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My Crazy Life By Beth Smith


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My Crazy Life

By Beth Smith

As a 46-year-old with six children, my life is much the same as many others: Crazy! Two of my children are biological; two are stepchildren; and two are kinship foster children. Their ages range from 4 to 24.

My Mother

Lung cancer entered my crazy life in November 2005 with my mother. That day I was scheduled to host a holiday luncheon at my home for my mother and some of our friends. My mother called me early that morning to tell me she had thrown up blood and we should continue the party without her. That was not going to happen! My mother has always been my rock of Gibraltar. There was no way I was having a party while she was in the ER or Lord knows what.

I called an acquaintance of mine whose husband is a pulmonologist and he saw my mom that same day. Although the doctor could not yet confirm cancer, my mother knew by the look in his eyes.

My mother has an amazing way of being so in tune with her body.

My mother was diagnosed with Stage I lung cancer in her left upper lobe. I now know that—if lung cancer is the diagnoses—this is the stage you want. She underwent surgery on January 21, 2006 and has had no evidence of the disease since then!

My Other Mother

Three years later, Anna Hixon, my birth mother who gave me up for adoption at birth, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Cancer was also found in her lymph nodes and the area between her lungs, so her diagnosis was Stage III. Doctors aggressively treated her with chemotherapy. Initially, she responded well to the treatment. Then in 2012, following a seizure, tumors were found on her brain. Gamma knife treatment seemed to help. However, in 2013, more tumors were found on her brain. Anna lost her battle to lung cancer on June 23, 2013.

My Lifelong Friend

On May 28, 2013, just days before my birth mother passed away from lung cancer, my best friend of 44 years was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, which had metastasized to her bones. I told Susan we would fight it together. I told her she would have plenty of warriors in her corner. We talked about forming a Foundation in her name, doing walks, and many different things. Susan and I learned that—compared to breast cancer—there is very little funding or support for lung cancer.

But through LUNGevity, Susan and I both found help and hope. LUNGevity is about survivors, hope and networking. The people with this organization have changed my crazy life forever. I found a network of lung cancer survivors who have given me so much inspiration to get out and advocate for lung cancer. I have seen the impact lung cancer had on three very important people in my life. And it has given new purpose to my life, which is about to get even crazier.

I am informed. I am empowered. I am impassioned.

I am ready to fight this disease through advocating for more lung cancer research funding, compassion for patients and awareness that anyone can get lung cancer.

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