Why I work hard as a lung cancer advocate:

Six years and seven weeks ago, like many other parents of young children in the schoolyard that year, I had a cold with a cough which persisted.

Six years ago I was constantly coughing, and beginning to realize that the inhaler the doctor prescribed wasn’t working. I coughed so much I had to step down from the choir I had been rehearsing with to sing Messiah. 

Six years ago we had started to suspect something was terribly wrong. I could hardly speak a sentence without coughing. When faced with a flight of stairs, I wondered if I could climb them. 

We knew something was wrong, but had no idea it could be lung cancer. I started undergoing a myriad of tests, and when we finally got my diagnosis that December, it seemed impossible. When I learned I had advanced lung cancer I had no hope.

I did not know what to expect, but I never expected this: that six years later I am living life!

I had no idea I would still be alive six years later, never imagined I could be this alive and vibrant.

I never dreamed I would live this long. 

Shortly after my diagnosis I read the research on Crizotinib, the first new targeted therapy pill my oncologist mentioned. I rejoiced that so many of the people on Crizotinib were still alive six months later. Six months seemed like such a long time, such a lot of opportunity to live, such a great gift for someone with lung cancer…  and here I am, six years later.

Six years: chemo, Crizotinib, Clinical Trial: Ceritinib, Alectinib, Lorlatinib. Cutting edge new research keeping me alive these years. Every time the cancer outsmarted a med, a new treatment has been available – typically just in the nick of time – so very grateful! Research is giving me so many days to celebrate, gifts of countless moments, memories, milestones.

My children were 6, 10 and 12 when I was diagnosed. They have had a Mom right with them as they’ve grown these six years. My daughter is now 12, my sons 16 and 18. My oldest started University this Fall (Electrical Engineering and Physics, still living at home!). I’m still in the picture. I still get to talk with them, cook for them, hug them, encourage them, love them.

“Grateful” is only the beginning of how immensely thankful I am to be alive and living so well six years later. I thank God for lung cancer research and the difference it makes. 

#ResearchMatters 

8 thoughts on “Why I work hard as a lung cancer advocate:

  1. Great article. Thank you for being an awesome advocate for all of us living with this horrendous disease and for those we have lost♥️🙏

  2. What sheer joy your photos emit. What a blessing. Prayers for many many more years. Decades! God bless you, Jill,for all of your advocacy!

  3. Thank you Jill. Research does hold the answers to the mysteries of effective lung cancer treatments. Your example reminds all that there are great things being done and there is hope!

  4. So happy to hear that you are still doing well and that you have been able to have such a strong influence on your children through the process. I’m with h you in thanking God for the medical breakthroughs and the healing process. All the Best Dave Myrfield ( Connie’s uncle).

  5. Jill
    A beautiful post and we are so blessed to know you and that research has given you the chance to live, enjoy your family and become such a fantastic and determined advocate for lung cancer research. Hugs. Thank you!!

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