Last updated: April 2023
I’ve been asked what my goals are in living with lung cancer and what I want to see in the future. Well, I have a lot - but let me begin with my personal goals.
To celebrate my cancerversary
To make it to my 10th cancerversary, and I’m pretty sure I will! Meanwhile, I’m planning a trip that is on my bucket list. Since my cancerversay is in November, there are some places that will be cold, and I’m trying to avoid that.
Weather won't stop me from celebrating my cancerversary!
Some say wait til summer. But it isn’t the same as going somewhere you always wanted to go and being there on the day you were told, “You have lung cancer, and you only have 18 months to live.” I think it’ll give me more of a reason to advocate harder and fight with everything in me.
To see my grandchildren grow up
Another personal goal is to live long enough to see my granddaughter turn 15 and plan her quinceanera. A quinceanera is a traditional celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in Latin America and among Latinos. It's her transition from childhood to adulthood, typically involving a mass followed by a party. This is on top of my goals, and I do hope every day, I’ll still be here to plan her quinceanera. I have several more personal goals, but I want to move on to lung cancer goals.
To spread the knowledge: Biomarker testing for the newly diagnosed
My top goal is for every newly diagnosed lung cancer patient to know about biomarker testing. I want to help in any way possible to make it a standard procedure for newly diagnosed lung cancer patients. We need to shout this at the top of every mountain and speak it in everyone’s ears! Biomarker testing can help decide which treatment is right for the patient.
To stop the stigma, for once and for all!
Another goal is stopping the stigma. Is it hard, of course, but it’s not impossible. When I was first diagnosed, I was always asked, “Did you smoke?” I would always say no. The looks on people’s faces were priceless because they didn’t know you could get lung cancer and not smoke.
The power of compassionate education
I had to educate these people, which I gladly did, to decrease the lung cancer stigma. It made me feel good to educate people about lung cancer. I would tell them, “If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.” Now, eight years later, when I tell people I’m a person living with lung cancer, many don’t ask. Many of them already know. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I’m here for it!
To build community
I also want to help those that feel stigmatized, I want to let them know they are NOT alone. This wasn’t your fault! I want to encourage, inspire and give my lung cancer community hope! I don’t want them to feel ashamed and play the blame game. We’re all in this together, and we are here to help you get through this journey called lung cancer.
My goals, living with lung cancer
I want to help other lung cancer patients and survivors to advocate not only for themselves but for the rest of us! We need your voice.
We need you to join us so we can all be heard and let everyone know we matter too. Nothing will get done if we don’t unite as people living with lung cancer. We must fight for more funding for research, to make biomarker testing a standardized procedure, and to stop the stigma associated with lung cancer. The more we shout and be persistent, the more we advocate. There will be no choice but to see that lung cancer is a national emergency!
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?