Thursday, February 23, 2017

1095 DAYS, 156 WEEKS, 3 YEARS

Happy Cancerversary to ME!! February 23, 2014, I was admitted to the hospital with what they thought were 4 tumors in my lungs.  If you've followed my blog since the beginning, you know it has been a roller coaster ride.

6 weeks of IV antibiotics with a PICC line, surgery to remove all of left lung (2 lobes) and numerous lymph nodes, chemotherapy for 2 years, radiation therapy for 7 weeks (everyday minus weekends), metastasis to right lung, immunotherapy which has been working for 14 months.  All my new normal life.  

Prior to my diagnosis, I worked full time.  February 23, 2014 was my last day at work.  Since that time I have been on disability retirement and had to come to terms that I will never work again.

Prior to my diagnosis, I never faced my mortality head on.  Since then, that is all I do.  I say that and I know it sounds dreary but I really don't mean it that way.  Once a diagnosis of cancer is received, one tends to go through the same stages of grief from the loss of a loved one:  denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.  The denial and isolation is what led me to begin this blog in the first place.  It gave me an outlet to express my feelings and informing family and friends about my condition without having to relive it over and over.

I mean, who goes to the doctor with an on-going fever and comes out with a Lung Cancer diagnosis - this girl here.  

It took me a long time to reach acceptance.  That was the hardest of this journey.  But I now know, everyone will die sometime.  I just so happen to be one of those who knows "it's coming."  So in the meantime, I enjoy every moment I have with family and friends.  I try to educate everyone I meet YOU can get lung cancer.  It is the #1 killer in the U.S.  Yes, I know you thought it was breast cancer but truth be told, lung cancer kills more people than breast and colon cancer combined.  The problem is people who never smoked get it.  People who smoke (or quit) get it.  It effects everyone.  

So my days are spent enjoying what I have.  Not complaining about what I don't have.  Enjoying my children.  Enjoying my grandchild.  And my advocacy work.

It hasn't been a fun-filled 3 years but it has been more educational that my prior 54 years.  Once you accept you have cancer, you can begin to dwell on the goodness of everyone and everything.  You stop taking things for granted - and you love with a vengeance.

Here's to ALOT MORE YEARS!!!  My spring and summer are going to be fantastic.  2017 HOPE Summit in D.C, Free To Breathe conference in Minnesota, 2017 Family Lovefest in Richmond....and so many more memories.

My daughter Caitlyn - hair growing back.

Spectacular Lung Cancer Conference - Free To Breathe

5k run and 1k walk to raise money for Lungevity

2016 Lungevity HOPE Summit attendees group photo

Hair be gone!

My WONDERFUL 7 children

A picture from a nationwide slideshow

The air I breathe - my grandson Cameron taking me to my birthday dinner


  1. Happy Cancerversay, Jennifer! What an arduous journey you've had. Your words about acceptance are deep and very meaningful to me. I'm looking forward to seeing you again at Hope Summit.

  2. Happy Cancerversary! We will see you at the Hope Summit!