My name is Connie Juday, and I am 79 years old. My kids say I’ll live to be 100, and thanks to my radiation oncology team, that is now a possibility.
I was diagnosed years ago with COPD. I couldn’t walk across the room without my oxygen tank. When I went to my family doctor last year, I was sent to get a scan and they found two spots of cancer on my lung. They sent me across the street to the cancer center where I met Dr. Zook. They did another scan, and I was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer.
I was upset when I received my diagnosis. My mom and one of my sons died from lung cancer. The doctors initially recommended chemotherapy, but I didn’t want to go that route at my age. I have long hair for an older woman, and I didn’t want to experience the side effects of chemo. Dr. Z welcomed me, my husband, and my four children into her office and made us feel comfortable. When I explained I didn’t want to try chemotherapy, Dr. Z told me all about a new treatment option. She really believed in the treatment and made me believe in it too.
The experience was the best I could have had. Even though I’m older, they never made me feel like I had less of a chance of survival or success. Being in the linear accelerator was comfortable. They put bean bags around me to keep me from moving. I don’t like being confined, but after the first time I felt comfortable. I didn’t have any side effects from the treatment, and ended up only needing five doses.
Throughout the process, my husband was my main source of support. He always came with me to treatment and cooked me dinner after. He’s a great cook, and was always there for me no matter what. He supported me when I chose not to take chemotherapy, and I recommend that everyone looks into other options if you’re diagnosed with cancer.
My birthday is coming up and I will be celebrating with my family. I have four children, nine grandchildren and twenty-three great-grandchildren. I’m just looking forward to enjoying my time with them, and thanks to Dr. Zook I’ll have more of a chance to do so.
Photo courtesy of John Cleary of The Herald Bulletin