Lung Cancer and Brain Tumor Survivor
Tiffany was a mother of two young children when she first faced cancer in 2012. She had been experiencing pain in her back, which she thought was a pinched nerve. To her surprise, an MRI revealed a tumor in her lung. It was Stage 3 lung cancer. And it shocked her.
Ten years earlier, her mother had been successfully treated for breast cancer at Moffitt, and she was able to get Tiffany a referral. The initial trauma of learning she had cancer was lessened by the attention she quickly received at Moffitt. “You are handled from the moment you walk in…people are gentle and kind and warm,” Tiffany says. “My husband works in the medical industry and says he’s never experienced a place like Moffitt,” she adds.
Shrinking her tumor required three rounds of chemo and surgery, which meant Tiffany would have to call forth incredible courage. “I’m going to have to dig deep…and be bigger than I ever wanted to be,” she remembers thinking. But through it all she never felt alone, and had a feeling everything would be okay. She has a special place in her heart for her surgeon, Dr. Robinson, who always made time for her—and assured her of the one thing that mattered most. “I think it was the first conversation,” she recalls, “and he said, ‘I’m going to make sure you’re around to raise your babies.’”
Tiffany was feeling great more than a year after her surgery when she noticed a peculiar feeling in her arm. Knowing lung cancer can move to other parts of the body, she called her oncologist who told her to schedule an immediate MRI. She was terrified to learn she had a cherry-sized tumor on her brain that was pressing on the nerve that controlled one part of her body. Tiffany would need surgery. Again.
Within five days she had the surgery, which she notes was not nearly as traumatic as her earlier experience with cancer. “I knew it was going to be okay, I knew I was in great hands because I’d already had the experience,” she says. Now in remission, she feels a bond with her entire Moffitt cancer team. “They see you at your worst…they’re as much a part of the good news, the bad news, ups and downs as your family members,” she explains. “I could not have asked for a better experience.”