-> Diagnosed under 50

Cancer Won’t Stop You

After battling a persistent cough for six months, I went in for a chest x-ray. This was July 2020, right in the thick of the pandemic, which is why I put off going in for so long. After nothing we tried seemed to help the cough, though, I knew it was time to figure out what was going on inside my lungs.


Lea la historia de Fran en español.

I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012 when I was only 39 years old. At the time, there were no tests available to determine what type of lung cancer I had. All I knew was that "it was lung cancer, nothing more."

Achieving my Dreams After Cancer Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2020. I was stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma with metastases in my lymph nodes.

My diagnosis was devastating. I was experiencing such severe physical symptoms, such as intense coughing to the point of coughing up blood, that I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to lead a normal life again. It felt like everything was coming to an end and I would never be able to achieve my dreams.

Cancer is just a word...

When I was first diagnosed with lung cancer, I wasn’t given a stage. It made me feel hopeful, like I had a mild form of cancer and I could take some medication and be okay. Someone even asked me what stage my cancer was, and I told them I didn’t have a stage. I look back at the time and wonder how I thought it was even possible.

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

I was diagnosed with Stage IV adenocarcinoma NSCLC in July 2020. As if dealing with the coronavirus pandemic were not hard enough, I found out that my slight cough, phlegm, and shortness of breath was not COVID-19, not allergies, not walking pneumonia, not lymphoma, but lung cancer. My husband, James, was not allowed to accompany me to any of my oncologist or specialist visits, the ER, any chemotherapy or immunotherapy infusion, or any of my biopsies due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the things I struggled with most may not be unique to being diagnosed during a pandemic. 

Celebrate Everything

On July 1, 2020, at the age of 33 years old, I was diagnosed with stage IV Adenocarcinoma.

I had some mild symptoms before my diagnosis, but they could all be explained away. Beginning in December 2019, I had a light cough and experienced abnormal fatigue, but I have asthma and worked out a lot and I assumed it was all related.

Balancing Motherhood and Cancer

Its a strange feeling, becoming THE mom in the I know a young mom with two kids who got lung cancer at 37 years old” type of stories. Its an urban legend, but it’s also my life.

It's difficult to be diagnosed with lung cancer as young as I was. I feel like Im in the prime of my life, yet Im facing a serious disease. I have responsibilities, like my career and my children, that people who are diagnosed later in life might not have.