It’s a new year,…

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.

Here are a few stats:

Cubs games – 13

Andrew shows – 11

Hope summits – 7

Texas Trips – 8

Birthdays – 10

Jobs held – 4

Tennessee trips – 4

Cruises – 5

Flights to Boston – approx 10

Chemo treatments – 6

Radiation treatments – 30

I would have been a great mom

“Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.” —Stephanie Bennett-Henry

DISCLAIMER:

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!)

Why I hide my diagnosis from my coworkers

“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!

My transition

Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again. 

Bikram Choudhury

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.

I am thankful for the life I live.

Next scans: October 10th

My house in the trees

There is a common theme on my blog posts and that is normalcy. Well Robert and I are about to get real normal! When I was diagnosed I, um well, thought it was over and I was going to die. And with those thoughts came things about never having a new job, getting married, buying a house and babies but that one is a whole different story! All the things my friends my age were doing that I thought I would never experience. We have already crossed off getting married and next we close on our house mid August! And I’m super excited! We are in the nitty gritty part of it now. Trying to figure out where the down payment is coming from, getting the house appraised and so on and so forth. Wish us luck and hopefully we will have house warming eventually.

“But if you crash and nobody sees
Just remember there will always be
A room for you in my house in the trees, trees

July 8th scan results!

STABLE!

I had scans July 8th and seen Dr. Patel July 10th.

I go to the Orland park building for my scans and it is so much more convenient then going to Hyde park. We arrived and the receptionist tried telling me that my blood appointment is schedule in Orland but my actual scan is scheduled for Hyde park. And then proceeds to look at her watch and say “if you leave now you will make it on time” Ummmm. No. Since the Orland park location opened I have been getting scans there. She calls to the back and they “squeeze me in”.

Now I have been getting scans every three months since the beginning of the year and those scans are always accompanied by drinking the “juice”. I’m sitting in the waiting area and the lady calls out another patients name. They are in the bathroom. She looks at me and says “Diane I can take you now if you are ready?” Confused I said “ok but I haven’t had the contrast. And she tells me that it wasn’t ordered. So 10 minutes later I’m walking out!

In the appointment they tell me that Dr Patel is now seeing patients in Orland park 1-2 days a month. Win!

July 10th I see dr. She starts of the convo by saying I can get my port removed! Woohoo! Now I asked for it but it was a surprise twist to my visit since I wasn’t expecting it. We have that scheduled for Aug 1st.

We got a few things straightened out such as my zofran prescription. All in all it was a great visit! We paid a whopping $6 for parking because we were there less than an hour. Now if I could only figure out where my Xarelto prescription is getting filled I will be set!