I am a Stage IB Mucinous Adenocarcinoma Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Survivor. The tumor on my left lung was an incidental finding while being treated in the Emergency Room as a result of being a passenger in a motor vehicle accident. I received a diagnosis and a lower left lobe lobectomy on my left lung in July of 2016. I have been extremely fortunate to remain “No Evidence of Disease” (NED) since the day of my surgery. I had been asymptomatic as this tends to be a common trend for the disease in the earlier stages and who knows when I would have otherwise received the life altering diagnosis of Lung Cancer. I was living a pretty healthy, active and otherwise normal life up until that point, and because I had never smoked, I never considered Lung Cancer as a disease I would personally encounter in my lifetime.
It is precisely because of the stigma associated with the disease and diagnosis itself, a stigma I was guilty of believing myself, that I have made it my life’s mission to raise awareness for Lung Cancer. I want to end the stigma associated with it and increase research funding so that a Lung Cancer diagnosis can be treated as a chronic illness and not as a death sentence. No one on this planet deserves a Lung Cancer diagnosis. But if by chance you or a loved one happens to receive a Lung Cancer diagnosis simply due to the fact that you or they are living and breathing and have lungs; wouldn’t it be great if there were significant medical advances in research and medicines available that could and would allow everyone to live a semi-normal life? I envision a future where everyone can return to living a semi-normal life by being able to continue doing and participating in all the things and activities they enjoyed prior to a Lung Cancer diagnosis. You and I, we can all make a difference, together we can change the future of Lung Cancer. All you have to do is Breathe and Believe! Let’s do it!