Ten four. Incoming: year fifteen

Well y’all, I may be limping across the finish but I made it. It’s now been fourteen full years since my world turned upside down. Fourteen years since I learned that in fact you could be forty-five years old, a never smoker, and still get lung cancer.

My general practitioner–the same one who misdiagnosed me with asthma–broke the news. It would be several years more before I would learn that my earlier doctor–who had been traveling to a birding convention on the morning of September 11 and was a passenger in one of the jets that hit the twin towers–had written this in my charts: ‘On the off chance that this young non-smoking woman has a lung neoplasm.’

By the time I received the diagnosis, my tumor was five centimeters in diameter. Fortunately, the brain MRI came back negative for metastases and the full body PET and bone scans also seemed to indicate that the cancer was contained to my lung.

One week later I met with my thoracic surgeon. I put on a pink sweater that morning, consciously trying to look young, healthy and worth saving. Another week would elapse prior to my surgery. I had wanted to pin a note to my johnnie reading ‘Out, out, damn spot’–a cheeky nod to Shakespeare, but I chickened out.

The surgeon had explained that the first thing he would do would be to remove a number of thoracic lymph nodes which would be biopsied immediately. If any of them came back positive for cancer, he would close me right back up.

When I awakened in the ICU, my first question was whether or not it had been a long surgery. All of the tubes running from my body should have made that obvious.

Once I was released to a room, Peter came to visit with his dad. He immediately crawled up in my bed and wrapped himself around my legs and just lay there whimpering. It broke my heart but also reinforced what I already understood–I absolutely had to stay alive.

In 2005 no one could have imagined that fourteen years later I would in fact still be here. Two weeks from today, we will celebrate Peter’s 22nd birthday.

It’s been an incredible journey and it’s not over yet. Here’s sincerrely hoping that a year from now, I’ll be posting a giant fifteen at the top of the page.

xo

11 responses to “Ten four. Incoming: year fifteen

  1. You go girl!

  2. Linda Salvati

    Congratulations Linnea!! 14 years is An incredible amount of time. I fully understand it was also filled with hardship, pain and fear. You will make 15!! 😍

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Karen cunningham

    As always you are hope and inspiration to us all. You go, girl!

  4. LOVE THIS! so incredibly happy for you. when i was diagnosed just over 5 yrs ago your blog was one of the first things we (my wife and i) found that inspired us (along with the writing of paul kalanithi). You both were speaking in a language that spoke to us – deeply. Thank YOU – for all you have done for the rest of us – for providing real tangible hope . . . hope that we can continue to live our lives. much love to you Linnea from me and jayne. LOVE! LIVE! : )

  5. There is no doubt in my mind you will be here for 15! Love you

  6. 15 πŸ‘‰πŸΌπŸ°β€οΈ

  7. Keep on keeping on! Thinking of you! You are one amazing woman!!!

  8. Happy XIV Linnea xxx

  9. Linnea, your mind, body and spirit are amazing, remarkable and inspirational.

  10. You remind me each day is a gift

    On Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 6:46 PM life and breath: outliving lung cancer wrote:

    > linnea11 posted: ” Well y’all, I may be limping across the finish but I > made it. It’s now been fourteen full years since my world turned upside > down. Fourteen years since I learned that in fact you could be forty-five > years old, a never smoker, and still get lung cance” >

  11. Sunshine and Blessings! Every time I think of you I glance at the card you posted of the little girl holding back or up the huge boulder! Speaking volumes in so many ways. You have been a beacon of light for many. Telling it like it is! All I can say is what I tell myself daily. You are enough. This moment is all we’re promised. Enjoy 🌈

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s