Patient Videos

Curt's Story

What has been the biggest challenge for you with your lung cancer?
Curt found the biggest challenge with his lung cancer has been all the treatments he went through. He had chemotherapy, then a pneumonectomy where they removed his right lung, and then radiation therapy. He was fortunate because he tolerated most of the treatments quite well, however taking away his right lung has been a challenge. Ultimately the biggest challenge was the fear he encountered with his Stage IIB lung cancer. Luckily the tumor was contained in one area of the lung and his treatments worked. Adapting to one lung after 6-7 years has been difficult, however he feels very fortunate.
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What was the one thing you would have liked your Doctor to explain better about your lung cancer?
Curt felt his doctors and care givers did a wonderful job, however they did not explain much to him about what kind of cell type of lung cancer he had. It would have given him a more comprehensive overview of what kind of cancer cells he had, and that would have helped him better understand what kind of treatments were most likely to work.
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What advice do you have for other patients on their journey with lung cancer?
Curt wants other lung cancer patients to be as positive as possible, even though it may not be easy. He says it is very important to talk to friends and family about what you are going through and be honest with those around you. Don’t remove yourself. Pulling back from friends and family is not the way to go.
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How did your friends and family react to your diagnosis of lung cancer?
Curt’s friends and family were very shocked at first, in some ways he feels they were more afraid than he was. Although the fear is a big factor for anyone with lung cancer. Part of what he would recommend to others is to talk about it enough so that your friends and family can feel more comfortable and don’t suffer in silence.
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What do you feel has been your unique challenge or situation when it comes to lung cancer?
Curt’s unique challenge was his recovery from the surgery (removal of his right lung). Over time adapting to the loss of one lung was difficult. The right lung can account for 55% of pulmonary capacity. He went to physical therapy and spent a lot of time in recovery. When he climbs a hill or climbs some steps at a ball game, it’s a challenge. However, he takes it slower than he used to and tries to keep going. It’s still frustrating but he remains positive.
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Julie's Story

What has been the biggest challenge for you with your lung cancer?
Julie’s biggest challenge with her stage 4 lung cancer has been the mental challenge of the fear of the unknown and what’s coming next. In particular, she is afraid about what’s going to happen with her children and how they will cope (she has two young children). Julie tries to stay in the present as much as possible and tries to focus on how she is currently feeling, instead of looking at someday when things could turn for the worse.
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What was the one thing you would have liked your Doctor to explain better about your lung cancer?
Julie felt that the biopsy process could have been better explained to her. She did not realize that the biopsy would involve some genetic testing to see what type of genetic modifications might be in the cancer cells, which would relate to the treatment options available to her.
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What advice do you have for other patients on their journey with lung cancer?
Julie wants other lung cancer patients to educate themselves and also connect with other lung cancer patients, to learn from them or be inspired by them. She says it’s important for lung cancer patients to advocate for themselves in their own personal journey.
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How did your friends and family react to your diagnosis of lung cancer?
Julie’s friends and family were all shocked when they found out she had lung cancer, just as she was. She had not known that lung cancer was even a risk or possibility for her. She thought lung cancer was just for smokers. Her brothers were smokers and they were shocked too, because Julie never smoked.
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What do you feel has been your unique challenge or situation when it comes to lung cancer?
Julie says being a parent of two boys (aged 9 and 11) with her stage 4 lung cancer has been extremely difficult. Knowing how to navigate with them, and balancing hope with reality has been very challenging. Currently Julie is disease free, but it’s been hard for all of them. She has had her boys in counseling to make sure they have the skills to cope with this challenge. She hopes that they learn compassion and how to help others.
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Katherine's Story

What has been the biggest challenge for you with your lung cancer?
The most challenging thing for Katherine has been slowing down. She has always been an active person, she likes sports and she likes to work out. She likes golfing. She has four kids and she was working full time. It’s been a struggle mentally because a lot of her activity has come to a halt. Katherine says she has to remind herself to slow down.
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What was the one thing you would have liked your Doctor to explain better about your lung cancer?
Katherine’s experience was that her lung cancer diagnosis was devastating. There was a lot of information coming at her very quickly which was difficult to process. She wishes her first doctor had educated her more and given her more information. She is with a different doctor now and he gives her a lot of education and time to process information along the way.
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What advice do you have for other patients on their journey with lung cancer?
Katherine wants other lung cancer patients to get a second or third opinion. She also wants other patients to take the time to understand what their treatment options are, and try to educate themselves. She also recommends staying physically active, and connecting to social supports because there is a lot of help available.
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How did your friends and family react when you told them about your lung cancer?
Katherine’s friends and family were devastated and shocked as she was. They did not know what it meant, because no-one in her family has gone through this before. They have all been very supportive. They have helped her stay positive.
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What do you feel has been your unique challenge or situation when it comes to lung cancer?
Despite being a non-smoker, Katherine was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She didn’t fit the criteria that people think goes along with lung cancer. A lot of people assume that lung cancer is caused by smoking; however there are many non-smokers who get lung cancer. She wants people to know that factors other than smoking can play a role in getting lung cancer.
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Mark's Story

What has been the biggest challenge for you with your lung cancer?
Mark’s experience with lung cancer is that every day is grueling and it can take a lot out of him. Some days he has energy, and some days he doesn’t. But he is determined to work with his doctors and stick to his treatment journey. Mark says he is hopeful for the future and tries to keep a positive outlook.
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What was the one thing you would have liked your Doctor to explain better about your lung cancer?
Mark wishes that his doctors would have been more kind in their delivery of the diagnosis to him. They just told him flat out that he had lung cancer, and he feels the information could have been more gently put to him. It was hard news for him to hear.
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What advice do you have for other patients on their journey with lung cancer?
Mark’s advice for other lung cancer patients is that they have to sustain and work with their doctors to stick to their lung cancer treatment journey.
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How did your friends and family react when you told them about your lung cancer?
Mark has been very private about his lung cancer diagnosis. He did not want to burden his family and friends with the news of his diagnosis. He wanted to go through it on his own and he still feels there is hope ahead for him.
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What do you feel has been your unique challenge or situation when it comes to lung cancer?
Mark says he tries not to think about his lung cancer so much because he does not want it to overwhelm him. He tries not to dwell on it. His strategy is to keep himself busy with cooking, playing his musical instruments, and other various activities.
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Tricia's Story

What has been the biggest challenge for you with your lung cancer?
Accepting the diagnosis was Tricia’s greatest initial challenge. Finding out at the young age of 26 was very difficult. In Tricia’s case, she was first diagnosed with a lung abscess and scheduled for a lobectomy. It was only after the surgery that the doctors told her she had lung cancer. Tricia also found it depressing and disheartening to learn about the statistics for lung cancer. The uncertainty of what her outcome may or may not be is very challenging to her.
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What was the one thing you would have liked your Doctor to explain better about your lung cancer?
Tricia remembers that everything happened so fast at the time of her diagnosis, and there was not a lot of time to absorb what was happening. She did not receive a lot of information at the time because the immediate response was to treat her lung cancer very aggressively and she trusted her doctor in doing so. She was diagnosed with non small cell (squamous cell) lung cancer and she had to do a lot of research on her own about her condition.
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What advice do you have for other patients on their journey with lung cancer?
Tricia’s advice for other lung cancer patients is for them to focus on what’s best for them, and to take good care of themselves. They should be aware that this experience can be a roller coaster ride, and to expect lots of challenges. In her case, she is 11 years out from her first diagnosis, and she feels she has learned a lot. She recommends that other lung cancer patients do lots of self-care and try to keep enjoying life with family and friends.
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How did your friends and family react when you told them about your lung cancer?
Tricia’s friends and family were sad, worried and fearful when they heard about her lung cancer diagnosis. She feels very fortunate that her friends and family have been so supportive of her. At her first diagnosis she was very private and didn’t share her diagnosis with a broader set of people. But after connecting with A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation and after her second diagnosis, Tricia has become more comfortable talking about it and has a wide support network. Now, Tricia shares her experiences in order to advocate for lung cancer awareness and more research funding.
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What do you feel has been your unique challenge or situation when it comes to lung cancer?
Tricia’s early age of diagnosis (26 years) is something she feels has been very unique about her situation. All the research she had read about on lung cancer was for a much older demographic. The other patients were so much older than her and she did not feel she could relate to them, so she felt isolated in her diagnosis. Tricia has had lung cancer scanning every 4 months for 11 years. She’s still learning to cope with it and to navigate as best she can.
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