Cissy Carroll, Survivor

I am now 36 years old and was diagnosed with stage IV non-small lung cancer at age 32.

In October of 2015, I had a four-month-old son, Jackson, who kept me on my toes and didn’t sleep well. When I began having horrible headaches and began to experience vertigo, which I had never had before, I decided I needed to see a doctor. My neighborhood walk-in clinic and nurse practitioner ultimately saved my life by listening to my concerns. After an abnormal MRI, she immediately told me to go to Vanderbilt and that I couldn’t drive myself. The staff already knew I was coming. After being seen in the ER by a neurologist and neurosurgeons, I was admitted. I had a golf ball-sized brain tumor blocking the brain stem fluid and causing the vertigo. I was kept on steroids to reduce the swelling and was scheduled for brain surgery the following Monday. Surrounded by family and friends, Monday came and the surgery was a success. While operating, seven other small tumors were found; these would be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery.

It was a long four days before I got the soul-crushing phone call that I had stage IV non-small Lung Cancer. I was started on immunotherapy that didn’t work and then moved to carboplatin, which I had an allergic reaction to. I’ve endured brain radiation and lung radiation.

I still take chemo every four weeks (Avastin and Alimta). I’m so thankful for my four-year-old that keeps me on my toes and my loving and supportive husband. I enjoy taking trips and living my life to the fullest. I enjoy having the energy, most of the time, to participate in fitness classes at my local YMCA. Recently a growth was discovered in my brain and potentially in my lungs, but I have full faith in my physicians. I’m thankful for God, my support system and small wins.


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