My name is Brian Kissinger. In February of 2010, I was unbelievably diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. I had come down with a bad case of pneumonia, and rushed to the hospital. I was terrified because my son, Braydon was only a few months old, and I didn’t want to get him sick too. After suffering from a constant cough for over a year, that was diagnosed as asthma, I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital. The CT tech, and the doctor on call, chased me down as I was leaving. They wanted to run some more tests. The tech tried to calm me with “I’m sure it’s nothing,” but the look on the doctor’s face said otherwise. After a battery of tests and procedures, my doctor called and apologized, that he had to tell me, I had cancer. I had a rare type of Lung Cancer, and it’s stage IV. At 33, healthy and someone who had never smoked, I was so shocked, I didn’t even understand what he was telling me. I had to have him spell the type of cancer four times, I couldn’t even seem to write it down correctly.
That is where the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation comes in. Through my family, I found another family, and a foundation who is entirely dedicated to fighting lung cancer. Bonnie, a eight year survivor, of lung cancer, works tirelessly to educate patients, and eradicate lung cancer. They have helped me confirm my choices of doctors, and even confirm treatments I have been prescribed.
Now, I am approaching three years, since my diagnosis, and I am feeling great. I have been in treatment for almost all of those three years. I am on my third line of treatment. I take a little pill two times a day. This pill was not even available as an option at the time of my diagnosis. Since then, this pill, Afinitor, has replaced my chemo infusions and kept me stable for a year and a half. All of this, with little to no side effects.
I have an entirely different mindset now. Cancer has changed every aspect of my life, not in a lot of ways you might think, though. I am very aware of how great my life is now. There are incredible things, happening everyday all around you. You just have to slow down and take a look for them.
I am doing everything I possibly can to beat lung cancer. So MY family and friends never have to fight this disease. So YOUR family and friends never have to fight this disease. It is important to me to fight to support other patients, in the fight of their lives. I fight in memory of some of the most incredible people I have ever met. I fight to make everyone very aware that ANYONE WHO BREATHES, can get lung cancer.