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Six Years and Counting

This time of the year is always a little bittersweet for me. My cancer was first discovered in late October of 2012 when a very astute primary care physician (PCP) felt a teeny knot on my collarbone. I had felt it before my appointment, but it was painless and small. I had completely forgotten about it by the time I saw her. It wasn’t until she noticed and commented about it that I remembered finding it a few weeks earlier. Thank God she took action that day and sent me for a CT scan. The results of that scan set in motion all that has happened since.

Waiting for those initial results

As everyone who has a similar diagnosis to mine knows, the first few weeks after learning that there is something suspicious going on is both a whirlwind of activity and a time when you feel like you’re trudging through quicksand. It seemed like I rushed from one appointment to the next – I needed a PET scan to confirm that there were indeed suspicious cells that needed to be looked at more closely. But first, we had to wait on insurance approval. Naturally, since it seems insurance doesn’t get in a hurry, that took some time. All the while, I am wondering what kind of cancer I must have. I was fairly certain that the fact that my PCP was recommending such a test, I had some kind of malignancy. (It never occurred to me to just ask her what she found suspicious. Playing ostrich, I suppose.)

I finally had the PET scan. And, then we waited for results. It felt like it took months to get those, but the reality is that my PCP called within the week to tell me that I had lung cancer. And, that I had an appointment the next day to see an oncologist. By now, nearly a month had passed after that first CT scan and it was nearing Thanksgiving.

Thankful for my PCP

Everyone should be as lucky as I am to have a PCP that cares like mine does. Despite the fact that the day she felt that knot on my collarbone was the first time she’d ever seen me, she wanted me to check with her all along the road of my cancer journey.

She asked me to stop by and report in after my first visit with the oncologist. Because of the Thanksgiving holidays, my biopsy was delayed until the following week. My PCP would have none of it. She called in some cards and my tissue was taken that day.

My first chemo infusion

This girl who had always said that she would never, ever go through chemo was scheduled to begin her first treatment on December 4. Getting the chemo infusion was easy enough, but I was one of those people for whom no anti-nausea medication we tried worked. So, I spent much of the first week after treatment in bed, thinking (and sometimes hoping) the treatment was going to kill me before the cancer did. Thankfully, my second treatment wasn’t until December 27, so I was feeling my best for Christmas Day.

Story of hope

So, the holiday season is bittersweet. I will always associate it with learning that I was beginning the battle for and of my life. But, six years later, I also celebrate modern science and awesome doctors who have managed to keep me alive and living far past my prognosis of four months.

What’s your story? Mine is one of Hope.

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.


  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    9 months ago

    @donna-fernandez I’m always so hopeful for a cure. I think of my mother every day and trust that one day, many who suffer from this disease, will get clearance of even better medicine and a cure. May you have an even better 2019! Best!

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