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This past April I was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer. I am fortunate to be treated at M.D. Anderson, one of the countries most highly ranked cancer treatment centers. I have an excellent doctor who has started me on newly approved therapy.
Prior to my diagnosis, I had been having chest/neck fullness, burning sensation, and dry cough. Eventually imaging studies were done which revealed the enlarged lymph nodes and nodule in my left lung. A biopsy of a lymph node indicated it was cancer and it originated from my lung. Additional testing of the cancer revealed it had the ALK + gene. This is found in approximately 4% of lung cancers and more often in non-smokers like me. There are medications that target these mutations (called target therapy – some call it chemo in a pill but it is not really chemotherapy). I take 4 capsules twice a day. I have been on the target therapy for one week. The medication does not have many side effects. I feel a little more tired, but that is about it. I still have discomfort from the cancer, but it is lessening.
I will go back to M.D. Anderson in 3 more weeks and again in another 4 weeks at which time I may start radiation treatments. They would be done every day for 6 weeks. I am very fortunate to have family in Houston and will have my own private sister-in-law nurse.
This has been a shock to me, but it is what it is, so forward I go! I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family. All of you and my faith in God give me comfort.
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