Being a smoker, Arlene Rohrer knew that those little cigarettes could one day be harmful to her health, although she had not had one in years. She also had been in New York City around the 9/11 attacks and was exposed to the black dust that was in the air. Both elements were found in her lungs. While lung cancer may have never been on her mind, it did become part of her health history. It was 2009 when the diagnosis hit her chart after fatigue, and cold had plagued her daily life.
They said she would not survive
The diagnosis was Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, and to make matters worse; the prognosis was slim that she would become a cancer survivor. Fox Chase Cancer Center became her place for treatment with a radiation treatment known as Cyberknife as the lung cancer had spread to a spot on her brain.
It was a new treatment option at that time. Her stay at Hope Lodge was met with the spot on her brain wholly removed, followed by chemo. Her cancer has regressed over the years, but her treatment was still ongoing and hoped to be finished by the summer of 2010.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) became a lifesaver for Franklin Whatley when lung cancer entered his life unexpectedly. It was in 1993 when Frank discovered that he had been living with cancer in his left lung. His prognosis was not good, and he was given a mere six months to live.
The cancer was also inoperable. Frank felt hopeless and feared that death was his only option. Tulsa, Oklahoma was the site where Frank would eventually meet the good people of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and be given a longer life expectancy, but not without a diagnosis of chemo and radiation.
Frank went through both chemo and radiation with little side effects. He lost some hair, which led to a shaved head, gained some weight, and had to have a platelet transfusion. Frank recommends the Cancer Treatment Centers of America because of the staff, the doctors, and the care that he received.
No one wants to go through cancer, but at least it can be done at a good place. Frank got a tree that he planted for surviving five years. He is still cancer-free today and attributes that to his stay at CTCA. Read our article on Epidemiology here.
Hope is a great word for a lung cancer patient and also the name of a woman that is a survivor. She quit smoking as most do before this type of diagnosis turned her world upside down. Her guide that can be found in a book that she wrote was written to help those with lung cancer is great for not only the person that was diagnosed but also for the friends and family. These are five ways to help a person with lung cancer and support them during this difficult time.
The first is that lung cancer patients do not want to be asked why they got cancer. Be supportive of their needs. The second way to help is to ask how you can help or if the person suffering wants to be visited. Make sure that you know what you are talking about before discussing it with them too.
The third is to share survival stories that are a success. No one wants to hear scary ones. Be a friend, and if they’re going to cry or talk, be there for them. That one is pretty easy. Lastly, leave the positive thinking speech for another time.