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Natalie Monaeva: She's a 1der

At the age of 48, on August 6th, 2019 I was diagnosed with lung cancer. During a yearly planned visit, the GP failed to recognize half or my left lung. As was deduced from the X-ray of the same day, a liquid was found in the lung. The official diagnosis was cancer of the left lung and it’s pleura of stage IV, followed by the 1st disability group. Needless to say, that I had no symptoms, I am not a smoker and never worked at the manufacturing locations with toxic fumes.

I was then officially diagnosed with ROS1 at the 3rd week of biopsy procedure, after which I was prescribed Crizotinib, which I started taking a month after the “doomsday”. Luckily, the scheduled PET scan (3 months after the diagnosis) has shown a complete response to the therapy of the prescribed medication.

I am sure that each and every of you can relate to the initial shock of such news and hearing the word “Cancer” for the first time in your life. We have definitely experienced the full spectrum of emotions, starting with “why me??”, “why cancer?”, “it’s all lost”, “is there any hope?”. “yes, there is a solution!”

Bless the science and people who study it; organizations and individuals, studying this complex disease has led to the manufacture of the life-saving medicine, and I am forever grateful to each person involved. Given, that small, accessible pills have been restraining and helping with my genetic mutation, it can truly be called the greatest miracle!

This disease - is a war, fought with the help of the whole family. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my dearest husband, Oleg and two daughters. I live for them, and they make everything possible and impossible for me in return!

Unfortunately, Crizotinib has been helpful and efficient for just 1.5 years, after which several metastases has appeared in my brain. Shortly after this, I switched to Lorlaririb. On a more positive note, I know that I still have several alternative methods of medicine that can help me, and I believe in best myself!

Perhaps, to many of you it might be quite surprising that my diagnosis - not a pure form of cancer, but a genetic mutation. Maybe, some time in the future this will be a separate category of cancer or it’s subset. Most importantly, me and all of you should live now and here. For me, everything that doesn’t cause me ending up in the ER and at the hospital is not a side effect and it is totally doable.

Lastly, I want to sign off by sharing that I still employ a healthy lifestyle in my daily life; I walk roughly 10 km per day, nurture and grow roses in my garden and take boat trips, such as to Solovetsky island, (150 on from the Polar Circle) which I’ve been to the other month:)

I am grateful to this group and every one of you! Take care, don’t lose hope and be happy! From Moscow with love!

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