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Chris F.

What led me to get a checkup was a quarter-sized, football shaped hard lump on the side of my head in the temporal area, found when brushing my hair. I went to my family doctor who sent me for an X-ray. The X-ray was inconclusive. The next step was a bone scan which showed something there. Next was a CT scan which showed a lesion. The blessing being that there was just one! My primary care doctor referred me to my now oncologist. More tests showed that the lump on my skull had metastasized from lung cancer. My diagnosis is RLL metastatic lung cancer, adenocarcinoma. I received my final diagnosis December 17th, 2020, one day before my already scheduled retirement date and two days before my birthday.

I'm almost positive that I stopped breathing and held my breath for months afterwards. My mind went to my mother who passed away 33 years ago from lung cancer. I thought about my sweet husband, who has always been my rock, sitting next to me in shock. How will I tell my children, my sister, my nieces, and my friends? What about my grandchildren - they need me as much as I need them! Not to mention my retirement date, which we had planned for over a year, was to be the very next day! How was this happening to me??!! The uncertainty, the fear, the what if’s, the unknown, chemotherapy, side effects, the never-ending thoughts in my head that wouldn't let me be at peace.

My chemotherapy journey began January 11, 2021. I had ten rounds of chemo, once every three weeks. Like most, the side effects were hard on me, physically and emotionally. My first set of scans after beginning chemo showed shrinkage in the skull and lung tumors. My second set of scans showed both stable. My third set of scans showed that the skull was stable (and still just one, no spreading) and the lung had progression of disease. That's when the decision was made to start Lumakras (Sotorasib) for the KRAS G12c mutation. My scans after 14 weeks on Lumakras show significant shrinkage in lung tumors and skull. I have been on Lumakras for five months now, just starting my sixth month, and most days I feel like my "before chemo" self! I've had very few side effects and my labs have been within normal range. I've gone from having blood work once a week to once every four weeks. My next scans are scheduled for February 23, 2022.

One year later, I am thankful for waking up each day, my husband, my rock still loving me and taking care of me, making time for more memories with my three children, my ten precious grandchildren, my sister, my nieces, and my friends. Being able to hold my adorable new great-nephew, letting go of the what if's, learning to allow God to drive my "life journey bus," not giving up, staying positive, fighting the good fight, and letting FAITH OVER FEAR help me be at peace.

Each month, KRAS Kickers is pleased to present a Survivor Story. These are the journeys of cancer survivors that have graciously offered to share this part of their lives with us to provide an awareness of community and hope to our readers. None of us are in this alone, and we all have a story to tell.


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