Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

Melissa Crouse is Changing the Face of lung Cancer

I may have cancer, but it doesn’t have me!!!

Eight years ago I was diagnosed with NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) and was given between three and five years to live. As a relatively young healthy woman who worked out every day, I was shocked. I was in good shape and I never, ever smoked. I’ve survived four recurrences, dealt with (and continue to deal with) metastases, countless chemotherapy treatments, a course of radiation and several treatment related life threatening issues. It is a roller coaster ride, but it’s my reality.

I am a stage IV lung cancer patient, but I continue to work as a teacher and try to live each day to the fullest. I\’ve let go of a lot of emotional baggage and become a lot more tolerant of things that used to bother me because I now realize how silly it is to waste time on negativity. I adore my family and treasure the times we are together. In many ways, dealing with this monster has made a positive impact on my life. I am very fortunate to have what I consider the best doctors caring for me. Instead of focusing on the numerous pesky side effects from chemo, I choose to be grateful that I am still here and am able to enjoy life…..particularly the fact that I still feel productive. I am becoming more active as an advocate and feel so blessed that I can offer hope and encouragement to others.