Our Stories of Hope After a Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Many don't know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women worldwide. The funding received is less than any other cancer per person. This has to change in order for us to survive. Thankfully the medical world is vastly expanding into research that pinpoints mutations that cause these cancers. This leads the way to longer survival if you have a mutation. You are able to take a daily pill instead of traditional chemo. My hair won't grow anymore, I'm tired, and the side effects are unpredictable. But, in the grand scheme of things, who really cares?
My daughter is the reason I fight
I was given 12-18 months and I am still alive after 6 years. I got to watch my daughter go to middle school, make volleyball captain in 7th grade, and lead her team to win the county championship by 8th grade. I'm able to see her transform into this teenager with her own personality, a mixture of her mom and dad, so empathetic and sweet. She is my world and one of the reasons I fight. She's the main reason, but I have others.
I am my own story of hope
You see, when I was first diagnosed I found one story of hope. One story that told of surviving the 5 year 4% survival rate. It was devastating, to say the least. I needed hope more than anything. I knew if I gave up hope, I would be giving up my life.
So, now that I just surpassed 6 years, I realized that I am the story of hope I so desperately looked for in the beginning. I'm not telling you this to brag, seek attention, or anything to that matter, because every cancer is different. I'm telling my story to give the newly diagnosed hope. I have no active cancer as of now with only two inactive tumors.
I'm still on my first line of treatment. Having a major setback at the beginning of the year with two pulmonary embolisms, I continue to wage on. When I hit my 5 year mark, I believed that if I could reach just one person and give them hope and maybe some faith in God that it was all worth it. Now that I have surpassed 6 years, I want anyone reading my story to have hope. I want to help more than that one person. And if they find God along the way, then it was worth it. I have never had to fight alone. There is an entire community that is here for you. You just need to find them.
We need to share our stories
We need more advocates. While working with Chris Draft and Team Draft Family Foundation, we have tirelessly tried to get the faces of lung cancer and the stories behind each one out there. If we are going to change our ultimate fate, we have to speak up and fight for it. We have to give people a reason to fund research to save our lives. So, share your story with everyone you come in contact with. You never know who is going to be the person to make a major difference in funding our survival.
When this website contacted me about writing for them, I jumped on the idea. I'm blessed to have them reach out so I can continue to share the story that I so desperately needed 6 years ago. Telling your 7 year old that you may not live 2 years is one of the most gut-wrenching things one can do. But, I've been preparing her. She was baptized and her father and I were able to stand proudly stand with her in front of 400 people when she did it. I didn't push her, but her belief that God was going to take care of her was so strong she asked to be saved at the age of 8 and is now closely involved with the church. She frequently helps with the younger children.
Call it what you want...
So, let me sum this rambling up. I am the story I was looking for and I hope it finds you. I found God and learned that I was never alone, as did my daughter. She no longer has the nightmares and worries at the age of 13. My journey has not been without struggles, but I have overcome them through God's grace and the world of science combined.
At this point in my journey, I have no active cancer, just two tumors that are inactive thanks to medicine and radiation. When I was first told I had no active cancer, it was Friday the 13th of December, 2013. My dad hasn't taken his Christmas tree down since. All of the lights have burnt out, but the angel remains shining brightly in his living room. Call it science, call it faith, call it what you want, but above all else, call this story hope. God bless.
Do you find that staying zen through your lung cancer diagnosis has helped you in your journey?