A smiling, relaxed, and fit woman opens her chest to show lung cancer to a doubtful man and a shocked woman.

You Don’t Look Sick

Has this happened to you? Have you told people, “I have lung cancer” and they reply, “Oh, but you don’t look sick.” So how are we lung cancer survivors/patients supposed to look? Like the silver screen image? Bald, skinny, and looking like death? Are we supposed to look unhealthy and like we are perishing away? Well, the answer is NO!

Now I embrace my lung cancer

I get this every time I share my journey with lung cancer and tell them I’ve been living with lung cancer for 7 years now. At first, it bothered me, but now I embrace it and tell them, “No I don’t, that’s the Hollywood version, I look and feel fabulous!” then I giggle. They look at me with a blank stare!

Don't forget to live life

Trust me when I tell you that people have told me, “Are you really sick because you work out or you don’t seem too sick because you are lifting weights.” People have said, “If she has lung cancer why is she traveling so much.” Well, that’s why I travel so much BECAUSE of lung cancer. I guess many forgot to live life and enjoy it every chance they get and that’s exactly what I tell them.

I actually had a female tell me, “Sometimes I wonder if you really have lung cancer.” So I invited her to attend my next 3 months check-up with my oncologist! I asked for her phone number and told her I’ll call you and at the same time, you can give me a ride. Of course, she didn’t and said, “Oh I was just joking.” I responded, “No you are not but it’s ok, do some research on your own before making a comment like that to someone.”

Comments sometimes come from lack of awareness

I’ve also had people tell me, “Well it was self-inflicted” or “Maybe you shouldn’t have been smoking” and I responded, “I never smoked.” The look on their faces is priceless! I used to get so upset, but I realized that they weren’t educated about lung cancer. So, I would take time to educate them and bring awareness. Many did thank me because they were unaware.

Yes, many people will say something ignorant, make rude comments, or will just assume, but put a smile on your face and educate them. I tell them that I’m living longer because of research and because of it there are more treatment options for me. I also tell them that when they see a fundraiser for lung cancer to please donate something because it’s helping me, and my lung cancer brothers and sisters live longer. I tell them we matter too!

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