Re: [MOL] Lung Cancer Survivors/ Erika [02549] Medicine On Line

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Re: [MOL] Lung Cancer Survivors/ Erika

Dear Carla: Your (loooooong) response to Erika is a masterpiece of caring and survivorship and faith and hope...I printed it to keep in my "inspirational" file.  You truly are an inspiration my friend, and it saddens me so that you're leaving the forum shortly after I join.  As I said to you last night late, my thoughts and prayers go with you. God bless you always.  Love. Cori.

Carla wrote:

 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 11/3/97... 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 dis-ease. 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 journey.. 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 him.. 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...  Praise God... 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 see... 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         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