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Doctors Gave Me 18 Months To Live

In August 2013 while my family and I were preparing for my mother to pass, I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that spread to my spine and my ribs. I was given 1.5 years to live with treatment. How was I suppose to tell my family that not only were they losing their mother but in a short time they would lose me, as well?

When my mom passed two weeks later, I told my family. It was horrible as you can imagine. So I started radiation on my spine and ribs. This was only to shrink the tumors as I was in a lot of pain. After 10 rounds of that, I immediately started chemo. I was given one round of chemo every three weeks for a total of six treatments.

When I was diagnosed, I had a pity party for three days, but then decided if I only have a short time to live, I’m going to use that time wisely. So I accepted my fate. After all, I couldn’t change it. So I stayed positive, did my treatment, spent time making new memories with my family and friends, and made sure they knew how much I loved them. I made my final arrangements as well.

During chemo, I was very tired and had to have blood transfusions. The fatigue was so bad, I was crawling in my hands and knees just to get to the bathroom. So after four rounds of chemo, I told my doctor no more. If I have only a year to live, I’m not living it like this. She agreed. I stopped chemo and within a month, I felt great. I withdrew half of my 401k money, took my sister on a trip to the Caribbean, and had a blast.

At this point, I stopped watching my weight, and how liberating that was! When I had my first scan after I stopped treatment, I received good news: the tumors were not growing any more. At the one-year mark after stopping treatment, the tumors were still not growing. At the two-year mark, my oncologist told me I was in remission.

I was shocked. I asked her if she had the right scan. Did mine get mixed up with someone else? She assured me she had the right one. She calls me her miracle as she has never seen anyone ever go into remission with this type of cancer.

She was trying to figure out how this happened and I gave her three possible contributing factors:

  1.  My positive attitude
  2. I was on so many prayer chains. ( I believe in the power of prayer.)
  3. The man upstairs wasn’t ready to handle me yet. (She agreed with the last one, lol.)

Honestly, I couldn’t have gotten through this without the support of my family and friends who rallied around me, taking me to appointments, keeping me company, making me laugh (yes, a sense of humor is definitely needed), and just holding my hand when I just didn’t want to talk. I know that it’s always possible to come out of remission as fast as I went into it, so I live each day with a positive attitude. I don’t let any negativity into my life, I spend time with my family and friends, and just enjoy each blessed day that I have.

Your End of Life Doula


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