When Lightning Strikes Twice

2018-03-23T17:33:34+00:00September 7th, 2017|News|3 Comments

Lara (far left) and her children.

By Lara Blair, RN

11 years ago, when I was 39 years old, after having spent six months caring for my husband, Bill, who had been diagnosed with malignant thymoma, I suddenly developed a dry hacking cough. In the preceding months, I had lost some weight, but had attributed it to the stress of supporting our family through the challenges of Bill’s cancer treatment. When the X-ray showed an area of concern, it was impossible to think that lightening would “strike twice,” but indeed I did have lung cancer. A 6.5cm tumor attached to the back of my chest wall and one lymph node showing reactivity on a PET scan.  What followed next was almost a year of chemo, radiation, surgery and more chemo.

It was the hardest year of my life, but in many respects, it was also the best. Our family was surrounded and supported by many friends, family members, co-workers, our kids’ school teachers, fellow church go-ers and medical team members.  The outpouring of kindness and generosity gave our family strength that we could never have had on our own. To be on the receiving end of so much love and kindness was awe inspiring and we are forever grateful.

Soon after returning to my job working as a nurse in Labor and Delivery, the thoracic oncology team at my hospital asked me to join them in their multidisciplinary clinic as a nurse navigator for lung cancer patients. It was a great gift and an enormous privilege to be able to share what I had learned with patients going through a lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. And knowing how rare my recovery was, it gave a purpose to my survival.

It was in my role as a Nurse Navigator, planning a “Shine A Light” event* at our hospital that I first encountered Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). What an incredible organization! The support that LCA provides to patients, families, caregivers and medical teams is invaluable.

My advice to anyone experiencing a lung cancer diagnosis? Know that it is not a death sentence and that for every type of cancer at every stage there are people who LIVE! Why shouldn’t that be YOU? Be receptive to kindness and help when it is offered and reach out when you need support.

 

Shine a Light on Lung Cancer are educational events that take place in healthcare facilities across the country during November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month. They offer a platform to raise awareness, connect and educate the community on the latest lung cancer research and treatments. Click here to learn more about hosting a Shine a Light event at your local hospital or cancer center.

If you have questions about your diagnosis, treatment or anything lung cancer related, contact us at support@lungcanceralliance.org  or call 1-800-298-2436.

3 Comments

  1. Joan w September 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Your a welcome voice! Have been fight it for four years. Such an inspiration. Joan W?

    • LCA Admin September 12, 2017 at 11:23 am - Reply

      Keep up the strong fight, Joan! If you have questions about what you are going through or just need someone to talk to, please contact us at support@lungcanceralliance.org or call 1-800-298-2436. Sending positive vibes your way!

  2. CATHEY Gillespie September 7, 2017 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Your last paragraph of why cant it be you? Is exactly what I told my sister, who was diagnosed at age 54 and fought hard , beating her cancer almost four years later when she passed. So much more has happened since she was diagnosed having just turned 54. She was a lung cancer alliance phone buddy taking calls up to the last week before she entered hospice for three weeks. Thank you for your post and your strength for those who follow!

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