Friends used to tease me about how much I multi-tasked, always trying to live life to the full! In May 1996 I married an amazing Australian, and we have three terrific children who are now 15, 13 and 9! Ours is a musical family: each of us plays more than one instrument. I love to sing, hike, and spend time with family and friends! I’ve always eaten well, been active, and very healthy.
In the Fall of 2013, I was unusually tired and had a constant cough that I couldn’t shake. That began a long process of appointments and tests which led to a Stage IV lung cancer diagnosis in December 2013.
I’ve never been a smoker, so I never dreamed I could have lung cancer. I was completely shocked! It felt my world had turned upside down. I knew we couldn’t manage alone.
It would take weeks to tell you all about the generosity lavishly poured out on our family! As news of my diagnosis spread,friends, neighbours, even some people we hardly knew kindly brought meals for our family. Our fridge got crowded, our freezer became full and some friends lent us their spare freezer.Even when I wasn’t able to cook, we always had healthy, home-cooked meals on our table.
This was only one of the many beautiful gifts we have received since my diagnosis. We are grateful for the people who have stood with us and supported us in so many ways! If you get a bad diagnosis like I did, please, let people help you! Ask for help!
I was diagnosed on a Thursday (back in December 2013), we told the kids over the week-end, and on Tuesday I started IV chemotherapy.
I was on IV chemo for about four months. It helped a bit but wore my body out and pretty soon the cancer started growing again. I took a new chemo pill, which is a targeted therapy for my particular kind of lung cancer. It helped for about ten months, but cancer is nasty and tricky, it keeps changing. Eventually it outsmarted those pills and I needed some other kind of treatment.
I have been part of a clinical trial for a new drug called ceritinib since May 2015, and we rejoice that since the Fall of 2015, my CT scans have shown no evidence of cancer. This was an unexpected gift! If it were not for ceritinib and this local clinical trial, my story would have been very different.
I’m so thankful for these months of better health. I’m grateful for milestones like birthdays and anniversaries, as well as the ordinary everyday kinds of moments: hugging my kids, listening to their stories, great conversations with friends, walks in the woods, making music (I can sing again!), enjoying our garden and teaching my kids to cook. The list goes on and on!
Clinical trials are helping me to have hope! I want to celebrate many more birthdays with family and friends. I’d love to see my kids grow up and even my grandchildren. Every day is a gift!
We are grateful beyond words!
If you are interested in hearing more of my ongoing story,