By Barbara Kotler

My journey began in the summer of 2008 I was having unexplained back pain so I consulted my internist at the time who sent for a back x-ray

It was late October and I was still having back pain I called my internist again and said how about sending me for a back MRI, he told me I had to go to an orthopedist for that, so off I went…….

The orthopedist said all women my age have back pain, which seemed vague and I remember thinking that’s a ridiculous statement!  He recommended I go to physical therapy, but without a clear diagnosis that recommendation made absolutely no sense to me.

To this day I don’t know why but I felt the need for a back MRI, and my feeling was if all is ok I would go for the physical therapy afterwards, This  Orthopedist really did not want to send me for this Back MRI, but with much persistence on my part he agreed,… I went immediately to the radiology facility on long island.

Once the results were in something on the report that I wondered about,  so I phoned a friend of mine who was a radiologist he told me it doesn’t sound like anything to be concerned about but did they give yoIMG_0634u a DISC,…. I said yes it looks like a CD, He told me to drop it off…. he wants to take a look at it!

He called me that night and said….“You Have An Obvious Spot on you Lung”

Obvious Spot those were the words I will never forget along with the Sheer Terror I Felt!…I heard him but my heart was Racing and everything around me was becoming a blur, I kept feeling this can’t be happening to me!

Lung Cancer I don’t want to die!  I want to see my sons grow up and see their children I was only 48, I feel fine! I’m not sick! How can I have Lung Cancer?

The radiology facility I went to clearly Missed it! Not a word of my lungs or the Obvious Spot mentioned on the report… it was at that moment in time my friend saved my life!  Thankfully he asked to see the disc.

He told me the next step is a cat scan have your internist call me to set it up along with the referral.

I did just that but my internist ignorantly said this happens all the time it’s probably nothing don’t worry about it, Thankfully I didn’t listen to him and I picked up my medical records and all my old chest x rays and went to a pulmonologist that my radiology friend recommended…..  and yes!!! the same spot was on my chest x-ray that the internist took during a physical in February of 2008 …clearly missed again!

8 months earlier it was there … I am very lucky by now I’m sure your all thinking I should play the lottery … but I won the biggest power ball lottery ever I am here today!

Lung Cancer was confirmed November 6th 2008 one day after my 49th birthday.

I was so scared, totally beside myself to say the least and that’s pretty much an understatement I was a nervous wreck!!!

I remember calling Dr Sonett’s office hysterical and I will never forget how kind and calming Edith was in getting me set up with an appointment

Now the best part I meet a brilliant surgeon and the most amazing compassionate person in the world Dr. Sonett. From the moment I walked into his office I knew I was going to be ok what more could a lung cancer patient ask for I was going to be in the most skilled hands ( and by the way please continue to take care of your hands and your health dr. Sonett just in case we have a rerun)

DSC_9188Monday December 1st 2008 admitted for surgery, I never had a surgery before so this was big!! upper right lobectomy vats, amazingly back to work 2 weeks later thanks to the finest of finest sorry did I say Dr. Sonett again I  can’t help it!!!  As a survivor we all struggle with the fear of a reoccurrence but knowing that I have Dr. Sonett and this wonderful hospital looking after me I am so much calmer then I was 7 years ago and that is definitely the truth and I’m sure Dr. Sonett will agree, I was certainly out of my mind back then!

I will close by saying I am the same person in many ways but having had lung cancer has changed me I can’t deny that…. the journey has been ruff the anxiety of going for scans is agonizing the to say the least, but everything happens for a reason, I personally always had gratitude for everything and never took anything for granted, so I have to believe that in the bigger picture I have a bigger purpose to have survived lung cancer that was Missed 2 times and that is to let everyone know they can hear the words you have lung cancer and that horrible devastating scary diagnosis  can be proven positive!

I have found many blessing thru being a lung cancer survivor and many beautiful people have come into my life that I would have never crossed paths with life works in mysterious ways so as a survivor to any other survivors listening today Stay Strong and be there for other Survivors cause we are all on the journey together and need each other!

At this time I want to give a shout out to my lung cancer sistas who are here today supporting me we are blessed!