In May 2021 I had my first routine visit with a cardiologist – my doctor recommended at my age and due to family history looping one in. I was healthy, on no meds, non-smoker, ate a healthy diet, at the gym almost daily and feeling good! My only symptom was clearing my throat but it was spring, I have allergies and had put myself on Zyrtec. The cardiologist suggested a calcium scan which would measure calcium-containing plaque in your arteries but it was my choice as I had to pay out of pocket. I hesitated thinking, I feel good, do I need this? But decided I’m here let’s just do it. Some things happen for a reason! I left her office and had not driven out of the City when she called me to return. They had found a mass on the right lung in that scan and it looked concerning. That was a moment in time I will never forget.
And so it began. I was ultimately diagnosed with adenocarcinoma Stage 3C cancer with the ROS 1 gene mutation. There was a mass on the right lung as well as 3 lymph nodes and it was inoperable as the mass sat very close to the vena cava. We’ve done radiation and chemotherapy and at this point in time, we don’t know where the cancer is at due to scarring and breathing issues. I’m currently on steroids and will have PET scan April 1 which will give me clear information.
I will admit learning to live this new normal is much like a roller coaster but I am starting to feel like myself again – my breathing is better and I am back to my fitness routine. That is what has kept me moving forward mentally along with the support ofmy family, good friends and most importantly my daughters, Emily and Elizabeth. I’m also focusing on and appreciating all the small moments in my life and remembering to laugh. Remembering who I was before the cancer.
May we continue to progress and improve on treatments for the ROS 1 community! I am also very thankful to have found the ROS1ders! Thank you for including me! Our hope is that each story helps someone else in some way.