Jessie fights lung cancer

Aug 20 2015 is a day that changed my life in an instant.  Thinking I had an oncoming appendicitis or possibly gall bladder stones, time stood still when my doctor spoke the words "it's not good news" after having sent me to a radiologist earlier that day.  Cancer.  ????  WTF . . . "I wish we were now scheduling you for an appenductomy like we thought, instead I'm referring you to a local oncologist whom you need to see immediately, Jessie.  It looks widespread . . . " and his voice trailed on.  I went numb.  I went blank.  All I could think about was my family. 

Fast forward 3.5 months I'm still numb.  Except for some details, my story is not unlike anyone else who's received the unfotunate news of such a diagnosis.  I'm alive and I'm grateful.  Thankfully, I wasn't sent home to "get my affairs in order" but stage 4 lung cancer is terminal.  There is no cure.  There is no prognosis for how long I can live.  "A few months to a few years, I just dunno" my new oncologist told me.  "Depends upon how your body responds to treatment."  I learned that treatments can work for awhile, until they don't work anymore.  Then a new treatment is administered.  Until that one stops working.  Then a third.  And a fourth, maybe; if the chemo hasn't weakened my body past the point of being useful, that is.  "Eventually," I was told, "we just run out of bullets." 

Uggggh! Talk about stress!  Am I dying?  Or is there hope for me?  What about my kids?  I still have 2 teenage girls who need their mom, not to mention my 25 year old who is just learning how to be a mom.  She needs me more now than ever!  I"m not ready to die.  And my baby grand girls.  They aren't even old enough to know me!  GOD!  Why?  Oh my God, help me, have mercy on my life and . . . wow I"m only 47.  Will I make it to my 48th birthday this Nov?  What about the holidays?  Will I have a Christmas?  Will I see my teenagers graduate from high school?  What?  Will?  When?  How?  Why?  and on and on. 

Advanced lung cancer survival statistics are grim.  5 year survival rates top out at 1-3%.  Lung cancer is not a smokers disease.  I'm a non-smoker with perfect health and ancestors who've lived into their 80's and 90's.  It's also the biggest killer of any cancer known to our society; however, lung cancer research is leading the way in modern targeted therapies and yes, finally, extending patients lives.  You've probably seen the commercials for how certain drugs have seen amazing breakthroughs for sufferers.   2015 has been a good year for lung cancer.  FDA approved several targeted therapies and there are more to come.  Many of them are in the works right now. 

I need these targeted therapies.  Adenicarcinoma (isn't that an ugly name? ) has spread from the lungs to abdomen via the blood stream.  Today, I'm blessed because none of my vital organs have been affected and chemotherapy is shrinking tumors.  Thankfully, chemo is also halting the spread.  But, long term survival is dependent upon the new therapies (rather than chemotherapy) that can target the molecular level of this cancer's genetics.  I need additional testing that my insurance doesn't cover and I need this testing now, before the bad cells have a chance to become resistant to lower level treatments.  I need to travel to research facilities that test for and offer these targeted therapies, even out of state.  Some treatments are not yet FDA approved and may require appeals.  You can imagine the upcoming expenses I'm about to incur. 

I'm campaigning for $3000 to help with expenses to travel 2 states away for an additional opinion which is an out of pocket expense.  I'm hoping University of Colorado Lung Cancer Center can accurately diagnose this cancer's mutations and advise me when and where I can start on the targeted therapies that can prolong my life.  This particular cancer team is commited to turning advanced stage lung cancer into a chronic illness rather than the death sentence it currently appears to be.  Here is a link introducing you to Dr. Ross Camidge.  miracles in lung cancer I believe in his belief that we can do this. 

When you donate to my cause, you're not only donating to me, Jessie.  You're donating to my family.  My girls whose lives have also changed.  My husband who is exhausted.  We are down to a single family income :(   You are donating to the big picture of lung cancer.  I'm committed to finding the most modern treatment known to medicine.  I commit to you to use my journey to further awareness about lung cancer and what it is.  And what it is not.  Certainly, it's not a smoker's disease and no one deserves to have it.  I want to see the day which proclaims a cure.  For now, I'll settle for time.  Sweet time.   I'm committed to sharing my story with researchers, doctors, and patients alike.  Together and with your help, I believe I will be a long term survivor.  One day at a time, I'll beat those 5 year statistics.  I want to share my experience, strength, and hope with anyone who needs it, for many years to come.
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    • $50 
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Organizer and beneficiary

Jessie Woods 
Organizer
Ankeny, IA
Larry Bailey 
Beneficiary
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