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I Didn’t Ask to Get Lung Cancer!

I am currently 51 yrs old happily married to my soul mate. We have 7 children between us and soon to be 7 grandchildren. Our lives were great…we had beautiful plans. In 2008 we buried my 80 year old dad. He was diagnosed with stage IV. Non small cell Adenocarcinoma. They gave him 6-12mths and he was gone in 6.

In April of 2013 as my husband and I sat and visited, I, as I always nervously do…I was rubbing areas of my skin. I stopped between my breasts on my sternum and felt a pea sized nodule. It felt strange but it wasn’t uncomfortable. I mentioned it to my husband and I made an appointment with my PCP asap. My visit to see the Dr. was uneventful. He thought it was a cyst and rubbed it. He sent me home. 2 days later it was the size of a quarter. Off to the surgeon we went…biopsy done..didn’t believe it was anything. 2 days later we got a call from him saying that I have stage IV lung cancer. My husband and I held each other wailing. My grown daughter ran from it and I looked at my husband and said,”I’m going to die.”

That day our lives changed forever and will never be the same. Cancer is ugly…vile…disgusting and evil. Lung cancer has taken many people I loved…I have watched young children die, Abby, a beautiful teenager with her whole life ahead of her left us way to soon. It doesn’t discriminate – young, old, men, women, rich, poor…it doesn’t care.

If you feel the need to ask someone about an initial diagnosis…ask them if you can pray for them..Tell them you are here for them. DON’T ASK THEM IF THEY SMOKED.. that doesn’t matter. It isn’t relevant. STOP THE STIGMA PLEASE. I want to live! I deserve to live! I plan to live! In April of 2018 I will celebrate living 5 years. That is a milestone. Please be kind. Stop the stigma. Love to all of you.

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.


  • sereic1024
    1 year ago

    Tracy, I almost didn’t read your story because the title “I Did Not Ask For Lung Cancer”. I thought to myself, well who asks for lung cancer. NO ONE of course. I know I did not. But I read on and am feeling better that I know you were stage 4 with the same diagnosis as me and glad you were around to write this 4.5 years later. By now your milestone has passed and I sincerely hope you are here to read this. I will share my story on later, but in short, in October ’17, I was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma. I finished my 6 cycles (21 days) of a 3 drug cocktail that knocked me about a bit, but not as bad as it could have been. I am on “maintenance” chemo now (pemetrexed) and my SUV numbers have gone down and I have experienced tumor shrinkage. I am only 10 months into my battle, so it is good to know others continue to battle and live with cancer for 5 years (and more!!!!!!). Best of luck to you and keep a strong attitude, If nothing else, please know you helped me.

  • Michele Bittikofer
    2 years ago

    Im so sorry for ur dad. Theres no one like our daddy. Ur story was so strong, truthful and inspiring. Ur at 5 yrs awesome. I was diagnosed last October with nsclc, stage 1. Had a lobectomy and Im doing good physically. Mentally, still pissed as hell about the stigma, lack of awareness of this terrible disease, death rate and lack of funding. I am now an advocate for those too sick that cant be. Take care n stay strong.

  • Deni
    2 years ago

    Tracey your story was very moving especially to me. I was diagnosed this past Oct. I was also given the same diagnosis stage IV. Only mine has metastasize to my spine. I have a nodule on my sternum, even after radiation and my present chemo treatments it seems larger. God Bless You it has been 5 years,I pray for the same. And your right don’t ask if they smoke it doesn’t matter.

  • ninaclare
    2 years ago

    I was diagnosed in August…went through test for surgery…now here it is Nov and surgeon said can’t have surgery because infected lymb node to close to something.. all this time wasted, I should have started chemo right away in August. now I am a stage 3 with all this waiting…cells don’t strop growing. l feel like I am in some kind of nightmare an can’t wake up. I have never been really sick with anything in my life.
    Now finally oncologist has me starting with 7 weeks of chemo/radiation. my life as I have known it is suddenly gone…what will my future be like? will I be sick all the time,will they kill all the cells,will it come back,will I be able to still do my volunteer work that I enjoy?

  • DDove1950
    2 years ago

    Ninaclare. I was diagnosed on June 1st and took 3 weeks to get in and see a oncologist who talked the first time couldn’t tell me anything except couldn’t tell what stage I was until Pet scan had prt scan following week went back week later and he hadn’t even looked at scan. Wss referred to a oncologist close to my home snd it took mr two more weeks to see her. I never even started my treatment until September 1st. I had radiation everyday for 64 days and chemo every 21 days. Never lost my hair and very little side affects. Keep your faith and attitude is important. I stayed away from negative people including a sister who went through breast cancer but was very negative about my treatment. I sm cancer free but am high risk since they never found my original tumor which isn’t uncommon. Good luck with your treatment and God Bless you and your family

  • Margot moderator
    2 years ago

    Thinking of you @DDove1950 – thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m sorry to hear about your sister – I know many can relate to trying to stay away from negative people – it’s hard when it’s family! Please do keep us updated as to how you are feeling; wishing you all the best! Thanks so much for being a part of our community. Warmly, Margot, Team Member

  • Margot moderator
    2 years ago

    We really hear you @ninaclare. You may find this info on chemo/radiation helpful: though, of course, individual reactions may vary. We always recommend bringing any questions to and discussing any concerns with your healthcare team in addition to comments from the community here. How are you feeling so far? Thinking of you. Please do keep us updated. Warmly, Margot, Team Member

  • Margot moderator
    2 years ago

    @Tracy64477 and @Marymac4441 – thank you both so much for sharing your stories. We really appreciate it, and are thinking of you both, wishing you all the best. Please know that we and the community are always here. Warmly, Margot, Team

  • Marymac4441
    2 years ago

    Thanks Tracy. I found out that I have lung cancer stage IV on Valentine’s Day 2016 and have been going through various treatments since. It’s gone to the brain and been fighting that also. My life changed totally and I call myself the new me. It’s not a better me just a different me who is fighting to breathe and live, enjoying the little things I never noticed before. I concur, stop the stigma, accept us for who we are. We didn’t ask for this crappie disease, wouldn’t give it to anyone and just pray to live and enjoy whatever time we have. I didn’t smoke but who cares. I just want to be treated with respect, love and not feel alone. Thanks again Tracy for saying what I also feel. I am only 61.

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