Lung Cancer Videos - Dianem

Lung Cancer Survivor DianeM

Watch as DianeM takes us through her journey with non-small cell cancer.

Diane talks about her life before cancer and how the diagnosis changed her whole life and direction. She describes how she had no idea that she could have such a serious illness like lung cancer, and the symptoms that finally led her to seek help.

Video Transcription Part I

hi my name is Diane I'm 68 years old, I live in New York I'm the mom of two and the grandma of one. I'm making this little video because I feel like I'd like to pay it forward.

I've been given a gift and I feel like I need to share it with other people. In January 2013 I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer that had spread to my abdomen. My pancreas, my parotid gland, and my ribs. My family physician told me that I should probably get my affairs in order and I was subsequently told that I had probably between 2 and 6 months to live.

I began treatment down at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and for six months. I was on three different courses of chemotherapy, none of which worked. I lost my hair, my weight dropped down to about 80 pounds, I was on a maximum dose of pain medication both fentanyl and Oxycodone, and I virtually couldn't get out of my chair other than to go into the city for my medical appointments.

It wasn't an easy time and I was pretty much giving up hope if you will, as a last resort they offered me a clinical trial in immunotherapy and I started that in July of 2013, and here we are in February 2015 a year and a half later and I'm still here.

The immunotherapy worked, as you can see, my hair grow back, my weight is back, my energy is back, I'm off all my pain medications, and pretty much back to where I was.

I feel like this is a gift that I've been given due in part to the fine work of the doctors and medication, but also because God does make miracles happen, and I think that I'm one.

So I hope you'll take some hope from this and live every day to its fullest enjoy all the time you have, I know the miracles too because I am one, keep strong and God bless

Video Transcription Part II

So I previously posted part 1 of my story, and I guess you could say this is part 2

Part 1 went up to 2015, and things were looking very nice, here I'm continuing with part 2.

So after my successful bout with immunotherapy in mid-2015, it stopped working the and the cancer in my lungs started to grow. Since I had been part of a clinical trial they decide whether you are able to continue or not, and unfortunately, they decided I wasn't able to continue so they took me off the clinical trial. To say I was devastated is minimizing how I felt. My miracle had been taken away from me and I didn't know where to turn.

My oncologist thought that since my other tumors had not grown that it was possible that we could do lung surgery. I saw a lung surgeon and she was able to successfully remove two lobes from my right lung and I was in the hospital for about maybe three or four days and then my recovery was about six months before I could actually say I was back to where I had been before the surgery. There were some ups and downs, with this one and after that six months before they decided if they could try once again to put me on the immunotherapy.

This time we did not use a clinical trial we just used the drug, and so since that time I've been on it and going every two weeks, then every three weeks, now it's once a month and it seems to be working.

There are some side effects that are a little bit troublesome. I have very severe neuropathy in my hands, and so my hands are virtually useless. I have a good deal of discomfort and again as I said I can't do anything but, my doctors are trying to tweak my medication to see if it'll help. I also go for hand therapy and so we're addressing the issue as best we can.

Two things have carried me through the past five years, one of them is a mantra I believe, life is what happens to you when you're making other plans, and when you have cancer that's definitely true. And the second is one day at a time, and that's how I think you have to approach the situation because looking too far in the future is not a helpful thing to do. So I'm cautiously optimistic because right now I'm doing all right and we'll see where that goes.

Some things that I should maybe mention to you is I have been very fortunate. I have unconditional support from the family and from friends, from my doctors, from former colleagues at work, and it's amazing to me what a wonderful place this world is because people have stepped up to the plate. People have just been in touch with me and told me that they're thinking of me or praying for me and it's so rewarding because it makes you feel like this world is a truly compassionate and beautiful place.

The other thing is that I truly believe in the value of support groups. I belong to What'sNext, I can't imagine that there is a better support for patients. I've learned from others and feelings can run the gamut, they can be kind of like gloom and doom or kind of clinical. WhatNext has a good balance of realistic about our conditions, recognizing that sometimes it sucks and compassionate on the part of other members who offer suggestions who offer support, and also who are cheerleaders when things are going well, and that's something that's somewhat rare I think.

That's the end of my story right now because I'm up to the present time and so I hope that I've helped you in some way, and remember to keep strong. God bless, and thank you for listening.

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