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SCLC Community Spotlight: Deborah

Deborah Bunton shares her story about life with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and how since her diagnosis she's been searching for others who share her diagnosis. After learning about her lung cancer, Deborah is thankful for her doctors and friends who have supported her every step of the way.

Searching for others with SCLC

I am 66 years old yesterday. I am a retired RN and worked in surgery for 43 years. I live in Amarillo Texas. I have relatives here but live alone.

I was looking through Facebook when I ran across LungCancer.net. I enjoy reading everyone's comments but have been keeping my eye out for anyone who was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I actually got my first glimpse of hope from a few comments by others with the same diagnosis.

The day I learned about my lung cancer

I became very very short of breath with a lot of wheezing, but otherwise, I felt fine. My primary care doctor kept checking other things. I was late by a few months for my low dose CT scan. I finally made it to a pulmonologist and got a scan.

That's when I learned I had advanced stage SCLC. I also had an old hernia mesh that was abscessed so I had to spend surgical and recovery time before I could treat my lung cancer.

I was diagnosed in early July 2019. I started chemo and radiation on September 10th. I kept busy after my diagnosis by focusing on my treatments and getting to know God better. I'm a little scared but I know whatever happens is God's will.

Not knowing the next step is taxing

The unknown is the hardest part of life with lung cancer. Not knowing the next step. As long as I was spending time at the cancer center and felt like my team was right there with me, it helped.

I was told by my oncologist on February 6th, 2020 that I am in complete remission! How awesome, but I miss my care team and the security I felt from them. The current health crisis is making that hard too. I also chose to have prophylactic brain radiation in February. I still don't have hair on my head. My next scan is scheduled for May 6th and those are always hard.

Finding the right support along the way

I just love my cancer doctors. They are so wonderful and encouraging and SMART!! I don't like to spend a lot of time online. I do find that it helps most of the time when I'm looking for information but sometimes it can make things worse. My anxiety comes and goes.

I have a counselor who was provided to me and it helps to talk to her. I also rely on prayer and sometimes take anti-anxiety medication if it gets too bad. In general, I'm doing very well most of the time.

Think positive and look out for yourself

My advice to others living with lung cancer would be to have a routine and meditate. Find someone you can talk to. Take good care of yourself and practice good self-care.

And to those living with SCLC -- think positive. I have heard of many others who are living longer because of the new treatment combinations that are available. We don't have to see SCLC as a death sentence any longer. You can live and enjoy life with lung cancer by relying on the support that's available to you.

If you are living with small cell lung cancer and would like to share your story like Deborah, you can by going to LungCancer.net's share your story submission page. Tell us your diagnosis story, treatment experiences, and what advice you would give to others facing SCLC.

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