He was great and I really liked how efficient he was. He immediately took x-rays of my chest and ran several other tests. During the initial visit, he identified a mass in my chest that appeared during the x-ray. He then ordered a CT which provided him with a better view of the mass.
I was then referred to a thoracic surgeon who was almost certain that it was nothing more than a germ cell tumor. In fact he scheduled me for surgery to remove the mass on March 22, 2012, before receiving the results of the first biopsy. On March 9, 2012 I had a needle biopsy of the mass. When the procedure was over I was surrounded by the faces of my loving family members. When I returned home my friends and family were there to help me around the house. I returned to work the following week to enjoy the few days I had left with my students. I spent each day preparing for the month, that I thought I would be away from my class.
Although I am used to doing things on my own, one of the nurses advised me not to make any more visits to the doctor's office alone. From that day on my cousin Cassandra and my Aunt Bren accompanied me. My cousin Robin scheduled an appointment for me to have a second opinion on March 19th, the day before my surgery was set. I agreed to get the second opinion even though I was confident that I would be having surgery the next day.
On March 16th, after the longest week of my life, Cassandra and I went in to hear the results of the needle biopsy. Before the visit I was informed that my case was going to be discussed with a panel of doctors on the following Monday and that my surgery was being cancelled. When we arrived at the doctor's office, Rhonda and Tammy, two nurses, who had been avoiding my questions all week, escorted us in. We overheard them talking with the doctor in the hallway while we were waiting.
When the doctor came in and I heard the results, my mind froze completely. That tends to happen to me when I hear things that I don't like. The doctor told us that I had adenocarcinoma, which is a fancy word for lung cancer. He told me that the tumor was inoperable and that he would find me an oncologist that was close to my job.
Since that very day, only a few of you have heard the sound of my voice. I have only been able to tell two people. One was my brother, and I asked him to tell my mom and Aunt Jenny. Cassandra took on the task of informing everyone else for me, I am so grateful for her strength and faith. We agreed that there would only be one day for tears and that the next morning I would go back to living each day as if it were the last. My mom greeted me at my door when I got home, and from that day on I have been surrounded by my family and friends.
My primary care doctor called me that weekend and explained to me that he felt that I should seek another opinion because he had never seen anything like this before. A 29 year old, female, non-smoker with lung cancer. So on Monday, March 19, 2012 I went to hear a second opinion,alone. The doctor informed me that needle biopsies are often inaccurate and that I did not fit the description of someone with lung cancer.
Even though the first surgeon told me that this was rare, there was something about this doctor that made me feel optimistic. He told me that he was not ruling out cancer but that he felt that it was a germ cell tumor or possibly another type of cancer that was treatable. He scheduled a surgical biopsy that was performed on March 22. The results of the biopsy were sent to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion. However, the results were the same.
Exactly one week after the surgery, I visited my students not knowing that it would be the last time I would see them this year. We exchanged hugs and cards and chatted for a while. It made me feel so much better because I had missed them so much. That same night my mother and I traveled to Oklahoma where I checked in at the Cancer Treatment Center of America.
This place is truly amazing and if you know anyone else with cancer I strongly recommend CTCA. From the moment I stepped off the plane, they have done everything in their power to make sure that I am completely satisfied emotionally, spiritually, and medically.
When you hear the words stage 4 cancer you automatically think that your time on earth is limited. I know today, that my life is about to change but that it is not ending. After your prayers and God's grace, I'm having surgery to remove the tumor that I had previously been told could not be removed. After recovery, I will undergo chemotherapy to prevent it from returning.
Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is a traumatic experience, and it is extremely difficult to answer questions regarding it. Therefore I will utilize this page as a means of communicating with my family and friends per my doctor's request.
Please visit Adrian's care page for additional information and current updates.
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