To The Newly Diagnosed...
Last updated: October 2021
I recently had a friend from high school reach out to me. Although she lives in Texas, her friend she wanted me to meet was in the county next to mine. A very small world. She knew of my condition and thought I may be able to give him some hope.
Talking with a newly diagnosed SCLC patient
I allowed her to give him my number in which he promptly called the same day. Sometimes I am not the best person to talk to someone newly diagnosed. I am 8 years in and have lost so many people.
And this time, the man she wanted me to meet had small cell lung cancer. I have no idea how to handle this. I've referred him to some cancer organizations and offered to go to appointments with him. I feel like it's the least I can do, so he's not alone. No one should fight alone in this battle. But, additionally, no one should be left picking up the pieces and consoling others time after time.
How am I supposed to be positive all the time?
Every time someone is diagnosed with lung cancer, you can bet all of my family and friends send them my way. To give them hope and console them. Meanwhile, one of my best friends is on the other line unable to breathe and slowly dying.
How am I supposed to be positive? She has the same mutation as I do and his is so much worse. All I can do is tell them that new drugs are becoming available all of the time. This is true, but I've seen so many people try the holistic approach. I know I did. I went through every cancer book I could put my hands on and read about natural ways to cure this disease.
You are your best chance of survival
After 8 years, I've come to the conclusion that there is no way out. There is no special avocado or spa in Mexico that can treat you. I know family and friends mean well when suggesting these things. But I'm here to tell the newly diagnosed to not get their hopes up.
Each patient should be doing research on his/her mutation because the doctors can't keep up with the ever-changing land of lung cancer. I tell them, "you are your best advocate, your best chance of survival".
We need more lung cancer awareness and research
The younger ones are the hardest. They are just beginning to raise their children and "BAM", cancer slaps them in the face. I can't imagine being an oncologist, telling people to get their affairs in order. I'm an anomaly. I'm not in the current statistical realm of lung cancer. So when others look to me and think there is hope, I get a pit in the bottom of my stomach.
Yes, research has come a long way or I wouldn't be writing this. But research still matters and we still have a long way to go.
Projects like the White Ribbon Project are doing incredible work to spread lung cancer awareness. I wish I could be more involved, but it can be hard to balance stage 4 lung cancer and getting involved in awareness movements.
Lung cancer awareness matters in any shape or form. But we are still behind in funding. So, to the newly diagnosed, I am praying for you to have an outcome like mine. To see the milestones that I have been able to see.
Looking for a place to connect with others who are newly diagnosed?
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?