Photo credit: Sharon Stern
I was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in January, 2013, just four months after getting married. My particular type of cancer is adenocarcinoma non-small cell lung cancer.
At the time of my diagnosis, American Cancer Society statistics indicated a five year survival rate of only five percent. I went through chemo and radiation in 2013, and for two years I took a powerful, targeted therapy drug called Tarceva, a pill I took every day until my cancer mutated around it.
In June, 2015, I learned that my cancer had spread. It is now in both of my lungs, my liver and abdomen, cervix and pelvis. I have a one inch tumor in my brain. Chemo proved to be intolerable for me, so I’ve decided not to do any more chemo and entered into hospice in July, 2015. I have felt only peace and relief since making this decision.
From the beginning I have worked to find a balance between hope and acceptance, coming to terms with the reality of my situation while still living each day as joyfully and purposefully as my health allows.
My column, At the Top of My Lungs, is published on The Huffington Post. I have been a guest lecturer at U.C. Berkeley, and a guest speaker at spas and resorts including Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, and Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona.
I am an active advocate for making aid in dying a legally authorized option for the terminally ill.
With more than 25 years of experience as a public relations professional, I have held executive positions at companies including Holiday Inn, Intuit, Oracle, Sony and Facebook.
I live with my family in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.