This letter to the editor was originally published at MLive.com (Michigan Local News) on November 1st, 2013.
by Tori Tomalia
The pink-infused Breast Cancer Awareness month is drawing to a close, and I have to commend the marketing minds behind that phenomenon, because pink is everywhere. However, few people know that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and sadly the support for lung cancer research is greatly lacking. Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
Like many people, I thought little of lung cancer until just a few months ago.
My journey started with a nagging cough, a series of chest colds that seemed to drag on for ages, and a return of my childhood asthma that did not improve despite several different prescriptions.
Then, one afternoon in late May, I got the devastating news that I had lung cancer. As a healthy, non-smoking mother of a five-year-old and two-year-old twins, I could not fathom how this could be possible. It has spread to my spine, ribs, hip, and liver, making me Stage IV. The prognosis is not good. However, so far the chemo is working to shrink the tumors, buying me more time.
For me, this extra time means that I got to see my son turn five, and attend his first day of kindergarten. I had the gift of watching my girls master the art of riding the tricycle. I went on picnics, movie dates with my husband, and family bowling trips, joys that I once took for granted.
The hope for me lies is sticking around long enough for the next big medical breakthrough in lung cancer. I am hopeful that it is coming. You can help by giving a donation to one of these foundations that fund lung cancer research:
Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
Lung Cancer Alliance, or Text LUNG to 27722 to Make a $10 Donation
The next time you laugh with a friend, sigh at a sunset, or blow out a birthday candle, pause in honor of the lungs that let you do those things. And make sure others get the chance to take their next breath.
Follow Tori's journey through this diagnosis and treatment on her blog.