Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

Kristine Scoon is Tackling Lung Cancer

My fiancé John is the light of my life. He never stops making me laugh; he\’s a complete ball of energy, fun and is a kid at heart. Last year that light started to fade. In the summer of 2015, John started to complain of back and hip pain. He thought he was getting out of shape or it was just from his years of playing soccer. We tried everything but nothing really helped. He slowly started to seem less energetic to me. He wouldn’t\’t want to do much and was sleeping longer.

By November 2015, he started having a persistent cough, night sweats, chills and weight loss. After weeks of annoying him, he went to an Urgent Care. He took some steroids and cough medicine but it didn’t\’t really go away. After another doctors visit, they tried some antibiotics but there wasn’t\’t any improvement. The doctor finally decided to dig into John\’s issues a bit more.
On January 6, 2016 we were told John had cancer. They thought it might be lymphoma or leukemia. Clearly a 28 year old, non-smoker with no health issues couldn’t\’t have lung cancer. After a few more tests and a trip to the Cleveland Clinic; John was diagnosed with Stage IV, NSCLC-Adenocarcinoma on January 18th. The main tumor was in his upper left lung but it had spread to his lymph nodes, bones and brain. Luckily we were told that he carried the EGFR mutation.

In February he received Gamma Knife Radiation to four lesions in his brain, palliative radiation to his hip and started Gilotrif. All the clique stories you hear are true. I hardly remember those months. Everything was a blur and cancer consumed our every minute. We lost track of the number of doctors we saw. I still look back and I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. We were prepared for lymphoma. It would be a bump in the road but we’d beat it and keep going down life’s path. But lung cancer? I had four relatives die from the disease. It’s wiped out my family. How is this happening when we are just getting to start our lives together? John handled it like a champ. He had his breakdowns and weak moments but for the majority of it; he just kept going. There was no choice for him.

Now here we are almost eight months after his diagnosis and he’s already lived past many statistics. His last scans have shown that almost all of his four brain lesions completely disappeared thanks to the Gamma Knife. The Gilotrif is continuing to work and his main tumor is down to 1/3 of its original size while the rest of his body has returned to normal. Most importantly he feels back to his old self. He walked a 5K for Lungevity’s Breathe Deep Cleveland event. He’s riding his bike, taking our dog for walks and has more energy than I do. Cancer is no longer taking over every minute of our lives. We’re planning our wedding for next year and trying just to live our lives together. We understand now how lung cancer can become a chronic disease and hope that we can help remove the stigma associated with it. I’m so grateful for modern medicine.