My Story

I was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma of my lung in December of 2014 . The EGFR was exon 21, P.L 858R. I was diagnosed by going into cardiac tamponade with 870 ml of fluid. The fluid tested positive for the cancer and mutation. I had R supraclavicular, R paratracheal, subcarinal & L infrahilar lymph node involvement. A 7mm Right frontal lobe brain lesion and bone metsR scapular, spine at C5,6, T2& T4. Not bad for a lady who never smoked and thought she was healthy. I tell you this because I was hopeless when the Oncologist told me I had a year, maybe two. Then I met a lady with stage IV lung cancer with mets to her pancreas who was without evidence of disease. She gave me hope and recommended a book; Anti cancer A NEW WAY OF LIFE (yellow sticker newest studies) by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD. This is a physician from Pittsburgh who discovered he had a brain tumor and his journey. He talks about the need to change your terrain so the cancer can't grow. I have adopted eating as much of the antioxidants as I can. Berries, lots of them, along with spinach, mushrooms, flaxseed with hemp and avoid processed foods. While my doctor says there is no scientific proof that diet with the diet. I believe my friend and I are. She has no evidence of disease 5 years and I celebrated my 1 year anniversary the end of September 2016. I had one stereotactic radiation treatment to my brain, take Tarceva daily and get an IV infusion of Avastin every four weeks. Oh, and did I mention prayer? I talk to God all the time. I am ever grateful to God for His kindness and letting me take this opportunity to grow spiritually and give others hope. I wish all of you a healthy happy future and for me, I feel blessed and appreciate everyday that I have.

15 Replies

  • Thanks ricefam this sounds like a verry helpful book I will be trying to find a copy soon. You are the second person to mention it since I joined this community only yesterday. I am definitely ready to do everything I can to stay ahead in this battle. Good luck to you and god bless.

    Thanks, RW

  • Good luck to you. Stay positive, even though it's hard at times. The book is very helpful. It talks about toxins in products such as paraben and methylparaben, which is a carcinogen that is even in baby washes and some shampoos. I quit dying my hair. God put me in style because my hair is now gray. There are so many areas that the book opened my eyes to.

  • How encouraging for any of us who have recently been dx with such a scary disease. Your story gives me hope and i thank you for your bravery. I had surgery in july and have been blessed not to have chemo but have struggled emotionally, yes i do pray but also cry a lot.. Is this normal? I just don't know.

  • Yes, this is normal. You've had an awful scary diagnosis. The stage doesn't matter. Its scary as heck hearing those words "You have lung cancer". Your life will never be the same. The surgery was only a few months ago and I imagine there's pain or neuropathy reminding you all the time.

    Its my belief that God gave us medical science to fight the frailties of our body. One tool medical science has given us is medications that can help us cope with the realities of the disease. Anti depressants can be given for a short time while you adjust to your new normal. Its for situations like this that they were developed.

  • Surgery wasn't an option for me because my cancer was too far along. My cardiac surgeon told me right after my diagnosis that I could feel sorry for myself and take a few days to process everything, but then kick myself in the butt and get on with life. I think it's normal to cry and I did as well. Surround yourself with positive people & watch programs that make you laugh. From all that I have read, cancer thrives when we are hopeless, stressed and sad. I asked my doctor if he would order something to help me in the beginnng to deal with my diagnosis and fear of the unknown. He put me on Lexapro that helped me tremendously and I still take it.

  • Welcome to the Free to Breathe Lung Cancer Boards. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future

  • Thank you. I enjoy reading your responses. You are very knowledgeable.

  • Thank you. I appreciate all your responses

  • My Family Practice MD recommended that book to me when diagnosed in 2010. she, too had experienced cancer, but in the breast. I found the book very encouraging and have tried to tailor my diet slowly, but surely time "to improve my terrain". Food is medicine 😊

    Take care and best hopes,


  • Same to you. We have to learn to walk before we can run. I did the same with starting slowly to add items to my diet, but did go heavy with berries, mushrooms, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli & cabbage. I mixed mushrooms, spinach & flaxseed with hemp (Costco) in a scrambled egg almost everyday. I use mostly avocado oil or coconut oil for cooking. Avocado oil has a higher heat index. I eat things today that I never did before and have enjoyed my new diet. It is hard when you eat out, but I try to do a meal that has some antioxidants in it.

  • Welcome! Your story, although a very tough one, brings so much hope and power with it. Thank you.

  • Ricefam,

    It sounds like you are doing very well indeed. Faith, improved diet and lifestyle, and wonderful treatments are a powerful combination.

    Your doctor is keeping up with latest developments, that's for sure. The combination Tarceva and Avastin was shown to increase progression-free survival over Tarceva alone in a Japanese study published in 2014. Here is a link to the ASCO abstract about the study:

    Wishing you continued wellness!


  • Thanks, Anita. He said that I was the first patient he has used this combination of medications on. He also said that I will be on both medications for life, unless I have a reaction to either, or if I have progression of disease. I go to Hillman in Pittsburgh and couldn't be more pleased with his team or treatment. God has been very good to me.

  • I'm curious - how long have you been taking the Avastin? I like the schedule your doctor has you on, four weeks gives you a nice window for recovery between infusions. Anita

  • I started on a three week schedule and went to 4 weeks after I showed no evidence of disease in Sept. 2015 and will stay on this schedule, unless I develop side effects or have progression of disease.

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