Hometown: Atlanta, GA
We asked Shari to share her story with Pfizer
I am Shari, a retired kindergarten teacher, wife, mother and grandmother. I enjoy singing, attending my grandchildren’s sporting events and being active in my church.
In 2010, I had constant bronchitis and antibiotics weren’t helping. My doctor ordered an X-ray but didn’t find anything wrong. A few months later, I coughed up blood and a second X-ray, followed by a CT scan, found a tumor in my lung. As a non-smoker, I was surprised to learn my diagnosis – stage IV non-small cell lung cancer.
While I was being treated with chemotherapy, my doctor informed me I was a candidate for one of the biomarker-directed therapies based on the genetic makeup of my tumor. Unknown to me, he had sent a sample of my tumor away for molecular testing after a biopsy. At the time, I was hesitant to switch treatments because I felt good and my tumor was stable. I asked my doctor what he would do in my shoes and followed his advice to switch treatments. This decision was positive for me, because my tumor shrank, and I’m still on the therapy over a year later.
Even though tests show that I’m not free of lung cancer, I am able to lead a happy and full life. My support group has been a source of strength, and I am thankful that my doctor provided this opportunity to me. My advice for others with lung cancer is to see if molecular testing is an option.
November 10, 2012