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Newfound Hope

Hello. I am Ronda J. (Johnson) Beaty. I am a new contributor to LungCancer.net.

I was diagnosed on January 11, 2017 with NSCLC, adenocarcinoma, KRAS mutation. I have been on the roller coaster for nearly three years. I have only been a member of LungCancer.net for a little over a month. It took me almost three full years to find this support network.

Asking for help changed my life

I was at a doctor’s appointment and picked up the magazine Conquer. I was browsing through and read about the Go2 Foundation. I reached out to this organization via email and immediately received a response. It changed my life.

No one deserves lung cancer

Before you ask? Yes, I smoked. This question is an unfortunate stigma surrounding lung cancer. It is my opinion, no one deserves lung cancer. Is it preventable by not smoking? Maybe. Would I have gotten lung cancer if I didn’t smoke? Maybe. Do I, or anyone, deserve lung cancer (or any type of cancer)? No. I will talk more about this in future posts.

My hope: to build awareness

Awareness – defined via Google as a noun – knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

For me, the situation is I have lung cancer. Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.1 I hope to build awareness that you do not have to be a smoker to have lung cancer. I hope to build awareness that lung cancer is no longer the death sentence it used to be. I will talk about these topics in the future, as well.

Discovering the lung cancer community

For three years I have felt alone in my diagnosis. I don’t know anyone living that has lung cancer. I have no known family history of lung cancer; however, I have loved ones that have lost family members to lung cancer. I have believed, for the last three years, tomorrow could be my last day.

In two days, after contacting the Go2 Foundation, I was sitting, online via YouTube, in a support group called “The Lung Cancer Living Room”. For the past three years, I had been looking over my shoulder for the angel of death. Sitting online, in the living room, I immediately had newfound hope. I learned there are fellow stage IV lung cancer survivors that were diagnosed well over five years ago! How did I not know this?

Prior to finding these resources, I had all but given up. I had planned my cremation. I had purchased my cemetery plot. I had purchased my headstone — it has been placed. I have gotten all my financial affairs in order. This is a humbling experience everyone should do whether with or without a cancer diagnosis. While completing these tasks, I was sad. I was sad and scared. I’m 54 years old. I’m too young to die.

Newfound hope is liberating

Guess what? Newfound hope is liberating! Now, instead of focusing on dying, I am focused on living! I now have a newfound will to live! A new LONG TERM will to live. I’ve started planning my future by participating in life instead of planning for future death. I have good days and bad days. There is no warning of a bad day, it just smacks me in the face when I wake up.

Together, I hope we spread awareness broadly that these resources are available. If it took me three years to find it, I’m certain there are others that need us. Provide this information to friends, ask your friends to provide it to their friends. Let them know they are not alone, there are many of us to share and learn with.

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

  1. Key Statistics for Lung Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed on January 7, 2020. https://www.cancer.org/content/cancer/en/cancer/lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

Comments

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    3 days ago

    I have to agree with you no one deserves this disease. I only wish my mom had the pleasure of this great network. Cheers and best to you!

  • Ronda Beaty moderator author
    3 days ago

    Thank you Yolanda.

  • linfitness
    4 days ago

    I found this site shortly after my diagnosis in May 2019. It has been so helpful! Info on questions to ask – uplifting stories of hope! I need some good vibes right now since my 6 month immunotherapy clinical trial failed. Much progression. Such news is so hard to take and keep a positive attitude. Now on chemo and scans next week to see if we are on the right track. I must admit – this is really bringing up my scanxiety! I just need a glimmer of good news and then I will “stay the course”

  • Ronda Beaty moderator author
    4 days ago

    Hi linfitness. I am so sorry to hear about the progression and failure of the clinical trial. I could give you all of the “normal” words of encouragement – stay strong, push through, one day at a time – all words that can be exhausting to hear. However, they are true. You really can only take one day at a time. Since you are on chemo, I’m certain you struggle with nausea – get some gin-gins. You can purchase them on Amazon. They do help! Also, if you have Netflix? Watch Grace and Frankie! – Hilarious show that will take your mind off of your situation, even if only for a short while. Our next Lung Cancer Living Room is this coming Tuesday! Get on You Tube and search Lung Cancer Living Room. There are several past support groups to watch and listen to. It changed my life and outlook. I hope it does for you too, and I hope to meet you online this Tuesday!

  • linfitness
    4 days ago

    I do enjoy Grace and Frankie! Thanks for the words of encouragement, and I will have to look into the Living Room

  • Gladup
    4 days ago

    Hey Ronda! It’s too bad you were so long in finding this site; my doctor referred it to me even before my first biopsy, when we knew i had a growing nodule. As well, i had met a stage 4 of 3 years at my CT scan. Good for you in the 3 years too! I’d be interested to know what treatment you had since diagnoses and now. I just progressed to stage 4 in Sept, having had lobectomy feb/19, chemo april-june/19. This site is certainly informative, inspiring and supportive! take care..

  • Ronda Beaty moderator author
    4 days ago

    Hi. I haven’t had any surgeries. My first treatment was Carboplatin with radiation. Gamma knife of brain 3 times. Then Opdivo with radiation and now Keytruda. I have 2 new lymph nodes popped up on my trachea. Should be able to radiate. Will know Friday. The Keytruda appears to be keeping everything else from growing and I’ve had shrinkage everywhere else (lymph nodes, adrenal glands, brain). Right adrenal gland now all clear!!

    Now, there is literature in my treatment center to guide all lung cancer patients here. So happy to have the support.

    Thank you for responding.

  • mburton
    4 days ago

    I am in the same situation as you! Although both of my parents did die of lung cancer and I foolish enough to smoke in my youth (I quit over 23 years ago). I was diagnosed in 2016 NSCLC, also with the KRAS mutation. I am now 52 years old. It is a VERY isolating disease and the stigma is awful. I am also searching for ways to get involved in some way to change this. There have been so many new advances in recent years, so there is reason to be optimistic. Thank you for posting.

  • Ronda Beaty moderator author
    4 days ago

    Thank you mburton. Keep a positive outlook and push on. Our NED could be tomorrow!

  • mrsfjel70
    4 days ago

    I wish so much I was a decent writer because I would have written this verbatim. My sentiments feelings awareness in every word. Thank you!

  • Ronda Beaty moderator author
    4 days ago

    Hi mrsfjel70. I am so happy to know my thoughts speak to you. Thank you for the feedback.

  • Lisa Moran moderator
    1 week ago

    Welcome Rhonda. I’m glad you found us.

  • Ronda Beaty moderator author
    5 days ago

    Thank you Lisa!

  • Alisa moderator
    1 week ago

    Fantastic article, Ronda! We shall spread awareness together … All the best!

  • Ronda Beaty moderator author
    5 days ago

    Thank you Alisa! The sooner we spread the word, the sooner we can help others and get to work on more research!

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