks, then off a week, then another 3 weeks on, etc. for 6 months. I lost my hair again, but that is such a small thing in comparison to the larger picture that I was not affected by loss of hair. I bought a beautiful auburn wig (the color my hair had been when I was younger), which caused my sister to comment, "You look just like you did 20 years ago." I don't know what I would have done without her. She is a great sister.

As a result of the chemo, I ended up on oxygen 24 hours per day toward the end of the 6 months. I had pneumonia again after finishing chemo and then a month later I had pneumonia again. I decided that I would not be on oxygen 24 hourse per day for the rest of my life and worked to build my lungs back up so I could get off of it, which I did about 8 months later.

I have been cancer "free" now for over 4 years and remarried a year and a half ago to a wonderful man who lost his wife to lung cancer. We enjoy life together and make each day count. He was an avid golfer and at 70 years of age, I started learning to play golf. I enjoy playing and we play 3 or 4 times per week.

There is life after lung cancer, but you have to think positive, have faith that you will survive, and be determined to live a normal life and not dwell on the past.

If I give hope to even one person, I will be happy for hope is the first step to recovery.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi mwga (I probably got that wrong, sorry :)

I'm a newbie to this site, but really enjoyed reading your story and other posts. It gives me hope! You are a courageous woman, and an inspiration.

I had surgery, rll, and chemo last year, and have finally started exercising this week! I returned to work more or less full time on 12-1, and have been fairly active, clean house, etc., but nothing really aerobic. I'm happy to report I can spend about 25 minutes on my nordic trak and not be too short of breath. I'm so grateful, and out of shape!

It's funny, my breathing actually improved 3% after the lobectomy--it was 58% last October. I hope it will get even better. In the back of my mind, I'd like to have a little more reserve in case they ever need to take more out, ya know?

I believe the more grateful I am, the more I'll have to be grateful for. I pray to keep that attiude.


Trayce in Texas

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Hi Texasone,

Just a note to let you know that I read your comments about my story. You are a strong person and definitely have the right attitude to handle what we as cancer survivors go through. As you have found out, thinking positive and being grateful for what we have are so very important. Never giving up but continuing to try to improving your breathing capabilities helps as well. At the least, it gives you a feeling of being somewhat in control.

Keep up the good work, think positive, and keep all your sister and brother survivors in your prayers.


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