George Jackson is a lifelong law enforcement officer. George, along with his wife of 20 years, has five children. In April 2014, he had developed a cough that aggravated an old pectoral injury. A scan revealed something on his lung and a follow-up appointment with a pulmonologist indicated that George had stage IV lung cancer. He rejected this diagnosis and began his journey in self-advocacy. Seeking out an expert at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, George discovered he was correct in rejecting the first diagnosis: his diagnosis was downgraded.
His initial reaction was anger, then denial. But as he accepted the fact that he did indeed have lung cancer, George began meeting with a team at Northwestern and put together a treatment plan that included chemo and surgery. At the one-year mark, he was told there was no evidence of cancer. Although George continues to struggle with low energy levels, he is very grateful for the news that he is cancer-free.
His team at Northwest inspired hope and trust as they worked to gain his confidence. George refers to his Northwest team as “outstanding and very supportive.” He is also a client of Sandra Manley-Eichler, an oncology social worker at Northwest. Sandra helped George and his wife navigate cancer care costs, including finding restaurants that cater to cancer patients. He never felt stranded, as Sandra also helped facilitate many resources and ongoing care. George credits Sandra for his ability to persevere through the difficulties of his diagnosis. When asked what his advice would be to other cancer patients, he replied, “Try to find the best cancer facility. Never accept one opinion; always seek a second opinion.”
George’s story above was taken from Patient Power, a partner in the Lung Cancer Awareness Month initiative. You can read more of George’s story, along with others affected by lung cancer, on the Patient Power website. The video below was also produced by Patient Power.