My Second Life

My Second Life

Lung Cancer. Those are the two words I was not expecting to hear. In 2014, I developed a fever. I felt great. I was working full time, enjoying life but kept waking up in the middle of the night with a fever between 102 and 103 degrees. No other symptoms. I waited and waited. I kept thinking I “was getting sick” but I never did.

Fast forward three weeks of fevers every night, I finally went to my internal medicine primary care physician. Let me just say, they looked at me like I was crazy. I looked healthy. I felt healthy. The nurse went through a long list of questions looking for symptoms and I kept saying NO. Mono test – negative. Complete Blood Count – normal. Physical exam – nothing abnormal. No cough. No headaches. Nothing.

Doc: “I'm not sure what is going on so let's do a chest x-ray to start.” Those were the words that began my journey. The x-ray department was one floor down from my doctors office. YAY! Let's get this over with – I have to get back to work.

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Two hours later came the phone call...

“Your chest x-ray shows some abnormality that we'd like to explore further. I've scheduled a CAT Scan for Thursday then an appointment with me Friday morning to go over your results.” I should have panicked then, but given the fact that I had a fever for almost a month, I was almost grateful that they finally found something. Until......

Thursday morning I went for my CAT Scan, again, thinking nothing serious could be wrong. One hour later, another phone call, from my doctor, “can you come to my office right now?” (Remember, I already had an appointment to see him the next day).

That day, as I look back, was the last day of my FIRST life. I entered his office and he told me I had lung cancer. My world stopped. Everything stopped. I was dizzy. I started crying. I looked at my sister who was with me in disbelief. Did he really just say what I think he said? He wanted to admit me to the hospital for in depth further testing but I was in such shock I made him wait a few days.

I had to process this myself. I had to let my family know. I had to bring myself back to reality before I could absorb what I was being told. This is the day I refer to as my SECOND life.

Embracing and fight for my "second life"

Blood tests, more x-rays, more CAT scans, PET scans, MRI's...and the list goes on.

During all these tests was when I realized I wasn't going down without a fight. This was my second chance at life and love and I wasn't going to let this stop me. Yes, I was told I had stage III lung cancer, but I was also told I had a chance to beat it with surgery and chemo.

So here I am, 3 years and 7 months later, minus my left lung and actively in immunotherapy treatment. I'm still here. I'm still fighting. I'm still kicking. I live each day as if it were my last. I leave nothing unsaid.

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.

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.

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