Linking you to resources and support in the lung cancer community!
Started this discussion. Last reply by jc123 Dec 23, 2011.
Welcome to My Page! I thought I'd share a little about me, since we'll be hanging out for a while.
I have worked for Lung Cancer Alliance for over 4 years in some way or another. Before that, I spent several years working in developing countries doing child health and nutrition program work for US government projects overseas. I have a Master's degree in Public Health.
I grew up in Alexandria, VA, right outside of DC. I live in DC now. I'm a true city girl. My dad still lives in the house I grew up in. My younger brother also lives in DC.
When I was a senior in college, my mom called me to tell me that she had kidney cancer. That was a tough phone call. She had surgery and she was okay. But two years later, they found a spot on her lung. It was lung cancer, and it didn't have anything to do with her kidney cancer.
She had a lobectomy at Georgetown University. No chemo. We thought it was all over. But then a year and a half later it came back in her bones. She started chemotherapy, and when it was all over, her doctor (not at Georgetown) said that it didn't work, and there was nothing else he could do.
Luckily my mom was stubborn, so she went elsewhere and enrolled in a clinical trial. I think it was Iressa. It didn't work. She then tried taxotere. That's when she was diagnosed with breast cancer - not related to any of the others. They kept treating her with taxotere because they said they would have used it for the breast cancer anyway. Or maybe they just weren't as concerned about the breast cancer and the lung cancer was more of a threat.
A year later, she was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer - inflammatory breast cancer. She had a double-mastectomy. We were able to bring her home for 24 hours and then had to take her back the hospital with the help of hospice. She passed away, comfortable, and surrounded by tons of family and friends 24 hours later.
During those years, I spent a lot of time as her primary caregiver. I also went to a cancer support group for patients and caregivers and learned a lot from their experiences.
For the past few years, I've done volunteer work for an organization called the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing. They do a camp every Summer for kids who have been through a traumatic loss. The kids are paired up with an adult "buddy" who is with them all weekend. Their "buddy" has gone through the same type of loss that they went through, so my first year, I was matched with an 8 year old girl whose mom had died of colon cancer. It was really helpful to her to see that I too had lost my mom to cancer and I was okay. So she will be too! I think it's helpful for anyone who loses a loved one to illness will be okay. Sometimes it's hard to believe that. Through my experience with The Wendt Center, I've learned a lot about the grief process.
In my free time, I have far too many hobbies. I love to travel, I love cooking and photography, and I take far too many classes.
My mom was a landscape designer, and I try to help my dad maintain her beautiful garden. I'm glad he's still in the same house, because when I'm gardening, I always feel like she's right there next to me.
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