My Roller Coaster Adventure Ride

Well, that bump was bigger than expected! Sadly the radiation in October did not do the cancer-crushing work we were hoping it would. My recovery wasn’t going as well as anticipated, and tests showed I had pneumonia as well as cancer growth. My oncologist and I discussed chemotherapy, which is the only treatment option available to me currently.

My oncologist and I both reached out to some Canadian lung cancer researchers to investigate whether there might be a clinical trial suitable for me available in Canada, either now or in the near future. I was disappointed but not surprised to learn that there is nothing on the horizon.

There are some possibilities in the US, so I applied for the “ALK Second Opinion Program”, which is funded by some generous people affected by the same kind of lung cancer that is affecting me (ALK). I learned within a couple of hours that my application was accepted, so the program will pay for me to have an online appointment with one of the top ALK researchers in the world. I have met most of the doctors on their list, and it is a tough decision because they are not only brilliant but also very kind. I plan to go with the Boston team because, although Dr. Alice Shaw is not spending much time seeing patients there now, they may have a clinical trial appropriate for me in future, and Boston is much easier to travel to than Nashville or Colorado. My oncologist has very kindly offered to participate in the online appointment with me, and one of my dear ALK sisters has offered to walk with me through this process. I’m very grateful for the support.

I had my first chemo of 2020 on Monday November 30. It hit pretty hard, and I had to go to emergency with a fever which turned out to be another round of pneumonia. Antibiotics helped a lot, and I’m feeling much better. I’m still very tired, coughing a fair bit, and having problems swallowing (since August). Thankfully there is soup, and I’m very grateful for friends who have brought so much soup!! It’s great to have different kinds of soup that I don’t typically make, and it’s so nice to not have to make it myself!

My next chemo is Monday December 21, which will get me through the holidays, as my awesome oncologist noted. The following one is scheduled for January 11. Apart from the blood tests on the Fridays before, I’m hoping to not need any additional hospital visits! 😀

This is quite a change from the targeted therapy lifestyle, which tends to be much more smooth sailing, with fewer appointments and blood tests. I’m so very grateful for my many years of reasonably good health while living with stage four lung cancer. I never expected to live seven years past my diagnosis, and now I have much more hope than I did at diagnosis. I am hopeful for new treatment options. I hope that the chemo I’m on now will work more effectively with fewer side effects than the older harsher chemo I took in 2013-14. I hope researchers will develop new treatment options that will be available just when I need them. That has been my roller coaster adventure ride with lung cancer these seven years, and I hope for more! Oh yes I do!!

More than that, I hope for more research to extend the lives of many more people affected by lung cancer, because there are so many of us and we all want life and need hope. So if you know any lung cancer researchers, please thank them for the good work they are doing and encourage them to keep up the good work with diligence and urgency. So many of us are counting on them!

I’ve worked hard to keep doing light weights, stretching and walking through the Fall. My daily step count has fallen below my usual 9000-10,000, but I haven’t given up hope!

So grateful for friends, for so many delicious soups (and other yummy things!), and for so many calls and messages. This has really sustained me and helped keep me buoyed up.

I don’t talk about my faith a lot, and I would never want anyone to feel like I’m pushing Christianity on anyone. I want to be clear, please stop reading if you are feeling offended. My relationship with God means so much to me, and keeps me going. God is good all the time, and I am grateful for the love of God poured out through Jesus, and the ever-present comfort of the Holy Spirit. It’s the love of Jesus that motivates my advocacy, and any good I do is because of God working through me.


32 thoughts on “My Roller Coaster Adventure Ride

      • You have been and continue to be in our prayers Jill!

        May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ROMANS:15:13

        With love and hope,
        Monique, Paul and Jessie

  1. We are praying for you Jill and continue to hold on to hope that God is in control of all things.
    Love you –
    Peace and blessings –
    Karen & Glenn Cooper

  2. Such a journey takes such strength. Trusting and praying that as God has so faithfully met your need He will continue to provide each new day.

  3. Praying for you Jill and for your family. You are the beloved child of the author and sustainer of life. Your courage is an inspiration.

  4. Jill Standing in the Lord with you and for you. May He supply you richly. Love in the Lord Ron and Chris MacVicar

    On Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 4:14 PM Through the Valley wrote:

    > Jill posted: ” Well, that bump was bigger than expected! Sadly the > radiation in October did not do the cancer-crushing work we were hoping it > would. My recovery wasn’t going as well as anticipated, and tests showed I > had pneumonia as well as cancer growth. My oncologis” >

  5. I wish I could give you a big – no, huge – hug! But since I can’t, please know that I am also a Christian and I will pray for you and that the chemo smacks your cancer down, that it will keep working, and that there will soon be another ALK treatment available. God bless.

  6. Oh Jill. I’m so sorry to read that the radiation didn’t work as hoped but I’m so hopeful for your future after reading of your wonderful attitude, the program you’ve entered into and your faith. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. You’ve got this!

  7. Oh Jill I’m so sorry to hear this terrible news.
    And yes every day the researchers come up with new things. Please know you are in my thoughts always xxoo

  8. Jill,
    You and I are twins. I am 8+ years out and you hit the nail on the head re/targeted therapy being smooth sailing compared to chemo. I too have run out of the usual options and am now on chemo. I have the BRAF mutation (also MET amplification) and was on targeted therapy successfully for 18 months. Life was good indeed! Then it stopped working and here I am with all of the chemo side effects. I realize everyone is different; your story just struck a note. Good luck finding new treatments and I look forward to following you, Warrior Sister! Greta

  9. Dear Jill,

    Thank you for sharing your journey. Be assured of my prayers sister!

    Love in Him, Joy (from St. George’s so many years ago.)

  10. Thanks for getting out there and speaking up! Your story is one of faith, hope, and love. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. WE always stay in the HOPE ⚓️ God Bless You 🙏

  11. I am so sorry Jill – you and the kids have been through so much. I pray that the Lord will comfort and eradicate those horrible cells that are causing you so much trouble. You are a brave soul and an inspiration.
    Love in Christ

  12. Will continue praying for you, Jill.
    Thanking God for you, for your courage and most of all for sharing your faith.
    May the Lord, our Great Physician be your strength.

  13. So sorry you’re going through the Chemo treatment again but hope is still yours with faith in His presence and love for you. I was blessed with news of being cancer free after five years and minus one lung lobe on my right side which hampers breathing but it was great news I pray the same for you in the near future I will continue to pray for you and your family. Blessings for the Christmas season as you await the celebration of Christ’s birth Marion

    Sent from my iPhone


  14. Jill, I am not really sure what to say. It’s such a challenge, at times, to go through life as a person with lung cancer. My heart truly goes out to you. I too was diagnosed 7 years ago and I think we have walked a similar path in many ways with regards to treatment. I am thankful for my current targeted therapy treatment but appreciate that one never knows what waits. My scan is tomorrow and I remain ever hopeful that there is no change. Please know my good thoughts are with you as we both live our hopes and not our fears.

  15. Thank you Jill for sharing your challenging day by day journey of love hope and faith with us. May your experience Gods deep healing as you with with baby Jesus in the transforming darkness of Mary’s womb these days. Love and prayers Ruth

  16. Your faith in God is what gives you the hope and the courage to continue in your journery! It is was sustains me as well and it is so great to hear your speak of this!

  17. Thanks for sharing Jill, I’m sorry for this part of your journey and my thoughts are with you as you move through it. You’re an amazing influencer and advocate for lung cancer and your voice continues to be needed. Hang in there! Bev
    PS sending you a big virtual hug too!

  18. Hello Jill, I was remiss not to ask you earlier about your health. I am glad now to follow your blog so I am in more in tune with you and your health. I will pray for you and for your needs for a research project. Thank you for being open and honest about your journey. It can be hard to be vulnerable. May God protect and defend you: body, mind and spirit.

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