Tag Archives: blogging about lung cancer


I’ve just returned from a brief but eventful trip to Utah. This first full day back has been devoted to reading several days worth of newspapers, laundry and an hour of riding shotgun as Peter practiced driving (including a short stint on the highway).

I planned to write a blog tonight with all the details of my journey. Alas, I find that I am succumbing to fatigue. Tomorrow, I promise. In the meantime, I’d like to share the fact that I have begun a new undertaking:  a weekly blog about lung cancer for everydayhealth.com.

This effort falls under the category of advocacy versus employment (I am not financially compensated). It is going to be a great opportunity to reach a broader audience and shall be a bit of a challenge as well, producing two distinct story-lines. Of course, the underlying subject matter shall remain the same—living with lung cancer.

Here is a link to a profile in which I am introduced to the everydayhealth.com audience:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/lung-cancer/linnea-duff-living-with-late-stag e-lung-cancer.aspx

And a link to my first blog:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/linnea-duff-life-with-lung-cancer/lif e-with-lung-cancer-introduction/

I am hoping that my ability to reply to comments will soon be enabled, as they are piling up and I really would like to respond to each. Anyway, I’d be pleased if you would check out my new gig, and rest assured that the show shall go on here as well.

Cancer as cargo: sharing the load

Time for a yippee ki-yay for a fellow blogger; my friend Kim. One of the perks of writing a blog is getting comments, and that is how I first met Kim. After checking out her blog, Aquarius vs Cancer, I signed on as subscriber, pal and fan. A damn fine writer and wise beyond her years, Kim is spunky and feisty too as she navigates life with lung cancer.

As of two weeks ago, a bright yellow sticker has shone from the rear window of my vehicle, a tongue in cheek declaration of the cargo I am toting (there is a smaller version as well, perfect for the back fender of a bike). CANCER ON BOARD is Kim’s brainchild. She had stickers printed and through her blog, has offered them free to those who ask. I think there is some real fundraising potential here, and I am sure Kim would welcome suggestions in addition to requests for stickers.

And now an introduction to Kim, in her own words, followed by reprints of two recent blogs. Read, enjoy, bookmark her site (once again, Aquarius vs Cancer) and wish Kim the very best on this journey.

About Kim

Hello.  I’m Kim.  I’ve got lung cancer and I’m not very happy about it.  It pretty much sucks.

At age 34, I was diagnosed with Stage 3b lung cancer on May 11, 2011.  On  September 14, 2011 I learned that my cancer spread.  It is now considered incurable.

This blog is my story for friends, family, and fellow travelers.


Her name is Therapy

Posted on July 18, 2012

I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in May 2011.  Months before, in January 2011, I began to notice I had difficulty breathing while exerting myself.  I was pretty sure I had asthma.  Great.  With this development and wanting to reduce the wear and tear on my joints, I decided to swap my running hobby for cycling.

At the end of April 2011 SW and I purchased road bikes.  The beauty I ordered would be ready for pick up in 15 days.

As it turned out I did not have asthma.  Between the bike purchase and pick up, the pulmonologist confirmed that I had a nice-sized tumor in my left lung.

When I went to the shop to pick up my bike I was told I’d get a complimentary 60-day tune up.  With all seriousness I told the clerk, “I’m starting chemo and radiation next week.  I’ve got cancer.  Can I get my tune up when I actually ride my bike for 60-days?  It might be a few months or even a year?”  He looked at me like I was insane and squeaked out something along the lines of, “Holy shit.  Yes. Get it whenever.”  When I inquired if I could get that in writing he replied, “You don’t need to.  Just tell who ever helps you that same line.  You’ll get taken care of.”

I’m actually, now that I’m feeling swell, logging miles on my bike.  I’ve named her Therapy.  She’s a beautiful white bike, like the lung cancer bands people wear.  I ride her to my weekly cancer support group meetings.  It’s only 4 miles away but I love that my fellow cancer survivors think it is a huge accomplishment that I ride there.

Cancer has not taken away my competitive spirit.  I’d like to ride Therapy to more of my engagements around town.  I am awfully intimidated by the hills though. The load on my lungs while climbing a hill is a little alarming.  A fine line exists between training my lungs to work harder and pushing them too much.  My medical team tells me to push with caution; I hope that is what I am doing.

Therapy is going in for her 60-day tune up this month.  I do intend to play my usually hidden cancer card if they try to charge me for the tune up.

Where do I fit in?

Posted on August 10, 2012

It’s no lie when I say I’ve always felt like I don’t really fit in with the rest of the world. My mother always referred to me as the kid who has 100 friends. She was and is correct. Among this group I have always felt like the cheese who stands alone. Living with my cancer, currently treated with Crizotinib, contributes to this isolated feeling.

I am so very thankful for Crizotinib as it allows me to live more closely to the life I had before cancer.  However, it is a tricky space to be.  My cancer buddies are constantly being beaten up by their chemo or radiation.  My  non-cancer friends are striving for promotions at work or planning vacations to distant places.  I am doing neither; yet I get caught up thinking of both.  I am aware that my cancer friends’ fates will probably be my own and I also dream of travel to distant places or for a fabulous backyard remodel.
I am an able disabled person. I am a non-sick person. Striving to be grateful for each and every day.

Life and breath at 10 weeks: modus operundi

L1000948Just thought I’d pause here  to reflect on two and a half months worth of blogging.  Firstly, I hope those of you who are following my posts are not too troubled by the non-chronological presentation of present and past.  It is my intent to start with diagnosis and connect the dots to the present, but also to write about what’s going on in my life now.  The present tense is super important in my tale, per the subtitle:  LIVING with lung cancer.  Were this a book, rather than a blog, there would be organized chapters.  However, consider this the uncorrected proof.

L1000951As I recount the past four and a half years, I find that some of the retelling is quite painful.  I don’t deny, but nor do I dwell, and writing about these experiences forces me to rehash the past in great detail. Can’t say I am always enjoying it.  And yet, it has always been my intention to get it all down–for the sake of my children (a legacy if you will).  At some point I decided that I would tell my story to a broader audience, and a blog seemed the perfect forum in which to share not only with my children, but with others as well.

L1000971Even given uneasy memories, I have discovered that the whole process of writing is something I’ve really taken to.  I enjoy the ritual, and the sense of accomplishment that I am following through with an intention.  I like the fact that it is somewhat interactive:  see the numerous comments by Guillermo, in which he recounts his own story.  His entries are like a little blog within a blog.  I have enjoyed the participation of my family.  My husband, David, proofreads most posts (his knowledge of punctuation is superior to mine) and my daughter, Jemesii, has helped me out immeasurably with the technical end. I have even made some new friends:  people from the Lung Cancer Alliance support group who have contacted me after checking out the blog.  It’s a great feeling, the ability to connect with people.

L1000969In a way it echoes an earlier avocation of mine; keeping journals.  It was a habit I picked up in art school and which I continued until about five years ago–really, just about the time of my diagnosis. My journals were basically compendiums of sketches and jotting downs, collages and paste ins of anything that inspired me.  They were a lot of fun, and though I never considered them a serious art form, they offered a spontaneity and lack of rigor that is sometimes difficult for me to find when painting.  The little thumbnails are snippets from one of those journals.

L1000942When I realized that blogging could be a mixed media event: writing, pictures and even movies, I got pretty excited.  I could tell my story, gradually get around to the sad and gory details (not too gory, as I’m not a fan of TMI), but also have some fun and post some pretty pictures.  Yea!  So, that’s what has been going on.  I should reiterate though, that when I am writing about the science of lung cancer, I am dead serious in my approach.  It is very important to me to not put any information out there that is incorrect.  Some days I just get down to work and frankly, some days I just get down.  Either way, it’s been cathartic, and each post about the past is like a closed chapter.

In my next post I will talk more about the weeks following my diagnosis almost four and one half years ago.  Bear with me.  It is a story that I need to take frequent breaks from; to concentrate on the present moment, and the glorious fact that I am alive.