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My War on Lung Cancer

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My War on Lung Cancer

August 24th, 2012 - by admin

http://blog.lungevity.org/2012/08/24/my ... ng-cancer/

My name is “B”.

I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer during Thanksgiving in 2011.

It was shocking. My profile didn’t fit the stereotypical lung cancer patient. I’m a relatively young, non-smoking active individual with a healthy lifestyle and no family history of cancer. That may be why I was content with being (wrongly) diagnosed with allergies, then asthma for months, even though inhalers didn’t do anything to relieve my shortness of breath. It was hard to comprehend.

The goal of this blog is to raise awareness of lung cancer to help remove the stigma associated with lung cancer, encourage donations to lung cancer organizations, and help people detect lung cancer earlier. According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is the top killing cancer in the US.

When I received my diagnosis, I was so shocked, because as a relatively young healthy non-smoker with no family history of cancer, lung cancer was not on my radar.

However, breast cancer was in my radar, because there’s a good amount of marketing for their cause. I told “M”‘s mom that I hope to bring that same level of awareness to lung cancer when I get better. She said, why wait til you get better? Why not now? I thought about it for a while.

I don’t really know when/if I’ll be free of cancer, so why wait?

My friend, “L”, accelerated my involvement in battling lung cancer in the community. She found a not-for-profit organization, LUNGevity, dedicated to eradicating lung cancer and supporting those impacted by lung cancer. LUNGevity was more than willing to assist us in heightening awareness in the Asian community.

We joined LUNGevity’s committee and decided to bring the Asian community to Lungevity’s annual walk, Breathe Deep NYC on October 21, 2012.

( http://events.lungevity.org/site/TR/201 ... m_id=28860 )

Being a leader in two major Asian organizations, “L” would be able to reach out to Asians.

Being a patient at MSK, I offered to reach out to lung cancer patients. Last week I went in to MSK for my immunotherapy and to help market Breathe Deep. I grew antsy waiting for my treatment only to realize that I won’t get my treatment anymore. Unfortunately, the most recent CT scan showed disease progression. The trial drug had been tolerable, but the “good” days seem to have come to an end.

The doctor suggested that before we revert back to one of the harsher chemo treatments, I should try Tarceva daily for a month. The two main side effects are diarrhea and face rashes. I’m not sure which is worse - diarrhea or nausea. I guess we’ll see. I felt like I was losing this fight. All I could do was look at “M” and cry. I want to grow old with him, but now I’m not sure if that was possible.

My mind was swirling with mortality, until I remembered that I was suppose to talk to my nurse about marketing for Breathe Deep. I shook off the mortality thoughts momentarily and asked her if MSK would market this event. The nurse was familiar with Breathe Deep and offered to help.

I don’t know what my prognosis is, but I felt better knowing the war against lung cancer will be promising with wonderful, compassionate, and inspiring people around me.

To continue to follow “B’s” lung cancer story, visit her blog.


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