By Tejal Patel
You never want to believe it when someone tells you bad news, do you? It’s human nature.
When I received my lung cancer diagnosis, I was no different.
However, I had to accept the news when my younger brother, a critical care and pulmonology physician, uttered the words, “You have stage 4 lung cancer.”
When you first receive a lung cancer diagnosis it can feel so isolating. All of a sudden, you’re in this new reality where nothing makes any sense. Thoughts were whirling around my head… “Why me, and what did I do?”
There’s still so much stigma around cancer, especially lung cancer, right? You get a lot of people who think you must have done something “wrong.” But the truth is, even though I’m a vegetarian, I don’t drink, I have never smoked, and I’m physically fit, I have lung cancer.
My life was derailed. My family and I had so many plans… I was finishing a Master’s degree, had just started a new job, and my husband and I were looking forward to a fun summer with our twin boys.
I knew I had to fight this so I could watch my boys grow up. That’s when I became determined to breathe easy and fight hard – it became the mantra for my fight and for my efforts to raise money for Lung Cancer Research Foundation at the Free to Breathe Walk this past October.
You see, I want my diagnosis to help break the stigma associated with lung cancer. And as a South Asian woman, I want to raise awareness of this disease for women like myself.
When you first receive a lung cancer diagnosis it can feel so isolating. All of a sudden, you’re in this new reality where nothing makes any sense. It’s a very vulnerable time, like you’re open and raw almost. Once you accept this new reality and decide to fight it can still feel really lonely.
I am so grateful that I found Lung Cancer Research Foundation. Not only are they funding life-changing lung cancer research – like new screening methods that help diagnose the disease much earlier – but they also offer so much support and care.
The kindness and generosity shown by LCRF donors makes such a difference. Without their financial support, the research that makes new discoveries and treatments possible would come to a halt. It touches my heart more than I can possibly say that so many people I have never met – and may never meet – are committed to extending survival and improving quality of life for people like me with lung cancer.
So many advances have been made in lung cancer research in the past decade. But we need more support for this disease. We need more research. And research requires funding.
For treatment, for hope, and for futures.