In June of 2016 my wife was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell adenocarcinoma with an ALK mutation. She was 37, healthy, and carrying our fifth child. Everything changed in an instant. Since then we have been in running battles trying to overcome a relentless adversary.
In the early months after diagnosis, we were all in a reactive state of mind, just surviving and trying to keep our heads above water. The world shrank down to just a few things like tracking meds by the hour and deciding when it would be a good time to go sit on the patio and feel the sun.
As the days, weeks, and months passed after diagnosis and Kathryn’s treatments began to work, we gradually changed our focus from survival to trying to find joyful moments with the kids. We knew time was limited. Even though she has been doing well on a combination of Lorlatinib and Keytruda (immunotherapy), we know things can change so quickly. Many of our ALK friends have passed away. One moment they are talking about the 30th birthday bash they want to have and just hours later they are gone. It can happen that fast and that unexpectedly.
So, the fight continues to find effective treatments that prolong death or even make lung cancer a chronic illness. That’s the goal and that’s why I run for money, why I talk about it whenever I can to whomever will listen, and why I am an advocate for ALK research funding. Fight with me for my wife, my children, and all those around the world struggling with this disease.