Journey With Cancer

Contributions from

These are the experiences, ideas and views of each individual person featured here. Your own situation may be different and these ideas may not work for you.

Emily
NED (No evidence of disease) for two years

Emily's Journey With Cancer

  • Diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma in 2012
  • Chemo, extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) surgery in February 2013, and post-operative radiation
  • Now, two years NED (no evidence of disease)

We had a little time to process things after my diagnosis. I had two biopsies in the beginning, so that we would have enough tissue samples to send out for genetic testing.

So in the meantime we were able to come to terms with everything. By the time it was time to start chemo I was ready. I wanted the chemotherapy inside of me, I wanted to kill the cancer and attack it, and I felt mentally ready.

Fertility

In the time between diagnosis and starting treatment, we were able to do fertility treatment. I feel it's a very important thing that not a lot of women are told, especially with lung cancer, because the statistics are so low for survival.

But I think with the rise in young lung cancer patients, that's going to be changing and we need to be giving these women advice on preserving any fertility that they might have left. I was fortunate enough to have several people tell me I need to look into this, and I'm thankful we had the time to do it.

Meditation

From the beginning we started with a hypnotist which sounds really kooky. But I adapted that into something that works for me.

Now, every morning after I wake up I do a five-minute meditation, trying to tell my body to do what I want it to do. To kill the cancer cells, to identify them, to never let anything grow. I also spend a few minutes meditating on the family that I want to have and imagining our future children. To me that feels like I am doing something. I still think the mental aspect of that daily meditation, of believing that you can almost effect change in some way, is something that really helped me not only mentally, but physically as well.

Always make sure that you're getting enough information so you feel comfortable. Even if three doctors are telling you something different, at least you know that different options are available, and you can move forward with whatever option feels best to you. I think second and third and sixth opinions are incredibly important, and something that every patient should get.

Richard
Diagnosed in 2004

Richard's Journey With Cancer

  • Diagnosed with Stage I non-small cell lung cancer in 2004
  • Pneumonectomy in 2004
  • Multiple surgeries and radiation for tumors on brain and lung 2006 – 2014
  • Multiple targeted therapies 2007 - 2014

When I was diagnosed

I didn't know what to make of it. I wasn't angry, I wasn't scared.

It's really important for someone to have an advocate when they go through these situations because mentally I couldn't really do anything. It went in one ear, out the other. It came out of the blue.

If I was giving advice I'd say get on the phone, go online and check out Lung Cancer Alliance, check out United Against Lung Cancer - they're a great source for you.

I am now a Lung Cancer Alliance board member. I never imagined myself being an advocate for lung cancer. But I really do feel I need to be a voice. There need to be people who can speak out for lung cancer and give other people hope.

Most people think of lung cancer as a death sentence, so to hear someone saying they've survived eleven years, it makes them feel really good.

My recommendation

Be hopeful, take every day at a time. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Find the doctors and hospitals you trust. Get educated about it to give yourself the best chance.

I see my life as a combination of biology, chemistry, timing and good luck!

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