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Couple Celebrates Gift of Life After a Stage IV Lung Cancer Diagnosis — Part III

Part III — The following article was written from an interview with Cindy Hall, whose husband Tommy Hall was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2013. After enrolling in an immunotherapy clinical trial, Tommy is now out of treatment and living life to the fullest.fullest.

‘So many positive things have happened’

Cindy commuted back and forth to Suffolk while Tommy mostly stayed in their condo in Ocean City, MD.

“And we had to go to Baltimore,” she says “So, I worked 14 to 17 hours, then drove home for a long weekend, took him to Baltimore, then drove back. I powered through it for a year and a half.

“We realized by that time that the medicine obviously was working for Tommy. We had been blessed with him surviving now two years with that treatment. We celebrated and celebrated.”

Time to transition

But the commute and intense schedule eventually caught up to Cindy. After searching for a position on the Eastern Shore, Cindy transitioned to a new career in insurance.

“I had left Sysco because I couldn’t do it anymore and started working locally in the industry with a different company. They were wonderful to me, but I started commuting a lot and it just wasn’t worth it. We had been given a gift. We had to take advantage of that gift. We enjoy life. We’ve kept golfing. We’ve kept boating. That’s important to make sure we embrace the things that surround us. That’s what’s carried us through.

On Boat 2

Grateful for all the support

“I never would have gotten through this if I didn’t have the kind of support that we’ve had from our community, our friends,” she adds. “We never asked for any support but just the feeling that people were rooting for us…it’s important not to try to go through this on your own.”

Going through lung cancer as a patient or as a caregiver can be very different.

“We would have approached our disease differently,” she says. “Tommy was more accepting and peaceful. The way Tommy approached it was, ‘If I’m not going to be here long, I’m not going to be obsessed about how I live my life. I’m going to enjoy my life.’ I believe wholeheartedly that his acceptance was a blessing just like my nonacceptance was. We plowed through this stuff, but he also wasn’t going to turn his world upside down to battle this.”

The reality of lung cancer

While the future seems bright now, going through their journey was dark and challenging. Cindy and Tommy faced the reality of his potential death.

“I have planned his funeral millions of times,” says Cindy. “Different songs I would play, pictures that I would have, things that I would say, people I would ask to be part of it. I planned it so many times. You plan it almost every time you go for a scan. He did scans every three weeks.

“Now, we just went to our last scan (July 2018). We don’t have another one until January. It will be two days before his 55th birthday. We thought he would be gone at 52.”

Coming out the other side more positive and in love

The experience has dramatically changed them both — for the better.

Cindy & Tommy 2

“It’s truly incredible,” says Cindy. “Instead of feeling angry at what’s happened to us, we feel blessed. It made us think about people more. It’s made us more mindful of how we treat each other. It was almost like it gave us a chance to fall in love again. There have been so many positive things that have happened because of it. That’s the energy we try to focus on.”

Read Part I here and Part II here of “Couple Celebrates Gift of Life After a Stage IV Lung Cancer Diagnosis”.

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.