Claudia Ayers

First post: Oct 10, 2018
AKA Claudia's Mutant Chronicles
(which is more characters than I am allowed for my site name)

When I was first diagnosed, I decided I would just update everyone with emails. I barely post on Facebook, and I was on Twitter for about twenty minutes. But as I go through this sometimes surreal and completely unexpected chapter in my life, I know that sharing what is going on is as much for me as it is for those people who want to keep updated, and it helps me to be able to write about it.

If you need to be brought up to speed:  
For months I had a cough, and my doctor thought I had asthma. At a follow up appointment, after trying a variety of treatments, she order a chest x-ray that showed something else was going on. I was diagnosed on April 13 (yes, a Friday!) with stage 4 lung cancer, and I learned that it was incurable. My oncologist told me that they would look for a mutation in the cancer to determine treatment. And, fortunately, I have one.

I tested positive for the EGFR mutation found in 10 - 15% of patients. This meant I could receive a targeted therapy specific to this mutation. The drug I now take had just been approved by the FDA for first-line treatment the week before I learned that I have the mutation. It should stop the cancer from progressing for a period of time, and it took care of the pleural effusion that was removed regularly. And so, I take a pill every day, sending it good wishes to do its thing. I am profoundly grateful for every day that it is working.

I don’t really remember April very well. I wrote everything down, so I am able to go back and see what happened when, but that month is a blur. What is crystal clear to me, though, is how people rallied around me, and around my husband. We didn’t ask for a thing, and yet there were meals and people cleaning our yard, and so many flowers. And there were cards and notes and emails, all of which I have saved. The kindness and caring, all of the helpers...that I remember. And that is what sustains us as we keep moving through this journey.

“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." - Fred Rogers

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