Lung Cancer Patient Stories
In 2009, John Reeves took a bad fall. "That's when it all started," he recalled. At the age of 78, John didn't recover as quickly as he expected. A former high school football star and self-titled #1 concrete man in Philadelphia, John is a strong guy. He sought medical attention, and during a routine x-ray, doctors saw something suspicious.
A former smoker for 35 years, John kicked the habit in 1995. "I really didn't think about getting lung cancer anymore," he admitted.
Life has not been an easy ride for Charlie Gallen. In 1975, at the age of 29, Charlie, a boilermaker, lost his arm below the elbow during a work-related accident. He recovered from the injury and learned to wear a prosthesis (an artificial extension of his arm) to retain some function of his arm and hand. Charlie, who was married with one daughter at the time, enrolled in welding school and became a full-fledged welder.
Beth Valenti always knew smoking was not a good idea, but like many people, she did it anyway. She was young and never really thought about lung cancer. But after losing her mom to cancer in 1996, Beth quit the habit cold turkey. Almost 12 years later, in March 2008, she went to the doctor complaining of pain in her arm. A series of shoulder x-rays revealed a mass on her lung. According to Beth, her doctors advised her to "go home, get your things in order and plan your funeral." She was 41 at the time.
Arlene Koller is no stranger to adversity. She lost her first husband when he suffered a massive heart attack, leaving Arlene with 3 small boys to care for. She was the treasurer of a wholesale paper business. After she lost her husband, Arlene added the responsibility of presidency of her late husband's chemical business. Arlene later remarried, and in 2000, she and her husband began to travel the world.
They traveled to Australia, Thailand, China, Europe and more. But when her husband was diagnosed with lymphoma, they had to stop.
In 2003, at the age of 61, Don Cully made a life-changing decision. He decided to quit smoking, a habit he had since he was a kid. "I smoked a pack and a half a day," he admitted. "I should have had no lungs left." Because he had been coughing a lot, Don asked his doctor for a CAT Scan. He was curious to see what his lungs looked like. Fortunately, the scan revealed emphysema and dead lung cells - but no cancer.