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Meet Juanita

East Chicago, IN

How did you learn about your lung cancer diagnosis?
I was diagnosed with Stage 3B NSCLC after months of wheezing and developing a persistent cough. After going to several doctors, including my family doctor and a pulmonary specialist, who initially misdiagnosed me with asthma, I checked myself into the emergency room. Finally, after an irregular CT scan I was admitted to the hospital and the next day had a bronchoscopy to remove fluid and do a biopsy. Two days later, my pulmonary specialist came to see me in the hospital to give me the worst news of my life: I had lung cancer.

How were you impacted by your lung cancer diagnosis?
I was in shock, I was scared, and I thought I was dreaming. I couldn’t believe I was just diagnosed with lung cancer. To me that was impossible because I don’t smoke, but that’s the stigma everyone has and I didn’t know you could get lung cancer even if you didn’t smoke. I lived in fear for months, not knowing if I would see my next birthday or see my children grow. I was angry that I got lung cancer. Then I became depressed and sad and kept saying “why me.” But I learned to educate myself about lung cancer. I have a husband that helped me fight and my 5 kids to live for. So I learned to fight back and NOT give up!

What have you done to maintain a sense of normalcy?
After getting approval from my doctor, I continue to do CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program that consists of mostly aerobic, body weight and weightlifting exercises. I remain positive, surrounded myself with positive people, live in the moment and enjoy every single day and every minute of the day. But most importantly, I remain faithful and trusted our heavenly Father. I started growing spiritually and I felt I still had a purpose, and that purpose is to educate and bring awareness about lung cancer.