With Immunotherapy, My Lung Cancer Is a Chronic Disease


Stacy Foltz

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Stacy Foltz

Stacy Foltz lives in Bristol, Wisconsin with her husband and children.

Last winter, I got a bad cold that just wouldn’t end. After a few weeks of coughing nonstop and feeling awful, I went to see the doctor and I was prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis. A couple of weeks later, nothing had changed, so I did another round of antibiotics … without success.

By early March, I ended up in the hospital for pneumonia. Fluid was drained from my chest, but six weeks later I was back in the hospital to surgically drain even more. At that point, my doctor did a biopsy and realized the situation was more serious than he thought: the diagnosis came up cancer.

I was in the recovery room after the surgery when he told me I had stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. He said I most likely had six months to live. I felt groggy and not fully awake, so it took a while for the word “cancer” to sink in. I went home in shock; my entire family was shaken. This is never news you expect, especially because nobody in my biological family has had cancer and I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. My diagnosis came completely out of the blue.