Cissy’s Story

I am now 35 and was diagnosed at age 32. I am STK-11, KRAS, ALK, and EFGR negative. In October of 2015, I had a four-month old son Jackson who kept me on my toes and didn’t sleep well. When I began having horrible headaches and began to experience vertigo, which I had never had before, I decided I needed to see a doctor.

My neighborhood walk-in clinic and nurse practitioner ultimately saved my life by listening to my concerns. After an abnormal MRI, she immediately told me to go to Vanderbilt and that I couldn’t drive myself…they would know I was coming. After being seen in the ER by a neurologist and neurosurgeons, I was admitted. I had a golf ball sized brain tumor blocking the brain stem fluid and causing the vertigo. I was kept on steroids to reduce the swelling and was scheduled for the following Monday for brain surgery.

Surrounded by family and friends, Monday came and the surgery was successful. While operating, seven other small tumors were found; these would be fought with steriotactic radio surgery. It was a long 4 days before I got the soul crushing phone call that I had stage 4 lung cancer. I was started on immunotherapy that didn’t work and then moved to carboplatin that I had an allergic reaction to. I’ve endured brain radiation and lung radiation. I’ve been on Avastin and Alimta for 1.5 years and I am thrilled to report that I am stable. No brain tumors to speak of, and nothing is “lighting up” in my lungs.

I still take chemo every 4 weeks and pray that things remain the same. I’m so thankful for my 3-year-old that keeps me on my toes and my loving supportive husband. I enjoy taking trips and living my life to the fullest. I enjoy having the energy, most of the time, to participate in Orange Theory (gym). I’m thankful for God, my support system and small wins.