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Light Bulb Moments and Paying it Forward


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Light Bulb Moments and Paying it Forward

May 29th, 2014 - by admin

“Cry when you need to, laugh at every opportunity and be ready to be stronger than you’ve ever imagined you could be.” Great advice for anyone newly diagnosed with lung cancer.

Jeff Ehlers had a lingering cough that just would not go away. At the urging of his wife he finally made it into his doctor who ordered a chest x-ray ‘just to be safe’. The doctor saw something suspicious on the x-ray and ordered a CT scan. The next day Jeff was told he had a mass in the upper right lobe of his lung. Soon after he had surgery to remove a tumor the size of a golf ball and was ordered to have 4 rounds of chemotherapy.

Jeff had no risk factors for lung cancer. To this day he isn’t sure how or why he got it.

“Early on in the process, I had many people ask me if I had ever smoked. I hadn’t and I really took that question in stride since I would have likely asked the same question of them had our roles been reversed. As I read more and more about lung cancer and realized that the stigma of it being a “smoker’s disease” was really hindering the research funding and awareness, I began to ask people “what difference does it make?” when they asked if I had ever smoked. Most of them, like me, had never considered any other cause for lung cancer and are really shocked when you share the statistics with them.”

Jeff believes in the importance of raising awareness and educating people about lung cancer and that anyone who breathes can get it.

“I want to get the word out about how lung cancer kills more people than the next four most deadly types of cancer combined. Once you see the light bulb come on in people’s minds the next question they ask is “Why isn’t more being done to stop it?” When that process begins, and lung cancer is seen as a threat to anyone with lungs – the outcry for more research grows and research leads to better treatments and even cures.”

Jeff feels lucky that his cancer was caught early. Most people with lung cancer are diagnosed in its latest stages when the disease has spread outside of the lungs to other organ sites, reducing the chances of survival. Because he feels like he’s been more fortunate than others, he gives back to help those who will be impacted by the disease.

Jeff recently became a LUNGevity LifeLine Support Partner and volunteers to mentor those who are newly diagnosed. He also is very busy with a new project at work. His company will be doing the glass and glazing on a brand-new $90 million CARTI cancer treatment facility in Little Rock, Arkansas. As project manager for this job, Jeff is having lots of conversations with people about this facility that he not only gets to help build, but will eventually be utilizing as a patient when it’s time for his regular scans. He has a lot of pride to be able to work on a project that will be used to serve so many other people in the future.

When asked what advice he would give to someone newly diagnosed;

“ When I was diagnosed, a friend of mine told me to, “Fight like a cornered badger!” I think that about sums it up.

At the time I was diagnosed, it would have been great to have had a survivor sit me down and tell me what to expect going forward. It’s a scary diagnosis and the statistics are overwhelming if you allow them to be your sole focus.

No one plans for a cancer diagnosis and it sweeps into your life like an invading army. Life, summed up, is a series of choices that we make during our time here. You have a choice on how you will respond to your cancer. If you roll over in self-pity, cancer wins. If you make up your mind that you are going to do everything possible to fight this battle and win, you’ve immediately got the upper hand. There are people around you ready to support you and help you through this, some of them you may not have met, but they are there. God loves you and He is in your corner – seek Him out. The statistics are real, but they don’t determine your outcome. Treatments vary and your situation may or may not be like mine, so don’t expect your script to play out like anyone else’s. Cry when you need to, laugh at every opportunity and be ready to be stronger than you’ve ever imagined you could be.”

http://blog.lungevity.org/2014/05/29/li ... t-forward/


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