“In My Own Words” by Caroline Maglente Foster
“In My Own Words” by Caroline Maglente Foster I’m a 45 year old mother to two boys, a partner to a loving and caring man, and the only child to wonderful loving parents. I’m a teacher to 5th students at Don Benito School in Pasadena and a friend to many. I’ve been described as having a spit- fire, strong-willed personality and an inspiration to family and friends. But that comes from the desire and the determination to be courageous, to make light, and to push on from battling stage III lung cancer.
Looking for answers… As the summer of 2012 was coming to an end and preparing for my thirteenth school year, I didn’t feel quite right. With family and with school, I grew overwhelmingly unmotivated, feeling listless, and becoming less and less productive. What I enjoyed most, caring and doing for my family and educating and leading my students, were no more. Walking about campus seemed like I was running a marathon. Doing household chores seemed like I was lifting boulders.
By the time winter recess came around, it was time to visit the doctor. I needed answers. I was tired of feeling depressed, feeling out of shape, and undetermined. But before entering her office, I thought to myself, could it be pneumonia, COPD, severe asthma? My long time physician told me this couldn’t be right. And so the tests began. I remember having an X-ray done and was asked not to leave the building until it I visited with the doctor. My nerves grew like a balloon was about to burst. She said there was something in my right lung that wasn’t supposed to be there. I was then treated for pneumonia and within two weeks I had seen a respiratory specialist, a cardiac thoracic surgeon, had surgery scheduled, and an appointment with City of Hope. To my surprise, after having the biopsy, I was diagnosed with cancer in my right lower lobe.
Every day is a gift… From the moment my family and I learned I was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer, I was determined to be as aggressive with my treatment as possible and City of Hope was going to help guide me through it. From every obstacle to hurdle, I leaped over it and through it. After eight months away from school and being more of an observer than a participant in my family, I grabbed life and with my treatment protocol of taking a tarceva (an oral cancer treatment, rather than chemotherapy and radiation because of my form of lung cancer) I am living life to the fullest as I battle this silent disease for which there is no known reason as I was never a smoker nor came from a home of smokers.