Jill was born and raised in Maryland, where she currently resides with her Canadian husband, Jay, their 4-year old daughter Emilee, and two Boston Terriers, Rex and Chloe. As part of her health restoration journey, Jill has uncovered a new passion for holistic healthy living, and recently launched her own lifestyle blog, www.luvyourlungs.com. She believes that through mind, body and soul, we each have the power to manifest our best and healthy life.
Can you describe the most difficult thing you experienced when you were diagnosed with lung cancer?
The initial disbelief. I was 37 years old, had never smoked a cigarette in my life and was a mom of a 3-year old. I worked out every day, ate well, and just had a lingering, persistent cough. But time stopped that day and none of that mattered anymore. My family did. The thought of not being present for upcoming milestones and years of precious memories was unfathomable. No one teaches you how to quiet those thoughts when you’re alone, in the hospital, waiting on information. Self-perseverance can be challenging as well as rewarding, as I was about to learn.
What was the biggest unexpected change in your life after your diagnosis?
Honestly, all the positive energy and people this has brought (or re-brought) into my life. I had a moment early on that I thought my life was ending, but I soon realized it was, in fact, just beginning. So much of healing is perspective. Mindset matters!
What does the term “survivor” mean to you?
That I am a warrior. When I see a challenge, I conquer it. That the beauty is in the journey and the lessons it brings. I’m choosing to actively share the story of my health restoration journey through my new wellness blog, luvyourlungs.com, in hopes it can help others. I’ll always be a warrior, because this journey has brought so much more positivity into my life. For that, I’m grateful.
If you could give any advice or words of wisdom to a newly diagnosed patient, what would it be?
This one gets me excited because the answer is two words: Mindset Matters. A positive perspective makes all the difference. And while you’re in the initial stages of grief and despair, it can be hard to see this. But visualizing the road ahead, in the most positive light, will bring that love and light into your life.
Second is nutrition! It really matters. I would encourage any patient to be kind to their body and focus on the healing properties that food can deliver.
Have you been involved in raising awareness or advocacy efforts in the fight against lung cancer?
I’m a marketer at heart so this came naturally to me. I learned so much about lung cancer early on and really wanted to support research any way I knew how. I’m so grateful for the men and women who have come before me, so paying it forward was easy. Over the last 2 months, we’ve raised over $31,000 for LUNGevity research. I’m so grateful for the generosity of our friends and families and am so honored to help fund critical lung cancer research and screening ahead.
LUNGevity Spotlight is a way to highlight people living with lung cancer, caregivers, volunteers, and fundraisers who are making a positive impact in the LUNGevity community. We hope that their stories will inspire and encourage many more to get involved.
If you know someone in the LUNGevity community whom you'd like us to Spotlight, please nominate them here.