Advocate Spotlight: Christine
LungCancer.net shares the stories and experiences of people living with lung cancer. We are highlighting the story of our advocate Christine who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer after undergoing a CT scan for her brain. Since her diagnosis, she is dedicated to advocating for and supporting others.
This is Christine’s story...
My diagnosis following a CT brain scan
I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer five years ago.
I first went to the emergency room because I had a CT scan on my brain since I complained about my handwriting was getting smaller at the end of each sentence, and I couldn’t hold chopsticks. The doctors then found the brain tumor and, in the emergency room, I discovered that my lung was the primary cancer site.
I had to advocate for myself to receive biomarker testing
First, I went through chemotherapy. Meanwhile, I had biomarker testing. Five years ago, it was not popular to have biomarker testing in Canada, but because I’m a non-smoker, relatively young (49 years old), and an Asian lady. My oncologist sent the biopsy to Foundation One.
Four months later, I finished my chemotherapy, but it didn’t work at all. Luckily, it was found that my biomarker testing was ROS1+ lung cancer. I started Crizotinib, that’s it, the rest became history. I’m always grateful for the research and my oncologist.
For the first three years, I was battling with side effects and depression. In the beginning, my platinum was dangerously low, then there were blood clots in the lung. After three years, I became blind due to excessive steroid. With these side effects and the mental stress of cancer scare, I was in an awful place.
Dedicated to advoacay and supporting others
The first time I felt joyful was when I had my eyes cured. I could see it. When I became blind, I believed that I was at the bottom of the bottom. It was the first time I was telling myself that if I could, I would live meaningfully, even for a short time. I would say turning to blind was more
devastating to me, and it hit me how I was going to spend my left life.
After I regained my eyesight, I became a different person. I advocated for lung cancer awareness a lot -- reading and sharing information about current cancer research, becoming members of the research committee to review the research proposals, fundraising, encouraging fellow cancer patients, organizing conferences and Zoom meeting for lung cancer patients, attending different academic and advocacy conferences...I have endless energy.
Something about me...
I'm funny and love to make people laugh.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?