Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!
Location: Los Angeles
Diagnoses: Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Adenocarcinoma
Age at Diagnoses: 46
How are you currently treating your conditions?
I had been on chemotherapy (Alimta) for over 2.5 years -- through 40 cycles -- and just stopped to take a break before switching to another treatment. I will either qualify for a new clinical trial on an immunotherapy combination regimen or I will try a targeted therapy for a specific DNA mutation, pending the results of a liquid biopsy that will take place this coming week. I also have tried staying generally active, eating a healthy and balanced diet that is high in protein, and working a lot on things that bring me joy.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
The hardest thing has been fending off fatigue, both physical and mental. But I have found that the more active and engaged I can be, the better the results.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
Focusing on finding the beauty in everything around me. And when it comes right down to it, simple acceptance of what I need to do and that it has to get done.
How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
Some days this can be a bit tricky, but I think about what I love in life and what is important to me beyond just how I feel. The more I engage with the world, the easier it is to envision myself a worthwhile part of it. I try to live in the moment, with an eye to the future -- goals remain important and there is a lot that I still want to get done.
If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Exercise matters -- stay off the couch as much as you can.
Do you have a blog you would like to share?
My blog is at www.justbadforyou.com/blog (I have chronicled my experience with cancer there since Nov. 2014, and occasionally write about other things, too)
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