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Nancy O's Story

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My first concern that something was wrong was when I started coughing every time I lit a cigarette. At first I did'nt think too much about it and started smoking an even lighter tar and nicotine cigarette. After about a matter of time the cough became worse and more frequent and pain started in my back and would move to under the arm and chest area. I have had bouts of bronchitis over the years and I started to feel like that was the problem. I started taking over the counter cough medicine that did very little to help control the cough. After a couple weeks of fatigue, I finally decided to go to the doctor. My GP examined me and said my lungs and chest sounded pretty clear to him, but we should take a chest xray since I was a life long smoker. Just 51 years young at that time and only married a year to my hubby. The chest xray come back with a mass in my right upper lung. The follow-up was ct scan, bone and head scan, visit to a thorasic surgeon and stress test, blood test and decision to do surgery. I had the two upper lobes of the right lung removed and a bunch of lymph nodes, one of which was positive. No follow-up chemo or radiation. I now have chest xrays and blood work every six months when I see the Oncologist. My main problem was the pain medication after the surgery, it made me sick to my stomach and because of other issues the doctor was not inclined to offer me other pain medication. I am three years past the surgery and today is my 3 year anniversary of that tramatic, but life saving event. I still have pain under my right breast and in the rib area that is managable, but still uncomfortable. My Oncologist said that may be the norm for the rest of my days. Better than the alternative. I still have about the same diet, except that I try to eat more fruit and veggies. After a few false starts; I am finally smoke free also. I have gained about 10 pounds that I really needed anyway. I am very grateful for life today and try to savor every day. But life does go on with its trials and tribulations and joys also. I was staged nsclc llla by the pathologist. My first Oncologist disputed that finding initially, but after some debate finally agreed with the pathologist. I posted my story with the intention of giving others hope that this disease can be contolled for periods of time if not cured. My best to you all. Love Nancy O.

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