I am a 10 year survivor of Stage IV lung cancer. Stunned was not even close to describing the day I was diagnosed. At the time, there was not much hope and not many treatments that worked for Stage IV. I knew nothing about the disease and it was not on anyone’s radar because I was a nonsmoker. It had spread throughout my bones from one small tumor in my lungs so I jumped into a chemotherapy regimen that might “buy me a little more time”, and here I am 10 years later.
I was lucky enough to discover that my specific cancer mutation, EGFR, responded to what was then considered cutting-edge chemotherapy. I have been through several different treatments, including a clinical trial, and now I take one pill a day for my latest cancer mutation, T790M. So far, it has been very successful for me. Cancer for anyone is a struggle. There have been major ups and downs, but I am surrounded by superb doctors, nurses, family and friends that keep lifting me up whenever I need it.
I try to spend a lot of my time advocating for awareness as there is such a huge lack of understanding. I have had the privilege and benefit of being part of the changing face of lung cancer. More and more treatments are finally coming to the front lines and there are numerous clinical trials and advances. I can not emphasize enough for all newly diagnosed patients to explore all the options. Lung Cancer seems to be the cancer that few people want to discuss or fund research towards, but it is the deadliest so more needs to be focused on that. I hope to live long enough to see that begin to change, and I hope I am part of the reason the change happens.