Beyond My Control

Before my diagnosis, there was stuff way beyond my control. After my diagnosis, my life has changed.

My journey with lung cancer poses things that are out of my control. Indeed, they are overwhelming and disappointing with what my human mind can take.

Seeking support and challenging stigma

Most people outside my lung cancer circle assume I was a smoker or exposed to second-hand smoke. Little do they know there are other factors causing lung cancer.

They are not aware that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. For as long as I am breathing, I will use my small voice to reduce the associated stigma.

The reaction of people when you tell them you have lung cancer becomes less interested in your life. Sometimes, they take you out of their friendship circle. They think you are sick and that you cannot do everyday activities. It is so hard for them to understand you can still live a good life.

One of the things my lung cancer diagnosis taught me is to keep the people who treat me right. I must stick to the ones who show love and care in every season of my life.

Second opinions come into play when more information is necessary for confident decisions about cancer care. Living with lung cancer is not one size fits all. There are treatment options mostly based on tumor cell types.

At times of progression, a second opinion can find a different approach. In my case, I must follow the system in place in terms of testing and treatment options.

Fighting for clinical trials and reserach

Lung cancer is a deadly disease. Some patients live only for a fleeting time; others get years since diagnosis.

What happens around my lung cancer world in terms of survival is disappointing. There is a constant fight for research funding, treatment options, and early detection processes. My small voice is always ready to shout for more action.

The outcome of lung cancer clinical trials depends on patients' safety and effectiveness. They are beneficial regardless of the type or stage of cancer.

Unfortunately, there is a myth that clinical trials are the last resort for patients. But the fact of the matter is that they can improve cancer care for future patients.

The existing trials will help determine the approval of more treatment options. I hope that more patients will participate to have a higher success rate.

Targeted therapy for stage 4

My cancer care journey has followed a pathway. Having a stage 4 condition, surgery was not an option.

Having an ALK-positive mutation (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) opts me to have targeted therapy. My treatment has controlled the growth of my lung and brain tumors for almost four years now.

But my body faces side effects. I hope to have a long run with my treatment.

The increasing percentage of 5-year survival rate for non-small cell lung cancer gives me hope for the future. Part of my journey is also undergoing routine scans, drawing blood work, and other routine tests.

As long as they are surveillance for my survival, I must comply wholeheartedly.

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