Sometimes, I Forget That I'm Sick
Last updated: May 2023
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. I was on the younger end of the spectrum compared to the average age of someone diagnosed, which is 70. I have been through so much, but in the last few years, it has lessened in severity. Sometimes I forget that I even have lung cancer.
My treatment journey
I have had a few different lines of treatment, including targeted therapies, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and two clinical trials. When I was in the first clinical trial, I traveled from Chicago to Boston.
Ever since I was diagnosed, I have had scans every three months, sometimes more and sometimes less. Clinical trials have very strict requirements. I think one time, I went a full eight months between scans! Having scans always brings me back to reality and reminds me that I still do indeed have lung cancer.
I have lung cancer - even if it doesn't look like it!
I recently read an article about a young lady who faked having cancer to gain funds. She succeeded and received over $30k in donations. But then she got caught. That is insane to me!
Sometimes I worry that people think I am faking cancer because of how well I have been doing in the last few years. I can assure you I only make it *look* easy. However, there are dark days and nights spent awake.
The lung cancer poster child
I am not your typical cancer patient. I call myself a unicorn, and my oncologist has called me her “poster child.”
Throughout my treatment regimen, I have never lost my hair. It hasn’t even thinned. I started with very thick hair, and even now, when I go to get my hair done, the stylist always comments on how thick my hair is. I did lose a bunch of weight in the beginning but have since gained it all back.
Adjustments: Working with cancer
I also work full-time. Trying to fit in doctors’ appointments while also working has been a struggle. I have started having scan appointments on Saturdays and then getting results via a phone call.
When I got scans during the week, I received the results the same day. Now that I get scans on the weekend, I wait a few days. The last time, I waited about 10 days. I handled it like a champ and didn’t let the scanxiety get to me.
I'm always catching the travel bug!
My sister and I just took my nephews to Disney World. It was SO much fun. It was suggested to me that we spend 5 days in the parks. That sounded very exhausting, and so we did 2 days in the parks and had two days for travel. Over the span of 4 days, I walked approximately 21 miles. We configured the trip to accommodate not only me with my constant fatigue but also the two littles, who are 4 and 7.
I am in vacation planning mode and already working on my plans for a trip to NYC in April and a birthday trip in September. My twin sister and I turn 40, and we want to make it a big trip. We have ideas!
I hope to those that are newly diagnosed and reading this that you, too, will get to the point where you “forget” that you have lung cancer!
Is there a lung cancer metaphor that bothers you the most?
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