About time

Sort of ridiculous, but my About on this site was some 4 1/2 years out of date. Whoa, good problem to have, rewriting Abouts. So, it’s been freshened up a bit. About time I might say. Little preview here (to save you from having to push that About button):

Time for a new About! The last one had me six and 1/2 years out from diagnosis, on crizotinib (Xalkori) and happily married. So much water under the bridge since then, my friends!

So, updated version. I was Linnea Duff, but I’ve been divorced since 9/1/15 and have reclaimed my birth name, Linnea Olson. I am now 56 flipping years old–old enough to qualify for a senior’s discount at Salvation Army and Saver’s thrift stores. And I couldn’t be happier. Old age is not a problem, it’s the goal!

Crizotinib bought me close to three years, but in the time since I spent 18 months on trial for ceritinib (Zykadia—where do they get these names?), returned to chemotherapy (carboplatin and pemetrexed), took a breather, returned to crizotinib and then in May of 2014, started my third phase I clinical trial for lorlatinib. Despite having acquired some secondary mutations along the way–S1206Y and G1202R–I have had both a positive and sustained response to my third ALK inhibitor.

In April, it will have been eleven years since I was diagnosed. My three kids are all adults now, at ages 31, 30 and 18. The youngest, who is in the college application process, wants to be a cancer researcher. Mama couldn’t be prouder.

And me? Living in a renovated mill in Lowell Massachusetts in a community of artists. I am once again a practicing artist and also sell vintage clothing on the side (The House of Redemption). I continue to devote a fair amount of time to lung cancer advocacy and in addition to my blog here, I write for CUREtoday.

Best news of all? I feel great, absolutely fabulous.

And I think I’ll hang onto the video—even though it is out of date. It just makes me SO happy.

27 responses to “About time

  1. Congratulations for leading the way for others. I know we are all different, but it’s so good to hear a feel great story than another sad one. Let’s hope we kick butt on this in the near future.

  2. Kathleen Lessing

    What a beautiful video, Linnea — I have followed you on Inspire and now on your blog. You are a true inspiration to all of us, and I rejoice in your fabulous, continuing health πŸ™‚

    Love,

    Kathleen (KateTX) A fellow Stage IV survivor, living optimistically and enjoying every single day of old age!

  3. You exude this new “About Time” and it fits you well!

  4. Beautiful video, you are so strong and brave to keep jumping into each trial offered. You have honed your own destiny. All the changes you’ve made in your life to live , really live, are the stuff of heroes. Thank you for fighting for yourself and all the other LC patients, living and gone. Stand Strong, Lady

  5. That video makes me so happy, too! Onward!

  6. Beautiful video and congrats on the many changes you have met and gone through and come out of a better person than perhaps when you didn’t have the challenges and obstacles in life that you have dealt with. Keep on keeping on.

  7. Hi Linnea,

    You are awesome!!!
    You made me cry when I read your story because I’ve got almost similar story as you except I’ve been 4 yr and 3 months since my first treatment.

    Best Regards.
    James.

  8. Linnea, you’re view on life is inspirational. I lost my fiance to stage iv lung cancer 5 months ago and I still look forward to your posts. Thank you for being an advocate for lung cancer patients.

    I pre-ordered When Breath Becomes Air and read it in two sittings. I wish it had been around when my fiance was still here. Minus the ending, I think it would’ve resonated hugely with him.

    Best,
    Danielle

    • Danielle, I am so sorry about your fiancΓ©. I have yet to find the right time to start the book—it is going to be difficult.

      Linnea

  9. Linnea,

    Congratulations on having to update your “About.” Isn’t that awesome!

    At 56, you’re a kid compared to me. Old age is good, especially for one who has a positive attitude like you. I for one love seniority. It gives me a sense of entitlement. Hah!

    Celia

  10. Dear Linnea
    It has been awhile since I last wrote. I have been following your battle as it has helped me better understand mine. As I have said from the beginning for all of us, participating in the disease, family or friends. You are a bright light in an otherwise dark place for many. You have shared and bared it all. For many the travels are similar if not the same. None of us know what our future may be. THANKS for sharing your knowledge, strength, journey and inspiration. For you I am GRATEFUL! Blessings and peace Linnea!

  11. Dear Linnea,
    I am so greatful to find you. It is always nice to hear from you. You have given me hope when I was not sure will I survive this disease. You are strong and have a positive outlook which will bring you peace for a long time.
    Good luck on your voyage.
    Joan

  12. Your post is so inspiring. My husband is 5.5 years since diagnosis and started lorlatinib 3 weeks ago, after 5 years on crizotinib. It is so wonderful to hear from someone doing well and so vibrant and leading the way in this clinical trial as well as the greater journey we find ourselves on.

    • Chloe, sometimes I overlook a comment and I missed yours. Five years on crizotinib is amazing—may your husband have a long run on lorlatinib as well.

      Linnea

  13. Thank you Kate—for some reason, I just found your comment ❀

    Linnea

  14. cheryl Gingerelli

    Linnea, you give me so much hope. I fought breast cancer seven years ago and was recently diagnosed with stage 3-4 lung cancer (totally unrelated to the breast cancer). I am 56 years old and on crizotinib (Xalkori) for the past couple of months (where do they get those names? HA!). I was also divorced in September 2015 after almost 30 years of marriage and three children. Although the chronic pain I was having left my body within five days of starting treatment (a good sign), every pain I have scares me, especially when it is in my left lung (where the cancer was found). Every little pain reminds me and overwhelms me…I am starting the second year of grad school in counseling psychology, living my life as a “healthy” person; except for those moments when I am “painfully” reminded that “Oh, yeah…..I have cancer.” Thank you for lifting my spirits and giving me hope for the future through your own story. Bless you!

    • Cheryl, it sounds as if we have much in common–some of it good πŸ™‚ Starting life over while dealing with an illness of this magnitude is a challenge, but kudos to us for going ahead and doing so. xoxoxo

      Linnea

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