Bobbi J. on January 10, 2018
I was Diagnosed with:
Stage 4 Lung Cancer (never smoker)
Type and Description of Treatments:
Over the past 4+ years, I have had lung surgery, 32 rounds of radiation (2 to the brain stem), 63 rounds of chemo, 31 rounds of immunotherapy, 34 scans, 3 biopsies and currently participating in my 2nd clinical trial (Cleveland Clinic and MD Anderson).
How do you feel today?
Much to the surprise of family, friends and co-workers, I look and feel pretty darn healthy! I think credit goes to maintaining a positive outlook on life, a strong spiritual foundation, eating healthy, exercising and hanging out with people I love.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?
I believe everyone is dealt a card or two in life that they would rather fold but I've learned that it's really all about how you play the hand you were dealt. You must quickly and often decide what side of the fence you're going to fall on. Will you let the news of your diagnosis devour your spirit or will you rally that energy towards fighting a good fight? I'm a fighter!
What is going well for you right now?
My daughter just turned 5 and she is my shining star amidst a sea of uncertainty.
What is not going well for you right now?
What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?
The emotional rollercoaster
When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?
I rely on my family and friends for emotional support
How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?
I try to focus more on fun experiences and making memories versus buying 'things' that are not important.
What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?
I am in the midst of transitioning back to work in corporate America.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?
I am no longer in a global leadership role that demanded significant traveling and round the clock access
What has helped you continue to work the most?
A flexible workplace and working from home.
What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?
Ask your employer for home office accommodation, even if only a day or two per week. This will allow you to eliminate the stress of commuting and engage in healthier eating/exercise (versus getting up, driving to work and sitting in front of your PC all day).
How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?
I get more rest. I go easy on myself and I network on social media with other people that are in similar treatments as I am/similar side effects.
If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?
Faith is everything (Phil 4.13). Cancer will not define me. Stage 4 cancer is not terminal....its merely a diagnosis not your prognosis! Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about your diagnosis and treatment options but never believe a statistic unless it empowers you. Consider a clinical trial. This is the only way science will continue to evolve. Surround yourself with advocates willing to raise awareness and raise funding for cancer research. The card you've been dealt will try to control you but YOU are in control of how your story unfolds.