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Jennifer’s Story (Lung Cancer)

Jennifers Story Lung CancerI call my experience “My Unexpected Journey.” My writings of love, family and a cancer diagnosis. Sharing My Journey of Lung Cancer, Surgery and Chemotherapy. The good days and the bad. Taking a step back and looking at the big picture with the love of family and friends.

In January 2014, I developed a fever which, I am ashamed to say, lasted over a month before I went to the doctor. Taking Tylenol during the day, I felt great, so it was only at night when I would wake up with a 102 fever, only to take Tylenol again and feel great. A month later, I realized I had gone through an entire bottle of 120 pills. Time to go to the doctor’s office.

And here my journey began. An initial x-ray and CAT scan showed lung cancer. They admitted me for further testing and I got GREAT NEWS: no lung cancer, just 4 spots that were were all a lung abscess. Eight weeks of antibiotic therapy via a PICC Line. Life was great again.

Or so I thought. When they re-did the tests to see if all the spots were gone, the results were in. Two spots were gone, one was 1/2 the original size, one was larger and a hilar lymph node was enlarged. Off to the surgeon for more tests.

On Good Friday, April 16, 2014, the official diagnosis was in. I had a tumor in my lower left lobe, another tumor in my upper left lobe, and it had spread to the hilar lypmh node and was located 2mm away from my pulmonary artery. The three tumors were removed, and surgery was horrible. I ended up with my chest in for over one month. Therapy began shortly thereafter because due to many free-floating cells within my thoracic cavity, I endured 3 months of chemotherapy.

At this point, I am awaiting the decision of the University Hospital Seidman Center’s Tumor Board to decide if I should continue with chemotherapy or begin a regimen of maintenance therapy. My life has changed dramatically since 2014 began. I was a full time marketing assistant and freelance writer, and now I am on Social Security Disability.

After losing 90% of my left lung from the surgery, life will never be the same. BUT, that has not stopped me. I still enjoy working from my computer. I enjoy the love and support from my 7 grown children (18 to 30 years old) and the heart-melting love from my grandson. It is from them that I gain my strength each day, and they motivate me to fight this awful disease with every breath left in my body.

As I recently read, “If I only had one breath left, it would be to tell my children I love them,” and I will save every breath I have for that – and to fight this!!

I have learned so much during this experience: don’t take tomorrow for granted, don’t let anyone tell you something you don’t believe and lean on the love and support of your family.

To me, Fight Like A Girl means I need to remain strong, positive, decisive and most of all, lean on those around me when I begin to lose those feelings. As a group, we can support each other and continue to Fight To The End.

Submitted 09/13/2014

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. Laura

    Wow Jennifer what a story!! I hear you about going from a successful life style to having to stay home on disability. Did you have problems with the SSI over your qualifications? They will nick pick anything they can to get you off and if that happens it’s pulling ones eye teeth finding a lawyer to get it back for you. I know. Been there done it. 🙁 Now,I am curious about something. When they removed almost all of your left lung if they filled in the empty cavity with ping pong balls or just leave it so the remaining part of your lung would fill in? That used to be standard protocol but they found people get along just fine without the ‘packing’. Also I don’t believe recalling if you said you used to smoke or not. Just curious. 🙂 Enjoyed reading your story here and thank you for sharing it. Laura

    • Denise Kick

      Laura – those of us who are living with lung cancer, despise the stigma that we endure because of the lack of awareness on the #1 cancer killer. Lung cancer is NOT about smoking. Please research lung cancer & you will find that if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer!! There are many people that have this poison who NEVER smoked. Or are former smokers that quit YEARS ago. Honestly, it’s quite tacky & politically incorrect to ask a lung cancer patient if they smoked. It’s about LUNGS not about smoking!
      It would be great if people who mean well & ask us many questions, which makes us feel supported , to learn the facts. & especially realize how inconsiderate it is to ask if we smoked or not. It’s about lungs. If you have them, you are at risk of getting lung cancer. Period.

  2. Denise Kick

    I agree – what a great inspiring story! From a stage 4 survivor of LC to another…keep up the good fight!

  3. Jennifer Toth

    Laura, they didn’t put anything in. They told me the body will just naturally fill in that area. One nurse even told me that for up to a year, I may have minor aches and pains while things move around. I do still have sensitivity slight pain from the surgery.

    Thank you all for your kind words

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