I am such a big fan of the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and everything that they do. I listen to every Living Room session, read your website, have contributed to the purple toes campaign and other fund raisers, and there are pictures on your mural of me and my 2 year old granddaughter’s purple toes 🙂 I feel your positive energy and support, and I am so grateful such a warm and caring organization exists for lung cancer patients.

However, part of me wants to be an “alumni” rather than a member.

I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma lung cancer in February of 2013, after I slipped on my front steps, broke 2 ribs and coincidentally a “spot” was seen on my lung in the X-ray. We could say it was a Divine Fall. To make a long story short, my nodule was 2 cm and although it wasn’t “suspicious looking”, it was too big not to pay attention to, according to my pulmonary doc. Because of it’s location, the biopsy had to be a surgical procedure, but I went in very optimistic because I had was totally non-symptomatic and felt great. When I woke up I learned the lower third of my lung was removed and I wasn’t feeling so great. Immediately following the surgery my family and I were told how lucky I was because they got it all and I was cured! Three days later my surgeon sadly reported that the results of my pathology report shocked him, but 4 of the 8 lymph nodes that were removed in my lobectomy were malignant.

I went from “cured” to stage 3.

After reviewing the pathology report, my oncologist (Paula Kushlan at PAMF) revised my stage to a 2B because although some malignant cells were “knocking at the door” of my lung lining, there’s no visible evidence that they crossed it. (At least that is my understanding and it wasn’t prudent to continue to ask questions about this!) No other samples were taken from other lobes of my lungs, unfortunately.

To continue, I underwent cisplatin and Alimta for 2 rounds, but I was so very very sick from the cisplatin that my oncologist took me off it and put me on carboplatin (and Alimta) for the remaining 2 rounds. I was less nauseated and weak, but still SO fragile and depressed. I had to be IV hydrated after each treatment for 2 days because I couldn’t keep any liquids down. I finished chemo last June and worried I would never feel good again. But with time, exercise, and the return of my positive attitude, I am happy to report that a year later I feel great and grateful! I have had 2 CT scans and both have showed “no cancer”. (I wish I didn’t feel the need to add “so far”, but lung cancer statistics are so scary.)

I have benefitted greatly from some Stanford sponsored programs which I am sure you know all about, but I wanted to share with you in case it there is something new. The Live Strong Live Well program really helped me rebuild some of the muscle mass that chemo destroyed, and the free year’s membership at the Y is such a wonderful gift to encourage staying fit. I also am taking a Yoga class at Samyama, a new Yoga center in Palo Alto which offers 3 (free) classes a week to cancer survivors. And lastly, there is a Nia class, also free for us warriors, offered twice a week at Vivre Fitness in downtown Palo Alto.

Hmmmmm – why am I writing? Because I want to share all of the tools that have helped me. And to tell you how much I hope all of your (ALCF)/our efforts will make a difference some day in screening and hopefully preventing lung cancer. I would also like to offer to be a mentor if I could be of help to someone newly diagnosed.

There is a connection between all of us that sometimes takes my breath away…
a lung cancer coinkidink.