Angie Brice Hessbruegge
It started with a cough that kept me up til dawn. Sure I was always exhausted, losing weight, and lacking in appetite but I attributed that to having a 3 and 5 year old, going to the gym and being too busy and stressed to sit down and eat. What finally gave me room for pause was when I started coughing up blood. I went to a specialist and he told me that I might have to cancel my family trips to Cuba and Costa Rica because I had to be admitted to the hospital ASAP due to ‘lots of white spots all over ’ my lungs.
For the next 3 months, I was hospitalized on and off with a shopping list of diagnoses ranging from tuberculosis to pulmonary sarcoidosis to lipoid pneumonia. On May 14, 2019, literally on my deathbed with a pleural effusion, the doctors finally solved the medical mystery: stage four metastatic lung cancer (progression in the vertebrae and brain).
Half a year later I’m learning to live with cancer and not die from it. I’m in a better place and ready to share my story, be an advocate and educate others(including that you can get lung cancer even if you don’t smoke and are under 40). Needless to say this hasn’t been easy on our family, starting with the fact that my daughter thought she ‘gave me the cancer’ because she had a cold and I caught it from her. I’m currently on a targeted therapy pill called Crizotinib and I like to tell my close friends that I’m living off of ‘pills, positive attitude and prayer’. If there is one thing that experiencing the worse case scenario is teaching me, it’s that we only have today and tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. Sure, medical statistics say I have a terminal condition but aren’t we all terminal? I still have to deal with everyday things moms with small kids, wives, expats, teachers, etc do. Speaking of which, check out my podcast called ‘mommy had a little cancer’ where me and my good friend who has breast cancer talk about living with cancer and raising kids: Mommy Had a Little Cancer
Born in Haiti and raised in New York, I have a BA from Tufts University and an MA from King’s College London. I currently live in Switzerland with my husband and 2 kids.
Click here to read all of Angie's articles on LungCancer.net.