Four hours up north with moderate hassle first thing Thanksgiving—Thursday morning. Dinner and all the fixings with family and friends upon arrival, after a midday break. Conversations and such with young, medium, and old (with yours truly being the oldest of our generation) until 1:15 a.m. (a recent time record for many). Up at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast with more casual talk and noshing. Out the door at 9:15-ish heading back for an immediate day-after return trip home scheduled to make an early Friday afternoon chemotherapy infusion.
On September 17, Sarah Coleman and her husband Dan Ellis embarked on a sponsored walk from the top of Manhattan to the bottom. Sarah, who has Stage IV lung cancer with the ALK+ mutation, was inspired by the ALK Positive Facebook group’s initiative to raise $100,000 for a research grant to investigate why ALK+ lung cancer develops resistance to targeted therapies.
I was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer at the age of 29.
Prior to the diagnosis, I led an active lifestyle and participated in several fun runs. With a regular dose of the sun and fresh air from the beach resort where I was working five days a week, and with no immediate family history at that time, cancer was not within my radar. I thought I was completely healthy.
So I've been told mnemonically for years. But when you're home and automotive-repair challenged as I am, everything is much easier said than done, especially when the mnemonic device is easier to handle/figure out than whatever tool and/or schematic is necessary/advisable for the at-home/in-driveway repair. (We don't have a garage, or much of a basement for that matter. It's more of a cellar, actually. In fact, I call it "the dugout," so lack of spatial accommodations can exacerbate the problem.)
When my mother was diagnosed with Stage 3b lung cancer and subsequently died a short time later, I was grief stricken. I was also very angry. How could it be that lung cancer is diagnosed for only 15% of patients at an early stage? Why were treatment options so limited? How come the first question everyone asked me was if mom smoked? Such questions spurred me to become a lung cancer advocate.
I feel like I’ve just won a trip to the Oscars and I’m headed to Hollywood.
That’s what attending the International Association of the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Yokohama Japan means to me - it’s a dream come true! Spending 4 days at a conference about lung cancer may not sound like the red carpet to most, but this is truly my Hollywood, and the stars are all the brilliant minds that come together, share information and collaborate to further lung cancer research.
Twice recently, in print, I have been asked the same question. Once on an evaluation of a previous doctor appointment, and within the last week, on a pre-registration form for an oral surgeon. The question: "How is your health?" "Excellent." "Good." Fair." "Poor." The two times I saw this question, I snickered. I mean, I have cancer: Stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer in fact, the terminal kind. And even though I've lived way beyond my original "13 month to two-year" prognosis, (eight and a half years and counting, always counting), I'm still undergoing treatment.
I don't want to praise the Lord too much for providing me with such a trivial and mundane benefit but, I sure am grateful when my 112 pounds of cat litter arrives/is delivered to my front porch, mere feet away from our cats' litter boxes. "Auto Ship," baby. No more am I lugging 28 to 44 pound boxes of cat litter into our five-indoor-cat household from the local supermarket and/or pet superstore.
By Maria Carmina Joyce Alferez, MD, September 20, 2017
Carla’s lung mass kept on developing resistance to the drugs she was on, but luckily she usually had no symptoms save for some coughing. There were occasional side effects like fatigue but all were manageable. She married Bud in January of 2015. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have been to. It was a solemn promise of love and a celebration of life. At this point, Carla was on her third line of treatment, Afatinib.