By Deva Lambert
Being a grandmother has been the best thing that has happened to my life. In my wildest imagination I never knew it could be this rewarding. Especially since it was almost taken away from me…
In 2007, I was diagnosed with early stage lung cancer and had my right lower lobe removed. At that time it was not recommended I undergo chemo or radiation.
Then, four years later, on May 24, 2011 a CT scan determined the cancer had returned. I really thought they were going to go in and remove the rest of the lung but once in surgery it was discovered that the cancer had invaded the entire chest wall. Surgically, there was just nothing they could do.
The cancer was now stage IV. So after taking six weeks to recover from surgery I started radiation every day for a week. Then it was off to chemo. I was not given very good odds–just three to 18 months!
But wait just a minute, I’m 53 years old and I have a wonderful husband, children, family, friends AND grandchildren. I had lived my life waiting for grandchildren and I wasn’t going out now. There was just too much I was going to miss. So I battled on.
And, after more than five years and well over 100 rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, a brain surgery for metastases I am still battling and am currently on Opdivo, a new immunotherapy.
It wasn’t always easy. There was a time years ago when I thought I would never get through chemo and all the treatments but I can tell you it was worth every minute. I am now five years into stage IV and going through treatment has given me the opportunity to experience so much joy. I have been able to spend a very significant amount of time with my family, especially those grandbabies.
We have been to Hawaii, the river, Disneyland, the beach, Catalina and most recently to the Island of Mustique. I have seen them participate in sports events, graduations, proms, winter formals, medallion balls; watched them go off to college and the list goes on and on.
As a grandmother I get to pass on my values, share family history, laugh, teach and stand back with great pride as I watch each one flourish and come into their own.
As a mother all of this was my responsibility. Now, it is my reward. As scary as stage IV lung cancer can be I have to say it really brings the family together. We all know we are not here forever, but the diagnosis is like getting your “train ticket”. The family knows my time is limited and it’s time to unite like never before.
In closing I have to say LCA is an organization that is going to help make my story, the story of many. Lung cancer is a tough disease. It takes the lives of SO MANY but as we all fight together, we will continue to make strides that enable individuals to get the early diagnosis that is necessary to enable longevity.
So, my message to any diagnosed grandparents out there or anyone who may be just sitting back scared. Stand up and fight, go laugh, go have fun, go live. Those grandbabies are truly your reward for all those years as mom!