Lung Cancer Survivor

Second Opinion Gave Peace of Mind to Lung Cancer Survivor

Name: Jeanie Dallas
Age: 60
Hometown: Lincolnwood, Illinois
Type of cancer: Non-small cell lung cancer
Date of diagnosis:1997
Stage at diagnosis: Early stage
Current date: June, 2009
Current status: Disease free since 1997

1. How was your health when you were diagnosed?
Excellent. I was exercising every day, didn’t smoke and never had any symptoms.

2. Where were you initially diagnosed?
I was diagnosed at a suburban hospital outside Chicago, IL.

3. What treatment was initially recommended?
My local doctor recommended that I have radiation and chemotherapy, and depending on how much the cancer shrunk, I could have surgery. So I went through six months of treatment. It wasn’t pleasant, but what chemotherapy is? You deal with it.

I had heard that my case was unusual because they weren’t sure if my tumor was attached or engulfed in the subclavian artery. When my doctor started talking about the surgery, he said I might have to be in the hospital for two weeks, and that didn’t sit right with me, so three days before the surgery I called and cancelled. I wanted a second opinion.

4. Did you get a 2nd or 3rd opinion? If so, where?
Yes, at the University of Chicago. I did not get a 3rd opinion. I was completely satisfied with the second opinion.

5. What treatment was recommended with the 2nd or 3rd opinion?
I made an appointment with Dr. Mark K. Ferguson, Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he is a specialist in thoracic surgery. When I met him, he blew me away. He wasn’t arrogant, but he was confident and there’s a difference. I was intelligent enough to realize that this was the no-nonsense doctor I needed.

He told me he wanted me off all the other treatments and needed to operate as quickly as possible. I asked him if he could “get this baby out of me without popping my artery.” He looked at my tests and said, “I’ll get this.” And he did.

I had received my chemo and radiation at the suburban hospital where I was diagnosed, and was so over radiated that my tumor was stuck to my chest wall. This was quite a challenge for Dr. Ferguson when he did the surgery.

It was such a relief to me that I found someone I felt safe with for the surgery. That’s so important. My first doctor was such a nice man, but I just didn’t think he had the experience for the type of problem I had.

6. Did you try alternative treatments outside of your doctor's
No.

7. Do you engage in any other homeopathic remedies or treatments?
No.

8. Did you change your diet? How is it different from before your diagnosis?
No..I have always been a healthy eater.

9. Did you change your exercise program? How is it different from before your diagnosis?
The same……I always exercise.

10. Do you take any nutritional supplements? If so, what do you take?
Yes…..Multi Vitamin, E, Calcium, Green Tea Extract, Garlic, K2 and Bone-Up

11. Are you currently considered to be disease free?
Yes.

12. How long have you been disease free?
12 years

13. What are you doing to stay disease free?
Meditate, exercise, and eat right.

14. What do you think is the most important thing you did to combat your cancer?
Positive attitude, fantastic physician and I was blessed!

For anyone with cancer, I would say, be strong. It isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t have to be the end of your life. Find things you like to do. My motto is there is going to be something there for you to enjoy. The more you exercise and move around, the better you’ll feel, and as you grow older, you’ll be healthier. Fight for your life and don’t ever give up.

15. Are you willing to have a newly diagnosed patient contact you?
Yes.

16. Brief Additional Narrative
Having the support you need along with hope and a positive attitude is essential. For me personally, I had, and still have, enormous faith and ask God for help everyday of my life.

 

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