Plane taking off and flying over Israel.

Living Life Despite Lung Cancer (an Interview)

Last updated: February 2019

My friend and fellow stage IV lung cancer survivor, Karen Loss, recently embarked on a 9-day trip to Israel. We thought some of you might be interested in hearing about our trip. I was personally proud that even though neither of us has ever enjoyed the status of "no evidence of disease" (NED) since our diagnoses, we were able to take a trip across the world.

We thought it might be fun to tell you about our trip by interviewing one another. I asked Karen some of the questions I thought you might ask if you could. Feel free to ask your own questions in the comments. We're both happy to answer as many as you have.

Donna (left) and Karen (right) in Israel.

I hope that you, as I do, find great hope in Karen's story. Many people, after getting a dire diagnosis, give up living. Not Karen! She's taken the proverbial bull by the horns and has continued following her passion, making memories all along the way, despite challenges her health has thrown her way. She was diagnosed in November 2012 and recently celebrated her six-year anniversary.

Karen's favorite travel destinations

I've traveled some. Over the past couple of decades, travel has become a hobby for me...especially international travel. Four years ago, I took a three-week trip to Australia and New Zealand. While there, we took in the Sydney Harbor New Year's Eve fireworks, and I had the chance to meet up with a few Australian friends, one of whom even invited my sisters and me to join her family for a few days at Christmastime. We had a lovely time and also loved taking in the wildlife wonders of Kangaroo Island.

The following summer, I visited England for the 5th time and while there traveled north to Scotland with a good friend where we enjoyed the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the chance to take in the world-famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo on the grounds of Edinburgh Castle. It was a wonderful trip.

I took what I called an "ill-fated" Caribbean cruise with a friend a couple of years ago. I've enjoyed cruises in the past, but in this particular case, I had begun a new clinical trial only about 6 weeks earlier and the full blast of side effects didn't hit until we got underway on the trip. I ended up being too sick to enjoy the trip and spent one night in the ship's hospital and much of the rest of the trip in my cabin in bed. I felt sorry for the friend I had hoped to share the vacation with.

Last spring, I decided to do a domestic trip, something I refer to as my horse trip. It was a 2200+ mile driving trip that took in many sites including Kentucky Horse Park and Claiborne Farm near Lexington, KY. From there, as we moved on to the western reaches of the trip at Warm Springs Ranch in MO, where the Budweiser Clydesdale babies are born and raised, we took in other fun excursions.

In the summer of 2018, I flew off to take in the sites and wonders of The Emerald Isle. We visited all kinds of castles and castle ruins, saw the Cliffs of Moher, traveled The Ring of Kerry, learned how Waterford Chrystal is manufactured, and so much more. Ireland was yet another interesting place to check off my long list of places to see.

Dead Sea

A recent trip to Israel

My most recent travel experience was off to visit Israel and the Holy Lands. My friend Donna Fernandez joined me as we set off to connect with a tour group and see first-hand the places where the stories of our faith began.

Unfortunately, I am struggling mightily with a chronic cough that has not improved with any treatment after more than two years and don't foresee any more travel until I, with the help of my medical team, find a way to resolve this problem. Fingers crossed we will soon meet with a helpful solution to this major bump in the road.

Continue reading Part II of Donna's interview with Karen HERE.

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