By Rhonda Martin
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2018. Specifically, non-small cell adenocarcinoma, Stage 4, with metastasis to my brain, spine, bone (hip), and lymph nodes.
After my diagnosis, I had whole brain radiation. Then I had one round of immunotherapy while awaiting biopsy results which confirmed EGFR positive mutation. At that point, I was switched to this little magic pill called osimertinib (Tagrisso) that I take daily. In early 2020, I needed another round of radiation; this time to my midhilar lymph node. In July 2021, I doubled my Tagrisso daily dose due to metastasis of active cancer cells in my cerebral spinal fluid – a condition called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis.
My challenges, until very recently, have been very minimal. I responded well to treatment and have not altered anything in my life. I continued to “live my life” by doing all things I love: long walks, hiking, kayaking, baking, and travel.
My husband has been my greatest support from day one. He has attended every single appointment and has taken on house duties when I couldn’t. He constantly ensures my comfort, and his love and encouragement has been unwavering. He simply is my rock and I could not imagine this journey without him.
Besides my husband, my biggest assets on this lung cancer journey have been my faith, my positive attitude, my determination to live, and my incredible family and friends.
My birthday is November 11, so I started a birthday fundraiser for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation through Facebook. November is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month, so when I saw LCRF’s Lunges for Lung Cancer Challenge I decided to be part of that effort as well. I’m proud to have raised over $1,250 for research!
If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, I know from experience how frightened you must be. Your diagnosis isn’t necessarily a death sentence as it was just 15 years ago. Medicine has significantly advanced, and people are living much longer and with fewer complications than ever. Most importantly, stay positive and live your life; don’t let cancer define you.