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Living with Lung Cancer


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Living with Lung Cancer

Sherry Guarneri suffered a multitude of physical effects from her lung cancer treatments including hoarseness in her voice from the chemo, losing her balance, losing her hair, migraines, nausea, dizziness, suffering from anticipatory sickness, losing thirty lbs., thrush and the list goes on and on of the things that she lost; except for her sense of humor and her love for her family.

Sherry was diagnosed with stage IV Adenocarcinoma with metastasis to the brain, on February 9, 2013. She was an Emergency Room Technician at a local hospital and had hurt her back helping a patient. The pain in her cervical bones would not subside and finally an emergency room doctor encouraged her to have an MRI.

She was stunned by the diagnosis. Sherry was under forty-five with a 1 and a half year old and two older children and was thought to be in great health. How could this happen? She learned that lung cancer can happen to anyone with lungs, whether or not they had a smoking history.

She remembers feeling ashamed at first after her diagnosis. At first she cried, then she got angry at the prognosis she was given. Eventually, she became empowered.

“I wished there were people like me I could talk to. There wasn’t anyone like me; I was in great health; I was young. The Sociologist said the only support group was for breast cancer, which was clearly ‘a different cancer than mine.’ But I could call someone. That wasn’t a help. I needed more – a book, perhaps. So, I wrote my own. For people like me, who were young, never thought this would happen. It changed the course of my life.”

She wants to encourage other survivors to become advocates to help raise awareness about this disease.

“Write a book about your experience (I had SHuzie published regarding my lung cancer experience for free on Amazon and a portion of Amazon Smiles will be targeted for LUNGevity); write an article for your local newspaper; run marathons; share information about lung cancer via Facebook or run a lung cancer support group.” Sherry is also trying to get legislation passed to approve lung cancer awareness license plates in her state.

When asked what advice she would give to someone newly diagnosed, Sherry says to be an empowered and educated patient. Ask questions about your treatments and your care. Confide in your doctors and nurses and have a loved one advocate on your behalf.

“I want people to know that having any kind of cancer is not an automatic death sentence. The best thing about this cancer is I get to take care of me for a change. I get to literally slow down and smell the roses. I could die tomorrow; but so could my neighbor or my husband. We should appreciate the moment. I am LIVING with lung cancer.”

Feeling supported is also very important in the lung cancer journey. Sherry didn’t find a support group in her local community but she did find a national lung cancer community this May at the LUNGevity HOPE Summit in Washington DC.

“When I left the 2014 LUNGevity HOPE Summit my thought process had changed. I was happier and I was mesmerized. I felt accepted. I felt loved. The HOPE Summit is a room of my people. They are my people. I have never felt so understood by patients and my husband never felt so understood by caretakers of the LUNGevity HOPE Summit.”

For more information about LUNGevity, please visit www.lungevity.org


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Sad circumstances, but it's not a sad story because of her response to the situation. Sherry is anything but sad, she's a fighter.

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