Christy Fischer was just 38 when she was first diagnosed with stage-IV lung cancer. After chemotherapy helped her defeat the disease, her cancer returned twice. She has beaten it back each time. Now 50, Fischer has been cancer-free for almost two years. She’s helping to educate people about lung cancer as part of the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative. Here, she explains what a week in her life was like when she was undergoing chemo.
There’s this stereotype people have that lung cancer sufferers are older, unhealthy people. I wasn’t. I was diagnosed at 38 and had never smoked a day in my life. I attended college on a basketball and track scholarship. So to be diagnosed was a shock.
Showing up for my first chemo treatment and seeing the other people there felt like, OK, this is real. This is going to happen. I asked at the nurses’ station if there was a place I could go to be by myself for a minute. The nurse there took me to the ladies’ restroom, and I prayed to God to let me be strong enough to put this poison in my body. I had always taken care of myself, so the thought of putting poison into my body was difficult. But people told me cancer was worse poison than chemo, so that’s how I tried to think about it.