Home » Advocacy » 10 years with lung cancer. Grateful for the ride.

10 years with lung cancer. Grateful for the ride.

Exactly 10 years ago today, I was diagnosed with lung cancer.

It’s been a wild ride thus far. When I was diagnosed in 2011, the majority of lung cancer patients died within a year of diagnosis. I was considered curable, so I had chemotherapy combined with radiation. My cancer grew immediately when I stopped treatment. I had more chemo, followed by more radiation, but again my cancer grew immediately after I stopped treatment. You can read more details about my cancer ups and downs elsewhere on this blog, so I’ll keep the history brief. The upside is that I learned about clinical trials and biomarker testing from patients in online lung cancer communities, got my tissue tested for biomarkers, and joined a clinical trial for ROS1+ cancer.

I’ve been on the same oral cancer treatment (a targeted therapy pill) for over eight years with no sign of cancer on my scans.

I’ve run the gamut of emotions over those 10 years. Some days I felt horrible physically and/or emotionally. A very few moments, I felt hopeless.

Today, however, the predominant feeling is gratitude. Gratitude for the healthcare providers who took care of me. Gratitude for more time for life with family and friends. Gratitude that I was able to watch my son mature and build an independent life. Gratitude that I was diagnosed during a revolution in lung cancer research that generated new treatments, measurably increased lung cancer survival, and gave me a relatively normal life despite metastatic lung cancer. Gratitude for the growing community of lung cancer patients and advocates, and the deep friendships formed therein. Gratitude that I’ve found a new calling as a cancer research advocate.

Especially, I feel gratitude that I have been able to make a difference in the lives of other patients in those 10 years. My current focus is on supporting two programs I cofounded: the IASLC STARS program (which helps lung cancer patient advocates evolve into research advocates), and The ROS1ders (a nonprofit that aims to improve outcomes for ROS1+ cancer patients like me).

If you want to help me celebrate surviving 10 years, please consider donating to The ROS1ders. You’ll be helping me in my research advocacy work, as well as helping find better treatments and care for my cancer. I truly appreciate any support you can give. Just click here: Janet’s fundraiser for The ROS1ders

Exactly 10 years ago today, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Today I’m going to walk in the sun and revel in the life blooming all around me. My lease on life is renewed yet again. I’ll hold on and ride it as long as it lasts.

Image credits:
Rollercoaster: © Helioshammer | Dreamstime.comRoller Coaster Photo
Scrabble image: public domain
Flowers: Janet Freeman-Daily

6 thoughts on “10 years with lung cancer. Grateful for the ride.

  1. Celebrating your life, Janet. So glad you’ve been here for the ride, so clearly articulated above. Best wishes for the continuing journey!

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  2. Dear Janet, I have been following you since 5 years when I got diagnosed with Lung cancer. Right from the beginning you have been a great inspiration for me, a role model on how to live a life with such a diagnosis and the fountain of hope for this journey.

    Thank you for all your efforts for pushing cancer research, for your job as an advocate, for giving hope and advice. Your help reaches people all over the world.

    Congratulations.

    Best regards from Vienna

    Barbara

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  3. Dear Janet,
    I just followed your blog while browsing through ROS1ders. Thank you for starting patient advocacy group like ROD1ders. My wife was diagnosed at a young age of 29 years old for lung cancer. I was devastated and at a lost but joining patient advocacy and support groups made me felt better. Just knowing that there are other patients out there with the same illness and fighting on puts my wife and I abit more comfort. Coming together as a patient group, sharing and caring is really a good cause!
    You are absolutely right that we are living in this era whereby lacking in lung cancer research funding and the stigma of lung cancer always associated with smoking is being addressed. My wife and I have really benefited from scientific advancement. She is doing very well with no signs of cancer from scans now. But definitely more can be done to aid early cancer detection, prevention and treatment.
    Thank you for penning down your gratitude. It was a lovely read. More 10 years to look forward to!

    Warm regards,
    Lee Jun Yu

    Like

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