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Geri's tale

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My story begins in August 2000, we moved to Vermont for my husband's new job. After 8 months we moved into a wonderful new house and I set about getting my life in order. On Sept 1 2001 I stopped smoking after about 40 years and started a diet. I had been teaching a bone builder exercise program since moving and I had started walking for about an hour a day (no flat roads in this part of Vermont!) All in all I was fitter than I had been in a while, 20 lbs lighter and feeling great.

However.......November 11 2001 I felt that I may be getting the flu, those symptoms passed and on the 12th I had a pain in my side/back that got worse as the day wore on but as I had an appt for a physical the next morning I decided to wait. By the next morning I couldn't breathe and the pain was now unbearable. My husband had to drive me to the dr who xrayed and found pneumonia and also a mass - the dreaded mass.

Within an hour I was in a hospital bed being poked and prodded and readied for a CT scan. This was now Thursday, the results of the CT scan on Friday were not good and a biopsy was scheduled for Monday. By Wednesday I had the results - limited sclc, lower left lobe - and went home for Thanksgiving the next day.

I imediately got a second opinion from Dartmouth Hitchcock in NH and started chemo straight away. Radiation followed in January. All my xrays and scans since then have shown first improvement and then no cancer.

Today (at this time of the day I guess that's really yesterday) I had my 6 month check up and my CT scan and MRI are clear. I have one more 6 month check and then I go for a year. Can't begin to tell you how wonderful and frightening that sounds. A whole year without seeing the oncologist seems rather daunting but then 6 months sounded a lot last December. If all is well next visit I am apparently past the deadline for a reoccurence, anything showing up after that will be classified a new cancer.

3 years of my life will have passed in a blink, although at the time of treatment everyday seemed like a lifetime of feeling awful. I lost my hair, and had a new best friend to hug in the bathroom for a while but I made it. Pain and nausea can be gotten and kept under control with right meds and I was lucky to have the insurance that paid for whatever I needed.

The downside was that I was living 2000 miles from my friends and there really was no help for either of us here. Our daughter came for the duration of my radiation and my sister came from England too, but mostly it was just downright lonely. Too bad I didn't have this group back then.

Thats my story, I hope it can inspire everyone to keep the faith. I made it, so can you

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