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Kristi C.

While listening to Kristi's story, it's evident that she has had quite a journey with lung cancer over the past few years. Throughout her story, we learn about her experiences with researching clinical trials, how she has been coping with her diagnosis and the importance of having hope.

Kristi recalls her experiences before she learned about her diagnosis. “In November of 2020, I started to have a dry cough, and it wasn't really bad so I let it go for a couple weeks. Then I did a COVID-19 test because I thought maybe I caught COVID. It was negative. I waited until after Christmas and contacted my doctor. She thought it was asthma, then she thought maybe it was bronchitis. So I did those series of treatments and it was sort of getting better but not really. Then she ordered an x-ray and then a CT scan. The CT scan wasn't a priority and was booked out a couple weeks. So the x-ray showed something - they told me, maybe it's pneumonia.”

After completing multiple scans and tests and seeing numerous doctors, she was eventually diagnosed with lung cancer. “I knew I had cancer because the fluid tested positive. I just didn't know what stage. So then I had to wait to find out what stage I was and what my mutations were.” By February, Kristi received a stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis and started treatment with chemotherapies. In the meantime, she was desperately searching for other options.

After researching her options, Kristi was on a mission to get surgery. She was told numerous times that they wouldn’t do surgery because she was stage 4, or they could do it but she would have to pay out of pocket which wasn’t an option. Finally, her doctor was able to refer her to another surgeon who eventually did her pneumonectomy. During her surgery, she had her left lung and 22 lymph nodes removed. After the surgery, she learned there was more lymph node involvement than shown on her previous scan, so Kristi continued to get second opinions and search for clinical trials.

“I'm a pediatric occupational therapist. I don't have a huge background, as far as trials but I certainly have a few clients that have done trials. I think I just knew once the surgery wasn't working, I definitely pushed to have my scans sooner. I knew the timing was quick as far as progression and I had a gut feeling that I should because I didn't think I would have much time to wait and find out. I've learned that trials take a really long time.”

Kristi also mentions how it was difficult finding trials she could participate in. “Based on criteria, I didn't make the trial because I had started my third line of treatment or I had the pneumonectomy or the non-small cell lung cancer cohort was closed. It was a lot of calling around, a lot of work and then it's not an option.”

Kristi emphasized how much she values the support she has received throughout her journey and how her diagnosis has affected her relationships with friends and family.

“I have 3 kids. It's a lot to juggle. But as a mom, you sort of keep everything running and together. I think my