My name is Rhonda Richardson. I am 58 years old and live in Georgia. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with metastasis into liver in January 2019.
My cancer was discovered after I went to the Doctor with pain in my stomach area. I have GERD, so I just though my acid reflux was worse and wanted to see if I could change my medication in order to get rid of the pain. I was referred to a gastroenterologist, but since I had not had any blood work in over 2 years, they wanted to do bloodwork. My liver enzymes were off the chart, so they scheduled an ultrasound on my liver. After that test, they sent me immediately for a CT scan. I only had one tumor in my right lung but MULTIPLE tumors in my liver.
I began my treatment journey in February 2019. My first line of treatment was chemo (Carboplatin and Taxol) along with Keytruda. My chemo ended in June 2019 and I continued on Keytruda (still on it). My first PET scan after ending chemo was amazing! Complete response to treatment, no evidence of disease.
During my treatment, I found myself on the LungCancer.net Facebook site quite a bit and enjoyed interacting with others there. I liked being able to tell my story and bring hope. I have met so many wonderful people, many that I still maintain contact outside of the site.
When approached about being an advocate on the site, I was thrilled. I’m looking forward to starting a new journey...advocacy. I believe that I have been blessed, and it is my job to pay it forward. I hope that I am able to connect with people and let them know that there is hope and that treatment has come a very long way.
I am happily married to a wonderful man that has been my rock, support and caregiver. We all have to remember that a cancer diagnosis for us, is also a cancer diagnosis for our family. He was at every chemo treatment, brought me food since I was there ALL DAY! My family has been so supportive and my friends have helped more than they will ever know. The love and prayers that I received are priceless to me.
I work full time, at home for a full year now, as a corporate accountant. My employer and my work family have been wonderful. After my diagnosis, my employer got me set up with a home office (I have to use 2 monitors) so that I would be able to work from home the week of chemo. I had flexible hours, so on those nights that I was wide awake at 2am, I would work. Then when the fatigue hit me in the afternoon, I could nap.
Our home is run by a miniature Schnauzer named Axel, and his brother a cat named Spike. They keep us on our toes and keep us on schedule. They let us know when it’s time to get up, go to bed and eat hahahaha.
I am lucky to be within 4 hours of the Smoky Mountains (my happy place) and the gulf coast beach. I go to the mountains at least once a year and my niece lives in Panama City Beach so I try to get there as often as possible. I enjoy spending time by the pool, swimming and believe it or not, I like to cut grass. I won’t use the riding mower, I will only use the push mower. I knew I was getting better when I was able to cut our entire backyard without stopping or coughing! I also love college football (Roll Tide) and NASCAR. I hope to be able to attend a race this year, it’s been too long.
I hope this helps you to get to know me better, and I look forward to meeting all of you!
Click here to read all of Rhonda's articles on LungCancer.net.