Last updated: February 2020
As a lung cancer patient, I have had my trials and tribulations. From surgery to radiation to chemotherapy and now immunotherapy. Endless blood tests, endless CT scans, PET scans and Brain MRI's. It seems as if it is a never ending circle. As a matter of fact, having lung cancer is a never ending circle. We all know the feeling of scanxiety on the days leading up to a CT scan and we all know the feeling when something just doesn't feel right.
Our lung cancer tribe
But are there benefits to having lung cancer? As a survivor for over four years I can honestly tell you if I had not met the hundreds of patients also with lung cancer, I would never have made it. We call each other our tribe, our brothers and sisters, our family. We have many Facebook groups whereas we can chat about everyday musings or we can be a sense of support when you are feeling down.
Lately, it seems many of our "Family" has posted about the progression of their disease. There is always bad that comes with the good but in our tribes we are there to support each other. And the other negative aspect is when we lose a member of our tribe. It is as difficult as losing a part of your actual family. There are times when you will forge bonds with certain people and then have to join them on their journey helping with support as they begin their eternal life.
A strong, unwavering bond
WAIT!! This is not meant to be a depressing article. This is a celebration of all those people we have fighting for us in our corner. Sometimes you may not have ever met the person in "real life" but I can bet sometimes that person provides more support than your own child/spouse. Why you ask? Because that person knows exactly what you are going through. They have been through the same things at a different point in their journey. No cancer journey is the same but there are things that we as patients will not and cannot speak to our real family about. That is where our tribe comes in.
Right now there are approximately five people that I know who are awaiting test results to help them determine how to fight off this progression. We can only hope to be here to help them through their thought process. My tribe is always there for me. Even if I encounter an ungrateful person at the grocery store, I know there is someone else who probably felt terrible like me but at least I had an outlet for my feelings.
Finding your tribe
Give it a try -- join a group or two. Just put "lung cancer" into the Facebook search bar and you will see how many groups pop up. It may take you a few times joining groups until you find the one where you feel you fit in but once you do it is well worth it.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
Beside manner matters! What has your experience been?