Surviving It

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.

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11 thoughts on “Surviving It

  1. Well written, Denise and welcome to the world of cancer bloggers. My husband, Jim is a 13 year LC survivor–stage IIIB at dx in 2002 and Stage IV since 2007.

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  2. Learning to live is more of a challenge than we expect. Great first blog post, Denise. I’m adding you to my blog reader. And thanks so much for your kind comments about my interview with Kelli Joseph, it meant a lot to me.

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  3. It’s more of a challenge than one would expect to learn to live in the face of a diagnosis like ours. Great first blog post, Denise. I’m adding you to my blog reader. Thank you for your positive comment about my interview with Kelli Joseph, it meant a lot to me.

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    1. Anita, I don’t remember when I first became acquainted with you and your blog, but I was predisposed to liking you because I identify strongly with your nod to science fiction. Thank you for the welcome. And thank you for the interview with Kelli Joseph. You did a lovely job bringing her personality through your words.

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  4. Thank you for following my new blog. I am sending your blog to my spouse. As you read in my posts, she is still here 5 years after her initial diagnosis. She also writes blog posts from time to time. She has a couple of friends from her original lung cancer support group that are still here 17 and 20 years after diagnosis. She never listens to what others tell her. She finds her own way through all this. I am amazed by her tenacity on a daily basis. Nice to meet you.

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    1. It’s always a pleasure to connect with others in the community. I became aware of your blog through a response to a thread on Inspire where I post as Denzie.

      I look forward to following you as well. Caregivers are very special people.

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