Eva was 46 when she heard the words, “stage IV lung cancer” last year. She wasn’t a smoker and lived an athletic and healthy lifestyle, so the diagnosis came as a shock.
After not feeling well and experiencing shortness of breath while biking, Eva went to see her primary care provider. A chest x-ray revealed fluid around her lung and she was referred to a pulmonologist to have the fluid drained.
Because symptoms of the disease often don’t present until the later stages and because there is no early detection test for lung cancer, Eva’s cancer was stage IV. Thankfully her primary doctors’ swift actions sent the ball rolling immediately.
“I have been receiving state of the art care since the beginning, “Eva says. She gets treated at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
Eva also believes in the importance of support and a caring network of supporters. She is fortunate to have had friends accompany her to treatments and coworkers donate their leave time so that she didn’t have to face more financial hardships, but she knows that’s not the case for everyone.
For those who don’t have access to local support, organizations like LUNGevity provide online support for anyone globally. LUNGevity is the largest private funder of lung cancer research and also offers the largest online support network for those affected by lung cancer. LUNGevity also understands the importance of education and survivorship and hosts the only lung cancer specific national summit for lung cancer survivors, called the HOPE Summit.
This year Eva was able to attend Hope Summit May 4-6, 2012 in Washington DC. It was a weekend of educational sessions and celebration of survivorship. The participants ranged in age from 26-71 and travelled as far as Scotland to attend. Since the summit, empowered lung cancer survivors have given interviews, raised awareness at survivor events and participated in raising funds for lung cancer research.
Recently Eva participated in a 5K mud run with 14 obstacles. She completed the entire event!
Eva is also involved in Breathe Deep Seattle, a LUNGevity event that raises support and funds for lung cancer research.
“My greatest hopes for lung cancer, besides a cure, are to decrease the stigma surrounding it and to increase funding for lung cancer research. I wish people wouldn’t ask me if I smoked. The stigma and under-funding are discouraging.”
Eva loves to spend time with her children, her friends, her dog and participating in outdoor activities and events.
She hopes you will join her August 11, 2012 at Lincoln Park for Breathe Deep Seattle to celebrate survivorship and hope.
About Breathe Deep Seattle:
Breathe Deep Seattle was started to honor Sara Ratzenberger and others who have fought or are fighting lung cancer. In 2010, at 31 years old, Sara was diagnosed with stage lV lung cancer after living for six months with a misdiagnoses of pneumonia. Because Sara has never smoked and has always been healthy and active, even her own medical team did not consider lung cancer a possibility when screening tests came back inconclusive. Only after undergoing intensive lung surgery was her lung cancer finally discovered. Sara is currently in treatment. We want others to know that lung cancer is not a smoker’s disease, and that lung cancer has no boundaries. Please join us to raise awareness of Sara’s situation and that of many others. We want to make sure that the next person and the next generation are diagnosed early and accurately.