Monday, June 14, 2010

Survivor Stories

Over the weekend, I met a guy who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1995. That makes four people I know who, so far, have survived it.
I know quite a few people who lost their battle with this most deadly of cancers. My life has been touched by lung cancer, so it makes me particularly happy to hear survivor stories. Here’s a little about the four survivors I know.
Gary. A very young cancer victim, Gary had been free of cancer for some time before we talked, so I don’t know many of his treatment details. He battled it for quite a while and had part of a lung removed. He still felt as though his illness wasn’t being treated as aggressively as he wanted by traditional medical professionals. He heard some stories, asked some questions and made some connections. Gary bought a concoction from a lady who sold it out of an alley in Chicago. He followed her directions and has been cancer-free ever since. He attributes it to the back-alley potion.
Pat. This woman is one of the toughest people I know and her cancer story fits her life. She was diagnosed with Stage IV (has metastasized the furthest from the lung), small cell (fastest growing) lung cancer. She took traditional treatment, which is no walk in the park. Because small cell nearly always metastasizes to the brain, Pat’s brain was radiated as a precaution. The treatment worked and Pat, nearly 10 years later, is living normally.
Jean. This lady was a friend of my husband’s from years ago. They lost touch, but I met her at his funeral. Her cancer required her to have a lung removed about 15 years ago. She took chemo and radiation as part of her initial treatment. She has a lot of follow up treatment; fluid build-up has to be regularly removed from around her remaining lung and she is still on a regular chemotherapy regimen. Her oxygen level is very low, which makes it difficult to breathe, greatly reducing her ability to do anything. She told me that her life was miserable. Pointing to Butch in his casket, she said, “He got the easy way out.”
Jim. This is the gentleman I just met. His cancer, apparently, has been in remission since he was diagnosed 15 years ago. He’s never had a treatment. Since diagnosis, he has weathered two divorces and his brother’s suicide; he has also retired. Jim still smokes and still welds. He says he feels fine and quit going to the doctor 5 years ago.

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