Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Living Life Despite Lung Cancer (an Interview) — Part II

Read Part I of Living Life Despite Lung Cancer (an Interview) HERE.

My friend and fellow lung cancer survivor, Karen Loss, recently journeyed to Israel together. This is Part II of my interview with her about her experiences on the trip we took across the world. I tried to ask her the questions I thought you might have, but please feel free to ask questions of either of us in the comments below.

Traveling with another lung cancer patient

The first time I had traveled, for pleasure, with another lung cancer patient was on our January 2019 trip to Israel. However, I have been on what might be counted as an excursion here or there in the U.S. with other lung cancer patients where we did a bit of site-seeing surrounding lung cancer advocacy work we were invited to do by one or another of the lung cancer non-profits.

Why Israel?

Surprisingly, Israel had never really been a priority on my travel list, even though I’ve been a committed Christian all of my life. Over the past two years, however, several of my friends, independent of one another, traveled to Israel and were posting pictures and exclamations about how amazing their experiences were on these trips. So, I decided that perhaps it was time for me to raise Israel to the top of my travel list.

Side effects and travel challenges

I can’t say for certain it was my lung cancer or related side effects that caused me challenges on this Israel trip, but I certainly struggled mightily with an increasingly problematic chronic cough. It’s been with me for more than 2 years, but has seemed to get significantly worse since the start of 2019.

I’ve had a variety of tests done and tried many different drug treatments, none of which has been at all helpful so far. More tests are in the offing because it is beginning to negatively impact my life on a daily basis. So, the answer is a qualified yes. I definitely had challenges that others in the tour group did not encounter…and I found these challenges very difficult to deal with, so much so that I have sworn off further travel until I am able to get some truly helpful answers and appropriate treatment.

The most memorable part of the trip

For me, the most meaningful part of the trip was our visit to the Garden Tomb. The weather was stormy with wind, rain, and even hail, but our Irish site guide was passionate in his telling the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection that really made sense to me and brought the site to life. It impacted me more than any other place we visited in Israel.

Garden Tomb

Because Israel is a small country, about the size of New Jersey in land mass, we were able to travel over a significant portion of it and get a good sense of the geography and topography. I found this helpful to my better understanding of the Bible stories that address so many of these locations. Maps on paper just don’t provide that first-hand perspective.

How did this trip compare?

It was a very different trip to most of the travel I have done in that I rarely go on packaged tours. So, in that sense, I was happy to not have to worry about arranging transportation throughout the trip and all of the other intricacies that are involved in international travel. Tours also, however, often seem to include perhaps a bit too many site visits. In this case, I would like to have lessened each day’s site visits by one so we could have spent more time at each location and thus taken opportunities to sit quietly and contemplate the stories represented by the place…to really take in the meaning and spiritual significance.

Karen & Donna in Jerusalem

Thinking about the next trip…

All in all, I’m glad to have visited the land of Israel, my spiritual heritage. And once I get my coughing problem sorted out, I’ll look forward to the next place somewhere else in the world.

I believe this applies for everyone, but especially for those of us with stage 4 lung cancer…”We can’t afford to let the grass grow under our feet.” If I remain healthy enough to do so, I will surely continue traveling. There’s so much to see and do in this grand world of ours.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.