Perspective

Contributions from

These are the experiences, ideas and views of each individual person featured here. Your own situation may be different and these ideas may not work for you.

Craig
Diagnosed in 2013

Craig's Perspective

It's very important that people try and maintain a semblance of normalcy, whatever that new normal is for them, as much as possible.

Ignore statistics. When you are first diagnosed, you can't ignore them. But you quickly realize that statistics are several years out of date, and they combine everyone together no matter what age or medical condition.

So much is changing so quickly now in terms of potential treatments that I just try and stay ahead of the wave and hope a new treatment comes along when my last one quits working.

Be very public with it.

Don't believe everything your doctors tell you. You have to be your own advocate so be sure to question anything that does not quite seem right.

Do a lot of research, stay away from statistics, ask a lot of questions, and get into a support group as quickly as you can, whether it's an electronic one or a local in-person one.

Maintain hope and a positive attitude. A poor attitude will not be of any benefit to you or those around you. But an upbeat one will draw positive vibes and I am a true believer that it has a significant effect on the healing process.

Dann
Diagnosed in 2006

Dann's Perspective

Have hope.

Be open to everything that comes your way, because there is more opportunity for growth than you can possibly imagine.

That comes from understanding how much other people care about you. They tell you things that they aren't going to tell you until you reach into something serious like this.

Also, how much deeper you can reach into your own soul to find things that are important in your life. Find opportunities to grow.

Deena
Diagnosed in 2012

Deena's Perspective

The first time I was diagnosed and it was almost like a dream. The second time I was back having surgery nine months later; it really hit.

I realized I had to find out about this disease, find out what was going on with my body, be on top of the doctors, double check, collect data and be proactive to make sure that it doesn't happen again.

That second diagnosis woke me up to the fact that I had to take control.

The most positive thing

Meeting other people that have lung cancer and working with them to change things so it can be better for people, especially our children, down the road.

Being productive has always made a day good for me, and being with people I love and care about.

Diane
Diagnosed in 2013

Diane's Perspective

When I came home after my diagnosis it was like an overwhelming thought that I was going to have to tell my family.

It took me a while to realize they would be strong enough to deal with it. At the beginning I thought it was just going to be me dealing with this, but that's not true.

You feel so alone when you're first diagnosed. But the reality of the situation is it's been a shared burden. Your family and friends give you the strength you need. They put their life on hold to support you in your struggle.

There are so many good things in this world. Just focus on the good things, and not the negatives.

It sounds ridiculous to say, but I'm grateful I went through this journey. It's given me such a wonderful appreciation of life.

Emily
NED (No evidence of disease) for two years

Emily's Perspective

Assemble a really good team around you - don't settle for care that is anything below excellent.

Based on my journey, contact the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. They will be able to give you personalized attention, and give you the answers that you need. They will connect you with doctors that maybe you wouldn't have had access to before because they know them and they're part of their network. They will give you hope, just like they did for me.

George
Diagnosed in 2013

George & Linda's Perspective

George

Even with advanced cancers like I have, you can still continue to live a productive and happy kind of life. Even if it doesn't seem to be at the time you're getting the news.

The most positive thing is the caring of the caregivers. I thought I'd be isolated but I've been pleasantly surprised to find out how positive people are, how genuinely caring they are.

Linda

Don't lose hope. You can live a good life and have wonderful experiences, you can still travel, and live your life like everybody should live their lives - like this could be your last day on earth.

None of us knows whether or not it is, but it just makes you live your life like it is, and in some ways that's a positive.

There's still life to be lived and I feel really grateful for that.

Janet
Diagnosed in 2011

Janet's Perspective

Go get a second opinion at an academic cancer center that's in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

I'm learning to live for today. That doesn't mean that I live with abandon and trash anything that might possibly be good for my future, it just means that I try and find some joy in today and enjoy what it is that I'm able to do.

If all I can do on this particular day is to sit and look out the window at a tree, I can enjoy the amazing tree.

I find something that I can do for myself for that day, and try and do something that contributes to the welfare of others. That helps me feel like I'm a part of everything.

Lydia
Diagnosed in 2008

Lydia's Perspective

I didn't like to read anything about lung cancer when I was diagnosed, and I should have. Now I want to know everything I can know about lung cancer and not ignore it.

Be knowledgeable, be happy, love everyone and forgive everyone. You don't have to forget them, but you can forgive them.

Marc
Diagnosed in 2011

Marc's Perspective

The best advice I can give is to keep a positive attitude.

The power of positive thinking is a huge benefit for anybody with disease – not just cancer. The more you think about being positive, eventually it'll just start to happen without you thinking about it.

I also tell everybody they need to get into a support group, whether they think they do or not - they should. If I can go to somebody who's been surviving five, six years and has been through three or four cycles of chemo and radiation, and they can tell you how they feel and what they've done, that's probably the best help that you can get.

Two things

Number one, don't feel sorry for yourself. Don't play the "why me" game.

Number two, get involved in your treatment and what's going to happen. Look for trials and different things for your specific mutations of your disease. Get as proactive as possible instead of burying your head in the sand.

Bring it up, and stick it up high and say, "Hey, I've got lung cancer but I'm going to beat this for as long as I can."

Richard
Diagnosed in 2004

Richard's Perspective

When I was diagnosed, it would have been really scary to have known too much. I think being a bit naive was probably a good thing. Eventually I did reach out to patient advocacy organizations for support and advice. I feel like I got through it really well because of my doctors and my support team, my family and friends.

I always believe I've lived life to the fullest. It's probably been accentuated a little, notched up, dealing with a terminal illness. The biggest positive changes are these relationships. They're unbelievable.

I believe all the good and bad has to happen. I can't take anything back, there's no regrets. I'm very, very fortunate.

Stephanie
Diagnosed in 2012

Stephanie's Perspective

I don't read anything online that's over three months old. Any studies, any clinical trials. At first I limited myself to 10 minutes a day. Now I go to certain sites and read those religiously.

I just don't make that my whole world. My whole world is my husband, my family, my dog, golf. I'm not going to say what order that's in!

The first thing I do everyday is to go to Inspire.com and Whatnext.com.

WhatNext refers me to a lot of surveys and stuff that can help anybody. Maybe that's why I'm still here. I'll fill out anything and help anybody.

Inspire.com is a little bit more specific. You can give all your details and it lumps you into a support group online with everybody that has exactly what you've been through.

I get a lot of reward from just talking to people, even at chemo.

I just tell them some of my story, that is hope and you just love to see their faces light up.

Susan
Diagnosed in 2011

Susan's Perspective

I probably would have started off with a lung cancer specialist at a big cancer institute.

I got on Inspire right away. Somebody recommended it to me. I think that it's important to not be alone because you are alone when you first get diagnosed. You have your friends and family around you but it's you, you're the one, you're the one with the disease. I can't say enough about Inspire.

The most positive thing

My attitude, my being grateful, being grateful for everyday, for every moment, for every friend, for every good thing that happens. That's the good part of having a horrible disease.

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