As you are fully aware, we are in the midst of a full-on pandemic. In this age of information at our fingertips, there has been so much good information but also a lot of bad information going around. While I will not try to decipher which is which in this post I want to encourage you to use common sense.
There is a post going around and I have seen 2 of my 600 Facebook friends share. The basis is that they do not know anyone personally with coronavirus so mainstream media is blowing this out of proportion. This is not a joke and to someone who has compromised lungs, I need all hands on deck. Washed, of course!
If you have ever read any of my other posts or know me personally then you know that I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer at 30 years old. I am by the grace of God 36 years old and going on my 6th cancerversary in April 2020.
I consider myself an extroverted introvert. I quietly like to be around people. Since moving into my house in October of 2019 I have not stayed indoors a full day once. I am always out and about whether that is to the grocery store or just to work, I love being around people. This is where my life is going to change. I have stocked up on 30 days of supplies and will start working from home on Monday, March 16th, 2020.
To stop the spread of this rapidly moving virus I plead with you to take these precautions as well. For some of us, it is life or death. I have battled pneumonia once and I do not want to take on that beast again.
For those of you who cannot work from home (ie my husband), please use extreme caution when around others. Keep at least a 6-foot distance and stay away from those who are sick. And for the love of God PLEASE wash your hands! If you find that you are the one that is sick please stay home.
In closing, I have not lived with lung cancer for almost 6 years to be taken out by a virus.
As I am sitting here I am listening to a podcast that is very uplifting and just gets me all sorts of pumped. It ranges from topic to topic but it focuses mainly on how to market yourself and get your name out. How to make money online to live the life you wish, when and where YOU want to.
So it got me thinking, I know we call ourselves “lung cancer advocates” but what if we also called ourselves “lung cancer influencers”?
What exactly is an “influencer”?
Now this is just me thinking out loud so to speak so I haven’t done the leg work and researched this. And by no means am I “up with the times”. I feel this can get our faces out there and tell people this is a BIG deal. I mean for most of us this is life or death.
I say it all the time. I wish I could have met someone like me when I was diagnosed and I TRY so hard to be that person to those newly diagnosed.
I hear by announce that I will be called a “lung cancer influencer”!
The last ten years have been quite the interesting ones for me. My social media footprint was just starting out and I really didn’t use it like I do now until about 2012. In that same year I met robert ❤️
In 2013 I started a new job at Court Street Ford and met some pretty amazing people.
In 2014 I was diagnosed with stage iiib (now iv) Lung cancer. Nothing else happened that year except, you know, me trying to stay alive.
In 2015 Denise and I vowed to travel as much as we could. We went to Ensenada on a cruise. This was of course around all the trips to Boston for the clinical trial I was in. The highlight of the year though was the birth of Wyatt.
In 2016 we continued traveling and Denise and I went to the Bahamas. Robert took me on a trip to see the cubs play in Cincinnati. We took a day trip (super fun!) to Texas and hung out with kathy and the kids. And of course the highlight of the year was that I went from Ms. to Mrs.
In 2017 we went on two cruises! A family cruise to the Bahamas and Denise and I went on warped rewind. I travelled solo to Washington DC and joined a group of lung cancer advocates and we “stormed the hill”.
In 2018 I did some more solo traveling by going to cancer con in Denver. Robert and I went to our first bulls game and I again traveled solo to California and met up with a few lung cancer ladies and we went to the stand up 2 cancer telecast. Highlight of the year was Weston was born. Lowlight of the year was that I lost my best bud, Deejay. We decided to bring Ruru into our family.
In 2019 we continued our cruising and seen Andrew McMahon in the wilderness on the rock boat. I got a new puppy and named him Rizzo. I was gifted tickets from Chris Draft to see the bears play in the playoffs and ultimately blow there chance at the super bowl. Also in 2019 Robert and I made a big life change and bought a house. And I started a new job about 2 minutes away from said house.
These last few years have had many ups and a few downs. But I don’t want to focus on the bad.
“Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.” —Stephanie Bennett-Henry
I write this blog to give perspective of what cancer can take away not for the sympathy.
I ‘m going to start this blog off with saying that I never dreamed of having kids. I always felt that if it was meant to be it would happen.
On one of our very first dates, Robert mentioned that he would someday like to have kids and that has stuck with me ever since.
I would have been a great mom. And Robert would have been an amazing dad. But it is just not part of our future.
When I was told I had lung cancer I was referred to a fertility specialist. We discussed freezing some eggs or going straight into chemo. I chose starting chemo ASAP. And I do not regret my decision! I was told that chemo would age my reproductive parts by about 8 years so I will be looking at an early menopause. After almost 6 years pst diagnosis I have found that being referred to a fertility specialist is not always protocol and I am very lucky to have a forward thinking oncologist on my team. Many are told after it is too late that they will never be able to bear children. I consider myself lucky 🍀
I decided to write this blog because I have recently grieved the idea of ever becoming a mom. Since my treatment is going so well I thought, “well maybe” and then quickly decided that would be a bad idea.
I thought about becoming a foster mom and also quickly decided that that is probably not the best decision for us either.
So for now I will go with the idea that I get to be a “mom” in different ways. I get to be an auntie to my niece(s) and nephews. I get to be a dog mom (cuz really my yorkie puppy just doesn’t eat and that makes me feel like a mom!)
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford
I hide my lung cancer diagnosis from my coworkers and it’s not because of the reason you think.
When it comes to lung cancer it is very common to leave out the word LUNG. “Oh I have stage IV cancer” is heard often.
There is a stigma behind having lung cancer and most of the time the first question people ask when they find out is “did you smoke?” Or “I didn’t know you smoked!” Or “how long did you smoke?” The stigma that it is a smokers disease and that if you have lung cancer then you must have done something to get it HURTS each and every one of us. It is an underfunded, under researched, brutal disease.
I scream my diagnosis from the rooftops in my personal life. I blog (albeit not a lot), Facebook, twitter and instagram information about my life living with lung cancer on the daily.
I was diagnosed at a younger age than most. The average age for someone diagnosed with lung cancer is 65.
But yet no one at work knows (ok so HR and the receptionist that thought I had breast cancer, they know). The reason for this is because it is a nice feeling to be treated as if I’m a normal 30something year old with a full time job. Not a 30something year old who can barely walk and cant open her own bottle of water.
I dread the day that I will have this conversation with my bosses or anyone that works with me. But until then I will fake my way and pose as a healthy 30something year old with a full time job!
Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.
This week was my third week at my full time office job. I think it is going very well! Transitioning from a part time worker to one that is full time was not as difficult as I had imagined.
It is not lost on me that many people in my situation never get to experience what I am. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014 and the months/years after my body was dragged through the wringer. It was poked and prodded, cut open and scoped. I had a port placed and thankfully removed just recently. A lot of my peers never get their mobility/ independence back. I am fully back to life as it was before lung cancer. And I have a new perspective on life, as cliche as that sounds.