I practiced dental hygiene for 35 years until arthritis in my hands made me retire. I had many patients over the years who had cancer and other diseases. It was my honor to help them with their oral health. It was also my good fortune to learn from them about how they dealt with their situations. They were inspiration for me as I made the transition from care giver to patient.
In 2013 after a hysterectomy I learned that an unexpected tiny ovarian cancer had been removed. No further treatment needed and not expected to recur. How did I get so lucky?
In August of 2016 I had an abdominal CT to check on another issue and luckily the image was just high enough that a nodule in my lung was seen. Fast forward through the worst 7 months of my life which included 3 trips to the operating room in 2.5 weeks for biopsies and port placement. Then 6 weeks of radiation and chemo at the same time before surgery in Jan of 2017. Lucky again that the radiation and chemo had worked and the tissue was dead. I didn’t feel as lucky when we were told I needed 6 more chemo treatments to insure everything was gone. I felt like every time I got over something they would knock me down again! But it was the last thing and gave me the best chance of no recurrence.
In Apr of 2017 I was finally finished with treatment and began trying to get back to feeling good again which took about a year. Last month I was proud to be able to attend the Lung Cancer Alliance National Advocacy Summit in Washington DC. I shared my story with staffers from several of our SC legislators and encouraged them to support bills that increase funding for research and screening.
Lucky for me to be retired and able to take things at my own pace. I have empathy and respect for those who have cancer and jobs, kids, and/or school to handle as well. Family and friends were fantastic. We had lots of good food. My husband took me to most of the appointments and treatments except for a few when our friends wisely insisted he go play golf and take a break. We celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary at chemo.
Lucky also for me to be treated at GHS and be able to take part in the physical rehab, nutrition, and support groups offered at CIOS. Thank you to C3 for your support.
I’m honored to be a Warrior this year. You’ve all helped me to live by my motto- “So far I’ve survived 100% of my worst days and that’s pretty good.”