A Diagnosis of Lung Cancer: Keasha's Story



Chris Draft: How did we find out that Keasha had lung cancer? I had just finished playing in the NFL. I wouldn’t say I was completely finished, though. I was a free agent. I had just gotten released from the Washington Redskins. That was 13th year in the NFL. I was at home and was still working out because I kept saying, “Hey, this is my last year, but I might be able to get back into it.”

And so, I was at home working out and my girlfriend, at the time, Keasha said, “Well, if you’re going to be here, why you don’t do P90X with me?” And, “If we’re going to be working out, why don’t you run a 10K with me?” That 10K was the Cooper River Bridge Run. It was going to be held in May of the following year.

And I said, “Well, I could maybe get down with a P90X workout, but a 10K? Six miles? What?” That’s the kind of shape she was in. At 37 years old, she was in amazing shape. She had danced with the Charlotte Hornets—the Honey Bee dancers—before I had met her. She was a graduate with a degree in electrical engineering. She was just amazingly smart. She was in amazing shape. She challenged me to workout.

Then, all of a sudden, she had a little shortness of breath. She had a tremendous relationship with her primary care doctor because she was a pharmaceutical sales representative. She had sold Plavix (clopidogrel), which helped her to build relationships with primary care doctors. But hers was a good friend of hers. And so, when she felt that there was a little shortness of breath, she didn’t wait. Sometimes, we as guys wait until something falls off, or something gets cut off, or something absolutely horrible happens. But she went right in.

She said, “I’ve got to come in. There’s something that’s not right. Let me get checked out.” So, she had a little shortness of breath. She looked at me and said, “I might need to use your inhaler.” Her little shortness of breath was still better than how I breathe (because I have asthma). Her primary care doctor said, “Well, it doesn’t look like there’s really anything wrong, but let’s just send you over for a chest X-ray to check it out.” The chest X-ray that came back revealed that she had a mass in her left lung. You hope that’s not actually cancer, but the fact that you have a mass on your left lung is not good.

And so, after the next few weeks of getting a biopsy and PET scan, we found out that she had stage 4 lung cancer. So, this was a 37-year-old woman who was in amazing shape with stage 4 lung cancer. You find out the most important fact very quickly—that anyone can get lung cancer.

Transcript Edited for Clarity

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