In May of 2016 I was getting an annual physical when my Primary Care Doctor told me I was able to get a screening CT of my lungs based upon my smoking history and my willingness to quit if something showed up. I am 56 and otherwise in good health but decided to do it for me and my family. Well something did show up and within a week I had a biopsy performed and received my diagnosis. Small cell lung cancer, limited stage. I had one tumor in the mediastinal region and 2 lymph nodes that tested positive. The most positive thing at that point was that I was totally asymptomatic and it was caught very early.
I went to an acupuncturist and within 2 days was able to quit smoking which is amazing since I smoked for 40 years. While all cancer treatment plans are different, I now have a better understanding and respect for anyone who has gone through and come out the other side of treatment. Respect for the patient, family, close friends, and all the doctors, nurses, technicians, schedulers, and any of the many, many people involved whose love, caring and expertise brings about a better quality of life for all. I have discovered that while I was the one with the cancer, many people suffered because of it and it was up to me to do everything I could to beat this for me and for them. From my first screening scan on May 25th until my last “official” treatment in late October, we have been through many ups and downs. Fifteen days of twice a day of targeted radiation on a Varian Medical TrueBeam STx system. Five cycles of Chemotherapy, 3 days on and 18 days off, of Cisplatin and VP-16. Ten days of Prophylactic cranial radiation, two Neulasta injections, two units of packed red blood cells and many other tests and side effects to deal with. As of today, March 14,2017 I am cancer free! I realize the nature of small cell lung cancer but for now all the hard work and effort put in by all has paid off and I have a new lease on life for now. The most amazing thing to me of all is that in a 5 month period I was diagnosed and have been through a cancer treatment program and come out the other side.
My care was provided by Dayton Physicians Network, a group of 44 physicians that practice at 13 different locations in the Dayton, Ohio area. Out of the 13 locations, I have been to 5 of them for various tests, scans, blood work and doctors’ visits. By having one group have so many practice locations, I had the ability to go to any one of them if the closest location was unavailable for any reason. Instead of having to wait for a week or a month or longer for an appointment at one location, they just checked and found out which location was available for my needs. Knowing that I had a community of doctors, nurses, and support staff available to me at any time and at any location was invaluable to me. Knowing that the flow of information concerning my case was easily accessible no matter which location I was at was also very comforting. The whole process was very fluid to me and my cancer was treated very aggressively and in a very expeditious manner and in a successful manner. I cannot say enough positive things about the care I received. There is one question that I asked several people at Dayton Physicians. Whether it was the hematologist, the radiation technician, the front desk people, or my oncology RN, I saw who and what they dealt with everyday and it seemed overwhelming to me. I asked, “How can you do this everyday? Isn’t it depressing?”. EVERY single one of them replied the same way…. I just love my job. I can tell you it showed they did in the way they cared for me, my family, and my friends.