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#WeekendWisdom: Coming to terms


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How did I come to terms with my lung cancer diagnosis? I didn't!  My diagnosis was in 2003 and in that time, any form or type of lung cancer resolved only to two outcomes: surgery and a chance for life or death. Thankfully, research introducing targeted therapy, immunotherapy and advances in precision radiation have changed that reality. There is also more vetted information available to the newly diagnosed (the LUNGevity site for example) than existed on the Internet early in the decade. I can recall lung cancer internet search returns advertising "magnetic therapy", mega-dose vitamin C, and numerous diet-based "therapies" as "sure cures". Thankfully, these have somewhat fallen out of favor but folks still get hooked by the lure of the "sure cure".  

Today, practitioners are attuned to depression in lung cancer patients. Looking back, I now realize I was severely depressed for a long number of years and I finally got around to admitting it to my GP who immediately initiated treatment. My most recent consultation with my oncologist reveals how far the cancer community has come in recognizing and treating depression. I was screened for signs of depression prior to the oncology consultation and my oncologist further probed for depression symptoms during the consultation. 

I don't think I'll ever comes to terms with my lung cancer diagnosis. Why? I still get screened twice-a-year and these necessary medical checks yank me back into Scanziety mode.  The memories of treatment and uncertainty flood into my mind.  My diagnosis forever unsettled me, and treatment while extending my life introduced side-effects that make day-to-day life activities harder and more complicated. While I've been blessed with long survivor tenure, my life before diagnosis is substantially different than after. Offsetting that difference, however, is the big dog in the room: I am alive!

Stay the course.


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I agree with so much that you said Tom. I’m thankful for the advances. I am hopeful for years more of life being in a clinical trial. This journey is still new to me — diagnosed in May of this year. After many months of uncertainty finally a diagnosis and plan

Now many annoying side effects which have definitely made my life smaller and less active. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that I will never be what I was! I was a fitness instructor and now just a 30 minute workout wipes me out

Of course I have to accept it—. the alternative is death!

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I was relieved to have "only lung cancer", probably one of the few people who ever reacted that way.. I had two previous unrelated cancers, one of which was stage 3 and very aggressive, but rare, so there were no studies of treatments for it. I had aggressive treatment: a really big surgery, concurrent chemo and radiation and additional chemo-- in other words, throw everything at it. I was having regular CT scans to watch for possible metastases, when a  nodule turned up in my right lung.  It was a relief to know that it was a Stage 1a lung cancer, rather than a metastasis from my prior cancer, which would have had a worse prognosis and probably much more onerous treatment. Not that lung cancer wasn't bad enough, but is was less bad than the alternative, After a lobectomy, I'm NED on all three  cancers.  

Coming to terms with my stage 3 cancer was a whole other story......

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