On January 23, 2014 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. I've always been a health nut of sorts. I didn't smoke, ate well, and exercised regularly. My family doctor told me in the fall of 2013, that I had the vitals, blood pressure, and heart rate like a professional athlete.
About a month or two after my annual wellness exam, I developed an occasional cough, back to back colds and fatigue. In mid, January, I went to the doctor with some shortness of breath, and a swollen lymph node near my collar bone. This prompted the doctor to do chest X-Rays and later a CT scan. It wasn't until a lung biopsy followed by consultation with a pulmonologist, that I learned of the Stage 4 diagnoses. Since then, my family and I have had our world turned upside down. We learned Lung Cancer has a very high mortality rate. Under standard chemotherapy for my cancer, it would only slow the progression temporarily. I was given potentially 9-12 months of survival with treatment. Within the coming weeks we learned my cancer is ALK + which is a mutation found in about 5-6 percent of Lung Cancer patients. This is among a growing list of known mutations that are becoming more and more treatable.
Following another two weeks of grueling pain, hospitalization, and chemotherapy treatment, I began a new targeted therapy. Within a few days of starting the medication I began to feel better, and my breathing began improving.
By March 1, 2014, my oncologist, with a smile on his face, showed me my latest scans. There was a dramatic reduction in the tumors in my Lungs. By the next CT scan the disease had almost completely disappeared from my body and it was declared in REMISSION!
Over the past few months, there have been a few bumps in the road. In November I had to have surgery on my right lung. Shortly before my surgery, I met Chris Draft. Two days prior to my surgery, Chris took a friend and I to a Carolina Panthers game. I had been very anxious about my upcoming surgery. He felt this would be a great distraction.
It was an awesome experience. We had so much fun. It helped me forget about the worry, and focus on living in the moment. On surgery day, my attitude had changed to a positive one. My surgeon and his team did an amazing job. My attitude was very positive throughout my recovery, thanks to Chris Draft's encouragement and motivation.
Also during the same month, one of my best friends, Rick, was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Like me, he is a young father, healthy fit person, and non-smoker. I encouraged him to ask a lot of questions to his doctors and to not view this diagnoses as a death sentence.
I asked Chris Draft to give him a call to encourage him. My friend, Rick, who had been very upset, learned to put on his warrior face, too. He started chemo and radiation, and is doing very well. Chris made a surprise visit to Rick and his family on Thanksgiving Day. They watched football together, cheered for their favorite players, and had a big feast!
Both my friend and I are very thankful for the Support of the Chris Draft Family Foundation. The Foundation has helped thousands of survivors and is dedicated to changing the FACE OF LUNG CANCER. This cancer is often mislabeled as a "smokers’ disease." Chris' organization is focused on raising awareness that anyone with lungs can get Lung Cancer.
As the stigma shifts, together we can beat Lung Cancer. More research and development is needed for long term medications, and even one day a cure!!! Education and Awareness is key to the process with the Leadership of the Chris Draft Family Foundation behind it.
Your donation will help change the number one cancer killer to dead last!!!
We hope you will step up and donate TODAY offering survivors HOPE!!!
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