A few months ago, Amanda coughed up blood. She had been so busy working and enjoying life, she might have been ignoring some other symptoms (a little trouble breathing, pain in her back and hips and feeling kind of tired). This symptom, however, could not be ignored. Over the next several weeks, she made trips to urgent care and doctor offices and hospitals. There were tests....CAT, PET, blood work, x-rays. After ruling out several other possibilities the diagnosis was delivered: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in Stage 4.
We've learned a lot about lung cancer in the last couple of weeks. Even though it's certainly been lurking in a body for a long time, we've learned there aren't many early warning signals or detection tests so lung cancer is often diagnosed late stage. It's just a horrible disease. Especially in one so young. Shifting between disbelief and shock this is just devastating news.
Boy, did we need some good news! And we got some when we visited thet Knight Cancer Center at OHSU. We learned about the new "targeted therapies" that are having amazing results on stopping lung cancers. The first step in finding a targeted therapy is genetic sequencing to identify the mutation that has caused Amanda's lung cancer. That's in the works right now. It takes 2-3 weeks. Once completed, the results will tell us which targeted therapy has been effective on that cancer.
Through family members or maybe your own health issues, many of you know how stressful a serious illness can be. Aside from the actual frightening and uncomfortable symptoms, you have to learn about and understand many new things. You have many medical appointments at different locations with different providers. You have forms to fill out. You have more forms to fill out. You have even more forms to fill out! Your work and life activities and bank account are greatly affected. You might be sad or tired or angry or scared. Most likely, you're all of the above. In this place, we all know what a note from a friend can do to help us get through it. We'll post updates on Amanda's progress here. When you check up on her, please take a minute and send her a note. She's got a long haul ahead, but she's one smart, determined, passionate cookie. If anyone can do it, she can!