I'm a Mother, Wife, and Lung Cancer Survivor

by Sharon McBride

Our Guest Blog Post today is from "CheryNCP" She is a Mother, Grandmother, Wife, career woman, and a lung cancer survivor, as well as an active member of WhatNext. This is her story.

Sam

My name is Sharon McBride but all my friends call me Sam. I am a 66-year-old wife, mother, and grandmother. I live in Mobile, Alabama with my husband Bob and our two cats Grayson and Shadow. I worked in the medical field nearly my entire working life in one capacity or another. I was working part-time as an assistant to a Chiropractor when I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 2015. I have since retired but I still fill in from time to time as needed. My husband, who is semi-retired, and I love to travel, we enjoy doing volunteer work in our community and in our church, we also enjoy attending baseball games at one of the local colleges.

Who Am I Now?

In 2015 life was going along very well for me. After being in a bad marriage for many years I had gotten divorced in 2005. I finally found the peace that I had long been searching for. I got to know myself and figured out what I wanted out of life and what I didn't. In 2007 I met a kind, caring gentleman at my church and in 2010 I did what I said I would never do again. I remarried. I was truly happy and grateful for a second chance at love. Life was beautiful! 

Sam8

Then in 2015 things took a downward turn when after battling what I thought was an upper respiratory infection which I had dealt with every winter for as long as I could remember, I was soon to learn I did not have an upper respiratory infection at all. After many trips to my general practitioner over several months with no relief from a persistent cough, hoarseness, pain between my shoulder blades and the debilitating shortness of breath I knew there was something more serious going on than asthma/bronchitis that the GP kept treating me for with no improvement. 

After barely being able to walk across a room without being completely out of breath I finally decided to see a pulmonologist and that is when I got the shock of my life. I had stage 4 inoperable lung cancer. How could that be? I wasn't a smoker. The only thing I had ever heard about lung cancer was that you had to smoke to get it and when you got it you didn't survive more than 6 months, so I immediately started getting my affairs in order . I had a will drawn up as well as a power of attorney and a living will (advanced directive) then I decided I would let those most important to me know my diagnosis and I would prepare myself for the rough road ahead. I thought I would just get sicker and sicker and would eventually die.


The first visit I had with the oncologist he asked me what I knew about chemotherapy and I replied I knew it was really bad stuff. It made people very sick and caused them to lose their hair. I had never heard of immunotherapies or targeted therapies. I didn't know anything about gene mutations but I was about to learn.

Sam10

My biopsy showed that I had a specific gene mutation called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase ) and that there were drugs that were very effective at stopping cancer from growing and spreading with few side effects. It came in pill form that I would take at home twice a day. WOW, that was awesome news as I had thought I would be spending several days a week at the hospital with IVs hooked up to me.

Life Today

It has now been 3 years since my diagnosis and because of the research and development of cancer and these miracle drugs, I am alive and well. My husband and I have traveled all over this country and out of the country too. I have gotten to see my grandchildren grow and spend cherished time with my children and friends. My church family has never ceased praying for me and for that, I am so very grateful. I have learned that the only thing you need to get lung cancer, are lungs, something I didn't know before, due to the stigma of smoking that has always been attached to it. 

Sam5

I have become an advocate for Lungevity and for Pfizer,  the company that manufacturers Xalkori (crizotinib), and Genentech, who manufactures Alecensa (alectinib). They supply these to me at no cost through their patient assistance program the drugs that are keeping me alive and with a great quality of life. I am grateful for every day God gives me and I pray that I can be of help to those who have also been diagnosed with cancer through my life and my words.

Related Articles You May Like

12 Hard Truths About Having Cancer 

 5 Truths About Cancer that are Easy to Forget

Cancer Facts We Learned From Survivors, Not the Doctor

 

Blog Home