Lung Cancer Survivor
Dianne woke up from surgery anxious to hear if a brain tumor was malignant.
She learned that the news was even worse: She had stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to her brain and spine.
Dianne was devastated because she had no prior warning signs.
“I definitely understand the meaning of silent killer now,” she says.
A thousand thoughts began running through her head and then she focused on what appeared most important: her family.
Her parents had already lost a son, Dianne’s brother, and now Dianne couldn’t bear the thought of her parents losing her as well. And what about her own children? She didn’t want to miss any milestones and had hopes of becoming a grandma.
Determined to find the best treatment, Dianne and her family visited several cancer centers in Orlando and Tampa. They echoed the same thing: she should get her affairs in order as statistics showed her survival rate was no more than six months.
But after she met with the doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center, her attitude changed. She says she was encouraged by the positivity in her prognosis. “They told me not only are we going to prolong your life, we’re going to try and cure you. “
Dianne was offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial. Courageously, feeling she had “nothing to lose,” she agreed to take part, thinking even if it wasn’t successful she would be helping future patients.
She quickly developed a close relationship with her treatment team, including oncologist Dr. Benjamin Creelan and the nursing staff.
“It’s like when you went to high school and you knew the teachers and everybody was one big family,” says Dianne. “That’s how you feel when you go to Moffitt.”
Almost three years after her diagnosis, Dianne no longer has any tumors on her brain or spine. She says she only has one tiny spot left on her lung.
She now fantasizes about playing out a scene from the movie “Pretty Woman” to those who said she wouldn’t live long. “That’s what I’d like to do,” she says. “Just walk in and say, ‘Hey, remember me? I’m here.”