In 2008, I got news that would change my life forever. After suffering from a nagging cough for years, I woke up one morning coughing up blood. Concerned, I went to my doctor and got an x-ray, but everything appeared normal. Thankfully, my doctor then ordered a follow-up bronchoscopy and was able to see a tumor had formed behind my heart. The diagnosis was one no one wants to hear, lung cancer.
After the initial shock of the diagnosis, I decided to take control of my care and began speaking with other patients with similar diagnoses to learn from their experiences.
During surgery, they found my tumor inoperable, but luckily, I was able to join a clinical trial and underwent months of chemotherapy and then radiation therapy. The treatment was intense but worth it when my doctor told me it was also successful, and there was no longer any evidence of disease.
As a survivor, I'm so grateful to the health professionals who treated me and the friends and loved ones who supported me. I also feel indebted to others living with lung cancer and lung cancer survivors who went before me and shared their stories. Because of them, I'm paying it forward by sharing my experience. Any time I spend helping others who are dealing with serious illness, to me, is time well spent.
That’s also why I’m going to DC with Right Scan Right Time. I want to share my story with Members of Congress to improve access for other patients as well as support innovations in healthcare, like the bronchoscope that saved my life. One measure we'll be advocating for is repeal of the medical device tax, so those funds can go to research and development investment in innovations that improve quality of care and ultimately save lives.
Cancer is scary, but earlier diagnosis and detection means more cancer patients can become cancer survivors. I am proud to be one of them and excited to advocate for improved access and innovation in medical imaging!