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survived, looking to thrive


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Good Morning. I am a 48-year old survivor of Stage IIB non-small cell lung cancer. I was asymptomatic up through diagnosis and surgery. Thankfully my dog (may she rest in peace) had required walking daily, and I'd moved to where hiking was completely accessible and was 'training' to take my self camping for a week in the wilderness. One of my jobs requires I carry a back pack, so I was really getting in shape. Eveything happened quickly. One morning I was awakened by severe pain in my left chest. Typical of most people, who feel healthy otherwise and engage in good diets and exercise, and, no insurance, I delayed going anywhere/calling anyone for, oh, about 6 hours. Finally I had my housemate (at the time) take me to the emergency room. They diagnosed pleurisy. As luck would have it, I was friends with the daughter of the sole pulmonologist in town, who saw me a week later (I still had pain), and he also diagnosed pneumonia. Still, asymptomatic, and walking/hiking no matter what.

(I think this belongs in the my story section...). Anyway, a few scans and a bronchoscopy later-those are horrible if you're under 70 years of age- they sent me to the surgeon who confirmed the diagnosis, a 4cm+ tumor in my left lung, the whole thing would have to come out. That was in April. Treatment was this summer, with four rounds of chemoptherapy. Lastly, the oncologist wanted to put me on Tarceva, which we tried, but I lost my voice, and haven't regained it, even though I've been off it for 5 days now. My voice started going funny the evening of the first dose of Tarceva. The skin rash came on a few days later, but is now finally abating, since I've stopped. All this by way of introduction! My world, as most of you have probably experinced already, is completely upside down. My support network has been incedible, far surpassing any tiny hopes I had of knitting together a few people I knew in a town I'd only lived in for a year and a half. Friends and family came from all over the country, too, during the treatment/surgery phases. And my boyfriend has been my rock. Now I'm in the next stage, figuring out how to thrive after surviving, and I'm finding my monkey-mind gets in the way, and depression casts it's shadow, even though I'm on antidepressants. Good thing, too, as I've just lost my job, and will be applying for unemployment benefits in the next week. I'm here to find out how others have discovered the motivation to thrive. The treatment was curative, the first of three scans this year was clear, and I expect to live a good long life. Plenty to be grateful for.


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Welcome to our site. You will find a great deal of support and encouragement here, and many people who have been exactly where you are now. You were lucky to be able to have surgery. Although I don't believe you mentioned just how long ago you had the surgery, it does take awhile for things to get back to a "new normal". I had my entire lung removed, and by the end of the first year was doing amazingly well with just one lung. It did take most of a year however. Our bodies are really amazing things.

When I was first diagnosed, a woman had written a post about her husband that made a big impact on me. He had been diagnosed with later stage disease, treated, and was doing fairly well - but was so afraid of the cancer recurring that he spent the next 8 years worrying constantly and not enjoying his life at all. I thought what a waste!

While it does take some time to mentally go from thinking of ourselves as totally healthy to being a LC survivor, eventually it does get easier to remember that we need to enjoy life as it comes. It sounds to me like you have a great support system and a good attitude.

I wish you the best. Please come here often and let us know how you are doing.


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Welcome to the forum and congratulations on what looks like a great, long-term survivorship.

You don't say when you were diagnosed or operated on, so we can only speculate from other facts how long you've had the credentials to join this supportive club.

I don't have practical advise for you to keep a positive outlook, other than to treat each day as an extraordinary gift. And keep giving back to others.

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Hi, Pam, welcome to the group. As you've probably heard too many times already, you're "lucky" to have had symptoms which led to a diagnosis before you had reached an advanced, incurable stage. We'll look for an all-clear on every one of your future scans!

Everybody deals with cancer in a different way. Many see it as a "wake up call" and find that, in spite of some physical limitations that were not there before, their lives become richer and more meaningful because of the experience. That said, we all agree that cancer sucks!! Aloha,


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Hello Pam, welcome. I was first diagnosed because I went to the Dr. with pain. Click below and read my story.

Sounds like wonderful news-----clear scans.

Keep us posted.

Donna G

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HI Pam,

Welcome to our home here. I understand completely where you are coming from. While getting lung cancer was the worst thing that ever happened to me, at the same time, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I would not be living the live I am living unless I had this disease. Because of it, I decided to live spending my time trying to make a difference, rather than just living each day for my own selfish reasons.

It was after cancer, and surgery and chemo that I realized how very precious this life is, and each day I begin with a prayer of thanks for being given another precious day, and ask God to help me spend it wisely, kindly, and graciously.

It took a while for me to find my "new normal" and with that came some depression that after going through the surgery and chemo, my normal was not my "old normal". But I figured it out quickly, because I didn't want to waste one more day looking backwards when there is so much to look forward to.

You sound like you have a fantastic set of support people, and a great attitude. You will be living life to fullest, I have no doubt.

Glad you found us. Write when you feel the need, and we'll be here for you, I promise.

Judy in MI

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