Lifestyle Changes and Screening
Im 59 years old. I was initially diagnosed with stage 2b. Grade 3, Poorly differentiated.
During surgery, what was to be a pneumonectomy or lobectomy, turned wedge resection, I was re-staged 3a, because of cells in 2 lymph nodes on same side. I was told my cancer was more aggressive.
My grandmother and her sisters all passed of Lung Cancer, respectfully 28-30 + years ago. I don't remember much of her experience, I remember her losing her hair. I know she had a hard time with the treatment. My family doesn't remember much either.
A few years later, my mom and dad quit smoking and I soon followed suit, hoping above all hopes to prevent the chances of this happening to me.
24 years passed, I made so many lifestyle changes as a non-smoker. I got very healthy, exercised, ran 5 and 10 Ks and even met my goal of a half marathon.
I admit, I did know what 18 years of smoking could do, I knew there were chances. Having family members pass from it probably upped the anti.
No doctor ever suggested screening
My medical history report with my general MD has always included my smoking history. At no point in my 24 years of not smoking was it ever suggested to me to do a chest X-ray or CT to keep things in check. Not with anyone of the several family practice doctors I had.
In May of 2019 at my yearly physical, I asked my MD for a chest X-ray. I wasn't showing signs of LC that I knew were signs, but did have some chest discomfort that concerned me. This was the beginning of my Journey.
A long 7 months
Today my hope is my lifestyle changes help me in this battle to still have a long, full life.
I have done surgery, 4 cycles of chemo(cisplatin/Pemetrex) 6 weeks of IMRT radiation and am currently doing immunotherapy ( Imfinzi) Optimistically waiting to hear that I am NED! It's been a long 17 months, but will be worth every day to hear this.
Never be afraid to ask
In our quest to encourage early screenings, it's important that our regular family practice doctors be educated about LC screenings and more engaged. We must advocate for ourselves as well. I'm not sure where I would have been had I not advocated for myself, but I'm also not sure how much earlier this may have been found had my Family Practice MD been more in tune with my medical history.
Never be afraid to ask.
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