A Lung Cancer Diagnosis and the New Normal


This is how my family and I were thrown into the cancer world.

It was a typical Friday evening, I had just started a new job and this was my second week. My phone rang — it was my wife, Molly. I figured she wanted to talk about dinner. I answered, she was crying.

“The doctor just called, they see a spot on my scan, and they think something is really wrong.”

Everything changed on Friday November 15, 2013.

After Molly’s phone call, I left work and drove home with my head in the clouds. What does s spot on a scan mean? She went in for a neck pain, but the scan showed a spot on her lung. Although 2013 was turning out to be a difficult year for us, health issues were the last thing we expected. Molly had not felt well for few months, strange pains, fatigue, cough, etc. All dismissed being a busy professional parent. The spot had to be nothing, right? After two weeks, the results were in: stage 4 lung cancer. Turns out you don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer.

At that time cancer was not a world we were familiar to, but had to learn quickly. When it comes to researching cancer, the Internet can be your worst resource: Complicated medical publications, outdated statistics, support sites with incorrect opinions, etc. Not much was clear at the time, except normal life as we knew it was over.

Cancer put us at a crossroad with two choices: Let the disease take over our life or try to live a normal life. When it comes to lung cancer, 50 percent of the patients die within a year so normal life is not a choice. Molly was among the lucky 50 percent that had a treatable mutation, so we had a stab at trying to live a normal life. Well, the new normal!

What has followed that infamous phone call two years ago has been the wildest roller coaster ride of emotions that could only be created by Hollywood. Our 'new normal' came with tears, laughs, new friends, big mistakes and an Emmy Award-winning documentary about our life. Looking back at it, it still seems unreal. We would have loved to have one boring uneventful day, but that’s not part of the 'new normal.'

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Image of Dr. Minesh Mehta at ASCO 2024.