Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

When the Other Shoe Drops

Since diagnosis, I just underwent the longest amount of time without scans. We all sit and wait for the day the other shoe will drop, the cancer will return. Lung cancer is almost certainly guaranteed to take you with it. So, whether it’s 3 years or 18 years and beyond, it’s always in your head.

The day my cancer returned

A few Fridays ago, that shoe dropped for me after 6.5 years. It felt like being hurled back to the age of 33 when I was first diagnosed. Except for this time, my daughter is old enough to understand why I wouldn’t be coming home for a month.

I have been on Tarceva since January 2013. Each scan came back remarkably well until October 2013. My primary tumor had started progression. Since the progression came on within a year of my diagnosis, I wasn’t as upset. I accepted my ultimate demise. I knew what was coming and fully expected it.

Then there was hope. My oncologist decided to radiate the one tumor that started progression using SBRT (Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy). After radiation, I had quite the fight with the insurance company and eventually won. They didn’t believe the radiation was “medically necessary” since I was a stage 4 lung cancer patient.

What the scans revealed

So, I continued on this hope train until now. There was a new nodule discovered in my lymph node near my heart Friday. It is too close to the heart to be biopsied so we are waiting for the outcome of the blood test to see if another mutation has formed. If so, we will be looking at other options. If not, we will stick with Tarceva.

Either way, since this new spot is active cancer, it was determined I undergo 5 rounds of radiation to that area. I’ve learned with SBRT, you have to skip a day in between doses. So, that leaves me in Atlanta until mid-July. I’m exhausted and depressed so making the 5 hour drive home will not help the situation.

I know so many people have it worse than me so I feel really horrible even writing about this. I’ve to undergo all the same testing and everything I did when I was diagnosed. Unfortunately, we had to throw some radiation in the mix.

Accepting where I am

I had a bad feeling about these scans. Maybe it’s because two of my favorite girls who went before me kept showing up in my feed. I feel like God gives us signs to prepare, maybe this was his way of giving them.

I really miss my home already, with my animals, my bed, and most of all my daughter. It’s uncomfortable living out of a suitcase. But, for the time being, I don’t really have a choice.

I’ve gained a lot of wisdom and perspective in these past 6.5 years. There are some things I would do differently if I could, but it’s too late to turn back at the moment. I am forever grateful to all of these people dedicated to keeping me alive.

Onward I travel…

It just really sucks. You never want to see that mountain lion in your refrigerator again, but when you do, no amount of preparation could have you ready. I once read a quote from “Looking for Alaska” by Tom Green.  It read, “How will I ever get out of the labyrinth?” And, just as the heroine from the book said, “Straight and fast”. So, onward I go, but it will be straight and fast and I will never again tell myself that everything will be okay. Or that I won’t die young. Death is now staring me down and fighting back is the only way through.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • gramsie
    2 months ago

    You have every right to be upset! It truly does suck! However, You do give me hope so Thankyou. I’ve been on Tarceva 1year(June 1) and was stage 1 (prior to bone mets) for 16 mo before. People just don’t believe how hard this journey can be. Keep hearing how I look good! Wish I felt like I look.
    Genuine prayers for you! Grateful for each day we have. Glad your daughter still has you, and you her!

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    2 months ago

    @gramsie I’m sure hearing those compliments seem bittersweet when that’s not the true case. Wishing you the best!

  • Alisa moderator
    3 months ago

    Sending you hugs, Samantha! I wish I was closer to keep you company! xo

  • Poll