Erika, I have been slow to resond to your
request on the mol-cancer forum and I apologize.. I am a survivor of
Stage IIb/IIIa adenocarcinoma of the lung, 1 lymph node and no distant
metastases.. I went in for a biopsy and woke up without my right lung on
So I started all of my research online after the
pneumonectomy and just like you, I found myself feeling defeated before I could
even really understand what was happening to me...
You are right.. The facts and the information
that you will find on the internet will be extremely discouraging.. There, now
we have that out in the open and we can go on to talk about the reality of this
First of all, let me tell you that cancer does
not have to be a death sentence. As you know from life and from the time
you have been on the forum, it can be... but it doesn't have to be.. So
what can you do?
Fill your heart and your head with the positive
thoughts that you are a cancering survivor... Give your heart to be lifted
up in prayer and believe that you are. As you fill with emotions over the
cancering journey, share those with others; they will share their hearts with
you. Share your heart with others when they need you, for every pound that you
give, will bring you back 10 pounds. You have no doubt learned how to
cry.. now learn how to laugh again... There are times for tears and
times for smiles... Both serve their purpose in the cancering
Those who have been on the forum for awhile are
probably tired of hearing me share the story over and over again and use the
same analogies of this journey, but I do because they are true and they are my
journey.. In fact tomorrow is my last day on the forum... If you
would have asked me a year ago if I could sign off of this site and head out to
do other things, I would have told you NO!
Yet tomorrow I do head out to do just that for
awhile.... That is because I take with me the blessings of the new me,
Carla the cancering survivor. I worked hard to find her, I prayed hard
that she would surface, but I didn't do this alone. Not only have I had
God, but I have also had the people on this forum who know exactly how it feels
to be on this journey.. They have held my hand, let me cry, listened to my
prayers, stroked my heart and inspired my journey with love, laughter, faith and
hope... I came on this forum believing in what I had found on the
internet.... and I am leaving for awhile knowing that the cancering journey
isn't always words and facts...
Diagnosis Cancer is the day that the world as you know it
stops.. The rug is pulled out from under you, the electric stops...
The only thing you know to do from there is to follow all directions from the
doctors and quickly.... because 1) you don't want it to be true, and 2)
you want it cured.. now!
I believe that once we get our wind back from the initial
diagnosis, we get an unbelieveable strength to take us the next leg of our
journey... For me and many others, that next leg was the leg of tests,
tests, appointments, tests, appointments..
When I blinked, I was walking out of a surgeons office and he
had scheduled me for surgery in two weeks.. Can you believe it.. I was mad
that it was taking so long??!!
I truly hit the pits then... I was sitting at home
talking to myself and one by one telling my family and friends, when my best
friend Linda said, "Carla, I can't believe you are going to have surgery,
without a second opinion". I said I was happy with the surgeon and
the diagnosis is as it is and nothing can change that...
The next day I kept hearing over and over again Linda's
voice.. saying "second opinion".. So I started calling around
and got recommendations to see another surgeon and set the appointment.. A
couple of days before I was to go and see him, my primary care doctor called and
gave me the name of another surgeon.. I also made an appointment to see
I can tell you that I was so glad that I did... I chose
surgeon number three...but it was God who brought him to me... He
completely changed the type of surgery that I was going to have and it was so
much better for me... So here was my first example of not accepting what
appears to be a fact..
The second example was when the first oncologist gave me the
odds of survival in a very matter of fact delievery... 30-40% chance of
living 5 years.. What!! You must be crazy!! I am too young!!! I
don't want to die!!! Tell me you are wrong!!! Tell me that you are
lying!!! I was a mere shell of myself when I left her office... I
was shocked into utter silence and slow rolling large tears...
The research that I did on the internet backed up those
facts... I saw two more oncologists and they too supported those
facts.. By then I had been doing some posting here and much
reading... I received the help of others and the benefit of their research
and experience.. In particular there was Torie and Barbara that were all
lung cancering themselves.. There was also Diana, who was researching for her
brother who was NSCLC too.. I wrote alot to them and we all shared and
exchanged our individual research.. Then there was Marty, who is a
caregiver of his wife Barb... Ron, who had leukemia.. John Lehner a
cancering survivor and Lil too..
For me these were the core...
Of the original lung cancer survivors... Diana's brother
has passed away.. He didn't die from the cancer and was doing well with
his treatment... Torie doesn't post on the forum and I always wonder how
she is, but the last post she did send she was doing well. Barbara, had to
sign off the forum as it was hard for her to keep up with, she has since
metastasized to the brain, which they were able to zap all three tumors and she
has now metastasized to the lung and she is preparing a completely new kind of
treatment... Please keep her in your prayers... I just know that she can
make it.. :-)
Ron, who was so wonderful and gifted.. has also passed
away... The rest of us are doing well and going from check up to check
up... For me, I just got the all clear from my 15 month checkup...
So what have we done.. First of all, we all had faith and we
all went looking for the inspiration of other survivors... Just as you are
doing... There is a very good book for you to start with and that is by Greg
Anderson "Fifty Essential Things To Do When The Diagnosis is
Cancer".. Greg is a two time lung cancer survivor... :-)
He also has some other wonderful books out.. There are just tons of
wonderful books that will inspire you to think on this experience
differently... There are also lots of wonderful people that given a chance
will help you to live this experience differently..
You know Erika, we can only hold one thought in our mind... so
you have to make the choice whether it will be positive or negative...
Please know that what we hold in our heads can most definitely affect what
happens in our bodies.. So positive is the only choice that I
Does that mean that you will not have bad
days...?? NO WAY!! That is why I have described this journey
as a roller coaster ride... You will experience every emotion imaginable
while you are on this venture.. It isn't that you will experience every
emotion from A to Z, but what you will do to make this the most positive force
that you can...
Those of us that have dis-eases to live with actually have
received a blessing. Many people will get in their cars tonight and not
make it home. They were not given a chance to think and review their
lives, nor will they have any time to make any changes to how they live that
life and what they prioritize, what they give and what they open their hearts to
receive.. Their lives will just stop... So if they left home after
an argument.. that is the last word... We, on the other hand are given an
opportunity to make changes to our lives... to reach in deeper and discover our
spirit and to hold our hands out further to share it...
Erika, there are many that are here to share with you and many
that will come on board to share with too... If you are not signed up for
the mol-cancer forum, please do... You can just listen for awhile or jump
right in... :-)
Please feel free to contact me directly and I will be happy to
communicate with you. My name is Carla and my email is email@example.com
I hope that I have been able to let you know that you are not alone and you do
indeed have options... The first choice you need to make is the choice to
be a survivor and not a victim...
Also remember that the percentages/statistics are based on 100
people.. So if the odds are like mine... that doesn't mean
that I have a 30 to 40% chance of dying in five years.. It means that 30
to 40 people of every 100 diagnosed with this will still be living in five
years... Now I don't know about you, but that makes me feel much better..
:-) I must also tell you though, that I as I told my oncologist....
If I only have a 1% chance, then with God's help and my belief.. I will be the
one who will live...
Find positive people and thoughts Erika... You are what
you believe you are.. Take this chance to discover everything that you can
about you and others... It will be such a blessing to you... You will find that
you reach out to others like you never had before... Hug someone
everyday... start with yourself... Believe in God for a miracle and don't
give up your faith...
I look forward to hearing from you soon my new friend...
May God Bless you, fill you with his strength, courage and comfort your
heart. With an understanding heart and a hug.. Carla