Earlier this month I attended the GRACE Targeted Therapies in Lung Cancer Patients Forum in Denver, CO. It was a one day conference focusing on lung cancer treatments for patients with genetic mutations, like me.
|Lisa Moran at GRACE Targeted Therapies|
in Lung Cancer Patients Forum, August 20, 2016
While learning a few new things, I realized I already know a lot there is to know about my disease. Early on I found out that I must be my own patient advocate. The conference was full of other self educated, lung cancer patient advocates.
I was lucky enough to spend some time outside of the forum with these lung cancer patients. I said before that lung cancer was like a sorority that I didn't ask to be a member of. But this lung cancer community is more like a supportive family that I wouldn't want to be without. I learned just as much as about my disease at dinner than at the forum.
|Lung cancer patients and family members at dinner|
|Holding up fingers for number of years we've been surviving lung cancer.|
Bottom left: Linnea Olson had to borrow a finger from her son for 11 yrs.
When I first spoke to my lung cancer friend, Mara, on the phone, it was like we were old friends catching up. We had never met. But we had this common ground, kinship, and bond already.
I felt the same way when I met Linnea Olson at dinner after the forum. I was familiar with her. I had seen her profile photos and read about her online.
|Linnea Olson, diagnosed with lung cancer 11 years ago|
I now know what her profile photos sound like. Her laughter and zest for life are contagious. We shared the biggest, (maybe) too loud for a hotel restaurant, belly laugh at my expense. It was our own "Who's On First?" moment. I was racking my brain trying to remember a session from earlier in the day. Linnea said, "Chemo brain." I agreed and added something about how frustrating it is to have moments when I can't remember things. Turns out the session I couldn't recall was called 'Combating Chemo Brain'.
|Linnea Olson and Lisa Moran, August 20, 2016|
I wondered what the female version of The Godfather was. I almost felt like I should kiss Linnea's ring. I guess she's the Matriarch of lung cancer? But seriously, she is a remarkable woman, a pioneer in lung cancer research and a true inspiration to me and many others.
Recently the ASCO Post (American Society of Oncology) published an article featuring Linnea Olson, her lung cancer story and her outlook on the future.