Cindy Diagnosed at 46
Last year I rode TDP as a survivor. I was celebrating the end of a fight and the beginning of my life after cancer. I was cancer free. But that was about to change. Just a couple months after, I developed a cough and then became very sick. In February of this year, my worst fears came true. My cancer had returned to my lungs. And just like that I went from survivor to now having an expiration date.
I know I’m not young compared to a woman in her 20’s or 30’s, but…. I’m too young to die. I have young adult children and a husband that need me… I have children yet to get married and have babies of their own. I have a son with Down syndrome who I care for. I have plans to retire and buy a house on a lake and grow old with my husband. I still have a lot of living to do. So by my standards, I AM a young woman with cancer. What a difference a year makes… last year I was cancer free and celebrating life’s little moments. This past year I have had 3 thoracentesis, a collapsed lung, a chest tube, CT scans, X-rays, lost weight, gained it back, and now here I am today, 49 years old with mets to the lungs wondering “what next?”
I’ll tell you what’s next. When I was first diagnosed with reoccurrence, I reached out to YSC looking for a resource of trials. They immediately got back to me with that information which led me to my doctor at City of Hope, who is an expert in her field. She prescribed me a medication, a PARP inhibitor that had just come out of a trial and been approved by the FDA. In fact, it was so new that many pharmacies didn’t even have it in stock yet. Within two weeks, my symptoms went away and I began to feel healthy again. I just had another CT scan which showed a significant improvement. My tumor markers are normal, my blood-work looks good, and I am non symptomatic. On the bottom the report were the words “complete response to treatment”. I have hope again!
What happens next for me is simply living my best life, not focusing on that dark cloud floating over my head. What happens next is I’ve signed up for the Tour de Pink again only this year, I ride as a thriver… full of hope and strength and a love for life. Through this, I have learned that we all have an expiration date. No one lives forever. So rather than focus on a prognosis, I chose to focus on living.
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