Virginia Purdy

My story starts early in the year of 1999. I was having trouble with my shoulder. When I was at work, I could not get things off the shelves without being in a lot of pain. I went to the doctors and they sent me to physical therapy to do exercises. That did not help the problem. I was then referred to a physical therapist. He told me I was wasting his time and there was nothing wrong with me, but he gave me an order to get an x-ray. I left without getting the x-ray because I was so upset by the way he spoke to me. But, after driving to work in tears because of the pain in my shoulder, I thought some more about having the x-ray and few days later, I went in to have it done.

I then got a call form the nurse asking me to come in for another visit with the physical therapist. I really did not want to see him ever again, but I went in and from there I found out I had lung cancer stage one.

I had the top half of my left lung removed in October of 1999. The cancer had not spread anywhere else. I was lucky, the doctor said. I didn’t think I was lucky – I had lung cancer even though I had never smoked! No problems! Life was good! Nothing to worry about – so they said.

Eight years later in 2007, I started coughing. My husband kept telling me to go to the doctor, but I keep putting it off. When I finally did, I found out that the cancer was back. I now had stage IV lung cancer. There were three tumors in my lungs and bone cancer in my back

My oncologist really did not give me much hope, but I had enough of my own hope and determination to keep going way past anyone’s time line. I told my husband that I will do everything to get as much time on my side and so I have.

The first ten treatments of chemo helped the most. I no longer have three tumors – only two – and no cancer in my back. Now, it is my main concern to keep those two tumors small.

I have had four different chemo courses over the past five years. We will be starting targeted therapy some time in the next few months, I
hope. I had a biopsy a couple of months ago, but nothing was found, so it will be done again.

Cancer to me is about doing everything as often as possible and over again and over again. If it is more chemo, more tests I am going to do it. I have a wonderful family and many terrific friends who keep be laughing and hopeful.