Asking “how” or “why me” when given a cancer diagnosis does not serve towards healing. Sometimes, people who eat a plant based diet, exercise regularly, with no history of smoking or drinking still get cancer. Sometimes, things just happen.
For Jennifer, the lung cancer diagnosis process was probably a long time coming. Shortness of breath and what seemed like allergy symptoms began in April 2017, about the time her primary care physician retired. Like many caregivers, Jennifer was so focused on her husband’s health, that she did not insist on immediate assignment to a new physician.
Some flaws in an overstressed medical system and a busy schedule lead to a situation where 8 months and 6 urgent care visits passed by before Jennifer was finally assigned a new primary care physician.
As the calendar flipped to 2020, Jennifer was treated twice for pneumonia, without any improvement. Then, as we all experienced, 2020 came to a grinding halt due to COVID 19, but Jennifer’s pneumonia symptoms still persisted.
As May came to a close and the economy began to reopen, a series of tests showed heart and lung irregularities… but imaging still looked like pneumonia. Lung biopsies on July 15th yielded unexpected results. So unexpected that the thoracic surgeon asked the pathologist to double check the results. Mucinous Adenocarcinoma of the lung is a unique diagnosis, especially when PET scans and MRIs do not show any cancerous activity elsewhere. Thankfully, the left lung biopsy was negative for cancer.
On August 26th, Jennifer underwent a thoracotomy for a right lower lobectomy and removal of several lymph nodes. In another unique turn of events, 3 separate primary tumors were found in the right lower lobe; each with a different pathology. This meant Jennifer had 3 different types of lung cancer simultaneously.
All of the cancer was removed surgically and Jennifer will began a 12 week chemo cycle on September 25th, which will be followed by radiation in December. By Christmas, we are praying this will all be a part of the bad memory we call 2020.
Update from Jenn on Dec 4th. Happy Tears of Joy! We have kicked cancer’s ass so hard that I do not need that awful injection on December, and they have decided that I do not need radiation! The next step will be imaging on 12/23 to be sure 100% everything is gone.