Lung Cancer at 30
I was diagnosed with stage IIIB lung cancer at 30 years old. When I heard the words, LUNG CANCER, I was shocked. I think everyone is shocked when they hear these words, so I am no different. The thing with lung cancer is it is very rare to be diagnosed in your 20s, 30s, or even your 40s. The average age of a person diagnosed with lung cancer is 70 years old.1 Cancer brings on many, many hurdles to overcome but being in this age bracket at diagnosis, it brings on some special hurdles.
I was just settling into my new life...
I feel as though this diagnosis came right when I was getting settled into my life. I had just started dating my now-husband. I did not date a lot in my 20s, so I was moving in a direction that I was happy with and that I had found my person. We had conversations about our future and that included marriage and kids. We had this conversation very early in our relationship, so I know that it was something that my husband truly wanted out of his life.
I was also moving in the right direction in my career. In 2013, I started working in the business development center of a local car dealership. I was working full-time, 40 hours per week. I had benefits and a steady paycheck. Exactly what I was looking for as a 30-year-old.
My life fell off track
In April 2014 when I heard the words “you have lung cancer” my life took a dramatic turn in a direction that would take years to get back on track. I started treatment and would eventually take a targeted therapy medication, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and participate in two clinical trials.
As noted earlier, my husband and I got married in 2016. This was a big deal for me because of the lung cancer diagnosis. Sacrifices were made and on December 17 we celebrate one more year together. We have come to terms with the fact that we will not be able to have kids of our own. I appreciate my husband for sticking with me through this and making this big sacrifice.
Adjusting my career plans
My career also took a few hits. I was no longer able to work full time. I even took a few months off while I traveled to participate in the first clinical trial. I stuck with the car dealership and once I returned, I started working a “casual” part-time role. They accommodated me the best that they could. After some time, I transitioned into a more realistic part-time role and eventually worked up to where I felt comfortable working full-time. The car dealership, while I know they would have loved to have me work full time for them they made the business decision to keep me part-time. Therefore, I looked elsewhere for a full-time position and in 2019 I started working full time for a different company.
I touched on two main hurdles that I have come across after being diagnosed at 30. These are by no means the only special hurdles that I will come across and will touch on more in later blog posts.
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