->Survivor stories

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.

La Esperanza

Read Fran's story in English

Me diagnosticaron cáncer de pulmón en estadio IV en 2012 cuando solo tenía 39 años.  En ese momento, no había pruebas disponibles para determinar qué tipo de cáncer de pulmón tenía.  Todo lo que sabía era que "era cáncer de pulmón, nada más".

Hope

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."

The Power of Positivity

There are two mantras I repeat to myself and others: “Don’t count the days, make the days count,” coined by Mohammad Ali, and “Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees; it brought me to my feet,” said by Michael Douglas. Another mantra I like is one of my own creation: “My mind and soul can heal my body.”

What I like about these quotes is their positivity. I’ve always believed a positive attitude could help fight my lung cancer.

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.

The Next Big Thing

It all started innocently enough with a swollen lymph node above my collar bone. As a family nurse practitioner, I knew this was a bit unusual. When it persisted for a week or so, I thought it time to have it checked out.

A last minute decision by the provider I saw to do a chest x-ray most likely was the first, but certainly not the last time in this journey that my life was saved. That lymph node turned out to be stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.

Find Your Tribe

I used to think support groups were for weak people. Then, I found LUNGevity and Lung Cancer Support Community – boy, did that change my mind.

I discovered LUNGevity’s message board, Lung Cancer Support Community (LCSC), right after they found a rapidly growing nodule in my right lung. At the time, I had just retired early to be a full-time caregiver for my wife, who was in advanced stages of dementia, and I already felt mentally strained.