My Lung Cancer Journey: Connecting With My Immuno-Oncologist


Stacy Foltz

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When you hear a doctor say, “You have cancer,” it’s a terrible thing. But now I know it’s not an automatic death sentence. There is hope—you just have to find the right doctor and the right care.

A couple years ago, when I was 45 years old, a doctor gave me the news: I had stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. I’d been struggling to kick a cough for a while, and after spending weeks in and out of doctors’ offices, thinking I had bronchitis and then pneumonia, a biopsy finally revealed the truth. It was cancer.

My doctor told me the diagnosis when I was in the recovery room after surgery to drain fluid from my chest. It didn’t really kick in at first. It was totally unexpected—there’s no history of cancer in my family, and I’d never even smoked a cigarette.

Since I was still waking up from anesthesia, the doctor talked to my husband in more detail about my diagnosis. He said I most likely had six months to live, which was shocking. The medical professionals at the hospital told my husband to take me home and make me comfortable. It was awful.

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