In early 2018, at just 32-years old and 33-weeks pregnant, my life felt nearly perfect. With a delivery date in sight, a loving husband, a healthy and happy 3-year old daughter, family and friends close by, and a job I enjoyed, I had so much to be grateful for.
Before I knew it, my nearly perfect came to a screeching halt. I had trouble breathing following a long distance flight and was immediately sent to the ER. A CT scan revealed a mass in my lung.
As a young, active person, I was the picture of health, or so I thought. To be diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at this time felt not only cruel and unfair but also unimaginable. Although we were stopped in our tracks, Brian and I knew our first focus was to bring a healthy baby into the world, and then the fight to conquer cancer would begin.
Luckily, Dr. Ross Camidge, one of the world’s most renowned lung cancer oncologists, is the director of Thoracic Oncology and the Lung Cancer Colorado Research Fund at the University of Colorado Hospital. Dr. Camidge was named a “luminary in the quest to eradicate lung cancer,” as he and his staff combine expert patient treatment with cutting edge research. Tremendous diagnostic and treatment discoveries at CU and similar institutions over the past five years now give hope that lung cancer will be transformed from a death sentence to a chronic disease. Many lung cancer patients are now survivors, living longer, productive and satisfying lives.
In the past year, my treatment plans have included multiple oral targeted therapies, chemotherapy, radiation, and back surgeries to repair the bone damaged by the cancer. My treatment plan continually evolves as new information is discovered about my cancer in the lab. Because of the unique and innovative research at UCH, I am one of the first and few in the country to receive treatment that is specifically tailored to my needs.
I may never be “cured” of lung cancer, but my cancer is stable, for now. With continued advancements, I hope to manage my lung cancer as a chronic disease for many years. I am grateful to have more time. Time to watch Brady take his first steps and say his first words. Time to explore Disneyland with Paige and watch her start kindergarten. And time to support others with their fight against lung cancer.
My resolve to fight lung cancer, increasing awareness of the magnitude of the disease and raising money for research, extends far beyond my own life and family. I am motivated by many others I have met, whose stories mirror my own. I hope future mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters don’t have to go through the heartache, pain, and uncertainty that those of us diagnosed with lung cancer have experienced.
Links for Lungs
In 2018, our fight to conquer cancer began with the inception of our fundraising golf tournament, Links for Lungs. In its first year, the tournament sold out within days, raising $130,000 with the help of sponsors, golfers,silent auction bids, and generous donations.
Please join me on this journey by supporting Links for Lungs. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Lung Cancer Colorado Fund, which funds lung cancer research at the University of Colorado and is bringing us one step closer to ridding the world of this deadly disease.