Who knew that you could live longer than a few months with lung cancer? I certainly didn’t. Both of my parents died of it within a few short months of diagnosis. My father at age 41 with mesothelioma, my mom at age 75 of adenocarcinoma. My adenocarcinoma diagnosis came in October of 2010, my prognosis was not great, with treatment I could expect to survive 10-15 months. Never in my wildest imagination did I think that could be wrong.
My priorities when first diagnosed were to:
1-Survive at least 6 mos.
2-Learn what I could to preserve quality of life.
3-Make arrangements for burial.
No one prepared me for the possibility that I might live.
In the process of achieving priority #2, I learned a great deal about survival rates, research, the stigma, my family, friends and myself.
What surprised me the most was that, despite the fact that more people died of lung cancer than the next three most common cancers combined, fewer funds were allotted for research.
With the time I believed I had left I made a conscious decision to help others deal with the shock of diagnosis and eradicate the stigma which I believed would lead to an increase in funding for research. In the process I joined a couple of online support groups. I learned how to vet the information I was getting from each and discovered a few patient centered websites that I came to trust.
Through them I made personal contact with a number of survivors, caregivers, caretakers, activists, bloggers and an array of wonderful, amazing people. (One man in particular who had survived stage 4 lung cancer for 13 years and is still going strong at 17 years.) I found something that I never expected. I found hope.
To achieve my stated end, I actively promoted the blogs and activities of lung cancer survivors who never smoked. Eventually I came to understand that in doing so I was perpetuating the stigma. I choose to begin blogging to give hope to patients like me.
Welcome to my blog.
Welcome to hope.