Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

One of the Most Amazing People

"Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. I'm hoping that by sharing my story with others that I'm able to change the face of lung cancer to show that if a 26-year-old, non-smoking, new-mom-to-be can get lung cancer, then anybody can."
"That day [when her son was born] was filled with so much happiness and love. It was also filled with fear -- fear of not getting to see my son grow and fear of missing out on so many of his life's
'firsts'. We recently celebrated his first birthday -- a day that I was so afraid of missing. I feel as though I am living on borrowed time and am so unbelievably grateful to be here to share each day with him."
"These past two weeks have been incredibly challenging. Unfortunately, last Tuesday we learned that the drug that I had taken since February, Lorlatinib, was no longer working and I had progression of disease ... This time to both lungs."
"Despite the fact that we always knew that this could happen [and with lung cancer, there was a very high probability], I was just so close to that miracle. My NED [no evidence of disease] status was taken away from me much sooner than I had hoped."
Elizabeth Dessureault, 27, lung cancer victim, Ottawa, Ontario
Elizabeth Dessureault and son Jack.
Elizabeth Dessureault, with her son Jack when he was 18 months old.

"We are all desperately sad here today. She leaves a huge impression on all the people she touched."
"That's what Lizzie did so effectively -- to bring to the public eye in that lung cancer can affect anyone. Such a beautiful young woman and such a positive attitude. She really just lit up every environment she was in."
Dr. Paul Wheatley-Price, president, Lung Cancer Canada, oncologist, Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre

It was an initial diagnosis, shocking in its finality, delivered to Elizabeth Dessureault in April 2015 when she was five months into her pregnancy that warned her and her family she hadn't long to live. At age 26, that kind of diagnosis for a young woman in seemingly good health, preparing to carry a pregnancy to term, to learn that she might live a year, no more, with her advanced-stage non-small cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer, would have shattered anyone's equilibrium.

Digesting the diagnosis with no doubt disbelief, this young woman nevertheless was determined to see her pregnancy through, even while she was undergoing treatment, and she did, successfully. She and her husband knew that they both desperately wanted to be able to nurture their child, and they did, for a short while, lavishing their love on a little boy they named Jack. That short while lasted until Saturday, when Jack's mother ended her destiny with cancer, in hospital.

The chemotherapy treatment she received to be able to continue living and to bring Jack into the world, two months' premature, enabled her to live with her child for a year and a half, before she slipped away. Elizabeth Dessureault was raised in a non-smoking family, and nor was there ever any knowledge of a genetic predisposition in her family to cancer. She was an elementary school teacher, she married the man she loved, and they looked forward to having a family of their own.

The public automatically relates to lung cancer as a preventable disease, one common to habitual smokers. Lung cancer causes the death of 10,000 women yearly in Canada alone, twice the number of women who die from breast cancer. Lung cancer kills more women than all other female cancers combined, yet 14 percent of those who are diagnosed with lung cancer have never been smokers. With lung cancer the five-year survival rate is 17 percent, though 85 percent for breast cancer.

She wrote in her blog and her Facebook page "From Lizzie's Lungs" in December that cancer had spread to her bones and she was also developing blood clots. "On the bright side, my brain scan was clear! (I'll take wins where I can get them!)"  On an earlier occasion she had written that living with cancer had become her "new normal".
"Despite everything that has happened ... I absolutely love my life. I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world because I am surrounded by the most amazing people."
Image result for elizabeth dessureault, jack

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