Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Changing the Face of Lung Cancer

Before I got my petscan results, I had the pleasure of representing Team Draft, along with Jackie Archer, for the Falcons alumni game against Tampa Bay.  I guess you could call it a game (56-14 w).  Go Falcons!

For those of you who are unaware, Jackie Archer is a Stage III life long non smoker lung cancer survivor that advocated, along with former NFL player, Chris Draft to get the Georgia "Lung Cancer Matters" license plate signed into law.

Chris Draft co-founded "Team Draft", along with his wife, Keasha Rutledge Draft, on November 27, 2011.  It's ironic I was diagnosed November 27, 1012.  Sadly, she passed away of the dreadful disease a month after their marriage.  She was only 38 and in picture perfect health until lung cancer came along.  Don't think you are safe because you don't smoke or are healthy....it's simply not true.

Now, Chris Draft spends his time advocating for lung cancer awareness and relentlessly showing the world what real lung cancer patients look like.  He shows us that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.  If you didn't know I had lung cancer, would you ever really think that I did?

I met him last year after an ad I did for Piedmont Hospital.  Since then, I've looked up to him due to his dedication and continuous drive to change the face of lung cancer.  When it seems hopeless, he will give you the hope to keep going.  I'm very thankful to have met him and to recently meet Jackie.  Also, thank you Sharon for hosting us in the suite!  We had a great time.

Beginning in November, we will be promoting a Super Bowl Challenge, so stay tuned for details.  In the meantime, go "Like" Team Draft.  Here are a few photos from the game.  We had a great time.   I got to attend with one of my oldest friends, Ron, as well as my little sister, Brook, and her husband, Patrick.  Maybe next time Karley can go again.

Once again, thank you Chris, Jackie, and Sharon for your hospitality.  And thank all of you, including my family and friends, for your continuous prayers.  They always mean so much.  I will blog about my sister's baby shower later.  It came the day after I was really down, but I knew I'd get up and feel better.  God helps me out with that a lot!

God bless you all!  And thanks for the pictures Chris!

John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light in the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

(Another one of my favorite verses)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Results 9/19/14

I was going to blog about the Falcons game and the Super Bowl Challenge, but it deserves it's own blog....so it will have to wait a day or two because I've gotten a lot of calls and emails and haven't responded yet.

So, I got my results today from my latest petscan.  The good news is, still no visible active cancer!  The aggravating news...I have two tumors that have decided to hang out.  These tumors did not light up, meaning they aren't spitting out cancer cells.

Since they've decided to hang out and drive me crazy, I've decided they should be named after my favorite insurance company (in my most sarcastic voice).  Blue Cross is the largest one from now on.  The smaller, is Blue Shield.  So, from this point forward, I will refer to them as such.  Blue Cross is about the size of a golf ball.  So long as the Tarceva continues to do it's job, it will keep Blue Cross and Blue Shield at bay.

I also got my blood drawn to send off for the Bonnie J. Addario Young Lung Study.  Yay!

It was a very long day full of appointments with various specialists.  So, when I finally got to my last appointment, I just broke down crying....in front of my gyno.  Why?  Who knows.  Fatigue, loss of blood from appointments, the stress of all of the upcoming appointments, the fact that my phone died and I was bored, or just tired of being at hospitals and with doctors all day.  Don't get me wrong, they are all great!  But, I will think twice about trying to take in so much in one day (especially without my charger).

I'm really happy to have this news...still cautiously optimistic.  I'm praying this Tarceva keeps up it's end of the deal for a very long time....because quite frankly, Blue Cross and Blue Shield scare me a little.  I do know that I'm very blessed though.  I just don't like things that scare me very much....  It could be worse, I know.  I know a lot have it so much worse.  So, I'm not going to dwell on it.  I'm going to get some sleep and help throw my lil sis a baby shower tomorrow.  Hope you all have a good night!  I will do my best to get the Falcons game up tomorrow!

God bless you all and thank you for your continuous prayers. They mean so very much!  Please keep John and Tina Roberts in your prayers too.

Matthew 6:34
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shermaine Lee

I met Shermaine Lee on Sunday March 2, 2014 at the Caribou on Northside Pkwy in Atlanta for our first Free to Breathe Committee meeting.  We were the only two that were actual stage 4 lung cancer patients, so quickly we became friends.  The rest of the outstanding committee had either lost someone or had someone close to them diagnosed and were fighting with us.  But, Shermaine and I had a special bond.

We both had small children, an enormous amount of faith and fight.  She was a very devout Christian and it radiated from her every time we spoke.  Although our distance kept us apart, we still communicated frequently.   I think our biggest fear was always leaving our children so soon.  Not being able to watch them grow up.  I know it is mine, and it's what she was concerned about when we talked.  We never expressed the fear of death itself, because we both knew where we were going. We both knew our prognosis, but she always remained so positive when she talked with me about it.  We both didn't take "no" for an answer, and I knew that she never would.

On September 2, 2014, Shermaine went home.  Exactly 6 months after meeting her, she had made such an impact on my life.  As I sat at her wake this past Friday, I felt overcome with guilt.  I felt like I should've done more for her.  She was always asking how I was, and with the distance barrier, I didn't know how quickly her health was deteriorating until our interview at the end of July.

Now, please don't say I shouldn't feel guilty, because I'm stubborn and I will anyways.  I have this void now.  She was my lung cancer person.  We gave each other advice and cheered each other on.  I think she lifted me up more than I did her.  At the wake, I told her I was sorry for not being a better friend.

I know she's free to breathe and dance and laugh and run and she will have no more pain or sorrow and for that, I am thankful.  Because there is no doubt in my mind where she is.

It was amazing to see so many family and friends at her services.   If she made such a long lasting impact on me, I can't imagine how much she made on others.

Please keep her two sons (6 and 12 years old) and her husband, Rico, in your prayers.  Also, please keep her line sister Wendy and the rest of her family and friends in your prayers.  Shermaine was blessed with such an amazing support system, I'm sure it was because she was so fabulous herself.  Please also keep our dear friend across the pond, John Roberts and his lovely wife Tina in your prayers.  John has taken a turn for the worst.  Finally, please keep Tammy Swain Alexander's family and friends in your prayers.  She is now free to breathe too.  This beast of a disease is relentless.

I'm home now, resting today from driving to Atlanta Friday and back Saturday.  I would do it all over again for you Dr. Shermaine Lee.  I love you girl, and I'll see you again on the other side.

John 11:25-26
"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"