On April 26, 2007, I received a confirmed diagnosis of non-small-cell lung cancer – adenocarcinoma. After months of testing for allergies, asthma and other things that might cause a persistent cough, a routine chest x-ray at an annual physical indicated an issue and a biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. This began a litany of treatments that are outlined elsewhere in my blogs.
At the time of this Stage IV NSCLC diagnosis I learned that my prognosis was not good. Median survival after this diagnosis is 8 months – less than a year. Five year survival is 1%. Today is the 5th anniversary of my initial diagnosis!! I am officially part of the 1%.
Of course, the fight continues. Just this morning I received the 9th of 15 whole-brain radiation treatments for brain lesions/tumors. I continue to take Xalkori (Crizotinib) for my lung cancer. I was in the test for 16 months and have continued with great success. I learned that my gallbladder had adenocarcinoma on it when it was removed. I have a small growth on my right iris.
The past 5 years have included many highs and some very challenging lows. But, we have continued to live life to the fullest. By my rough count, we have cruised approximately 31 weeks since my diagnosis. We have 4 cruises scheduled through mid-2013. And, we have frequently joined in family celebrations for birthdays and weddings.
Despite the ongoing risk of something reoccurring or something new, I am optimistic. The healthcare at IU Hospital and the IU Simon Cancer Center is world class. Dr Larry Einhorn (lungs) and Dr Mark Henderson (brain) have been outstanding. I have asked to be treated aggressively and they have done so. The entire team of many doctors and other medical professionals has been a great benefit for me.
Here is hoping for at least 5 more years!!