Lung Cancer Awareness Month is over. Or is it…? It doesn’t matter how you got this terrible disease. But when a person says they have lung cancer the reaction is: Did you smoke? To that end, I learned to turn around their question/statement to “Can I ask you why you asked that?” moment. It goes back to that nagging stigma that so many of us are trying to change.
World Lung Cancer Day, August 1, 2016. Four years ago was the very first World Lung Cancer Day. It isn’t a silly day like National Pizza Day or Hammock Day……World Lung Cancer Day isn’t there to celebrate—just the opposite. We are trying to raise awareness for the deadliest of all cancers—worldwide!
Nuts and bolts—the necessary connection….another way to think of this metaphor: researchers, patients, survivors, oncologists need advocates to help make the connections they can’t do on their own. We are the nuts (no pun intended); they are the bolts.
I was going to start off with who I am: wife, mother, military spouse, volunteer and ending up with who I’ve become—advocate…….I thought that with my “Google MD,” “Band-Aids,” hugs and kisses I could give Jillian life and dreams. That’s what moms do!
I know that no one is comfortable talking about lung cancer. It’s the elephant in the room, about “moving the needle” and, of course, “white is the new pink”—all efforts to talk about lung cancer.
For the first 10 months I didn’t want to talk. When I did, I asked questions—lots of questions. I was better at note-taking and writing to myself than talking. In July 2012, at age 28, my daughter Jillian was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, adenocarcinoma with metastases.