Sharing Encouragement After a Cancer Diagnosis

January 7, 2021
Kristie L. Kahl
Kristie L. Kahl

In this episode of the “CURE Talks Cancer” podcast, we spoke with two patients and a caregiver about the lung cancer journey and the significance of support groups and peer relationships.

Despite having different lung cancer journeys, two patients and a caregiver found similar hope in support.

Ron Simmons is a two-time cancer survivor who was first diagnosed with stage 1 colorectal cancer in 2013. When routine bloodwork led him to visit a pulmonologist in January of 2017, he was diagnosed with what was thought to be a collapsed lung. The following December, Ron fell ill and further chest scans led to his stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis. Through his experience, he is a firm believer in getting a second opinion.

Heidi Nafman-Onda is a health educator and fitness trainer who always led a healthy lifestyle. Because of symptoms for an ovarian cyst, her physician ordered her to undergo a CT scan of her chest, abdomen and pelvis to rule out anything worrisome. It was then that they found a mass in her upper left lobe of her lung as well as malignant lymph nodes in the middle of her chest. Despite having no symptoms for lung cancer, Heidi was diagnosed with stage 3a adenocarcinoma and her pulmonologist told her to get her affairs in order.

She and her husband, Pierre, were in complete shock, as Heidi said she started to feel hopeless. Shortly thereafter, Heidi also underwent further scans to see if she had any metastases. Her scans showed no signs that the disease had spread and, in turn, she began to feel the pendulum of emotions swing toward hope.

In this week’s episode, we spoke with Ron, Heidi and Pierre about their experiences, feelings of hope and the value of a second opinion.