Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Matters’

A Survivor at Every Game: The Atlanta Falcons Support The Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer During Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Tuesday, August 2, 2005, at the age of 40 years and in seemingly excellent health, an evening commuter came crashing into my SUV. I quickly phoned 911. Within moments there were lights and sirens coming from every direction. The paramedics gently placed me onto a straight board and took me to the local hospital where I underwent a variety of tests to verify the extent of my injuries. By the time the tests were completed the ER room I had been assigned to was filled with my family and our family doctor, Dr. Ayisha Gani. After a few hours of x-rays and tests the ER doctor told me he had “…good news and bad news”. He went on to say with surprise, “The good news is that there are no injuries, no fractures, nothing whatsoever as a result of the car accident.” Everyone was relieved, for a moment. “The bad news is there is something in your lower right lobe the size of my fist; we need to do some tests…” Dr. Gani, my personal physician explained to me that she was admitting me for additional tests which would more than likely involve a biopsy the following day.

The next day I had a biopsy performed and remained in the hospital while other family members made their way to Georgia. It was Thursday afternoon that Dr. Gani came to my hospital room with all of my family in the room and told me the news and said, “The biopsy results are in; there is a tumor growing in the lower right lobe; it has to come out right away, you have lung cancer.” I was shocked to hear this and asked if this was accurate. I asked her how this could have happened. Me? I never smoked and neither did my parents. How could I get lung cancer? I was then told it was the fastest growing type of cancer cell, Adenocarcenoma. I had lung cancer. I never smoked and neither did my parents.

Later that evening my three sons were brought to my hospital room. They were 12, 14 & 16 years old at the time. I proceeded to remind them of the phrase they had heard throughout their life, “God works in mysterious ways”. As I reminded them of this phrase I repeated for them the sequences e of events that had played out over the past two days. I wanted to protect them from any unknown fears that the word “cancer” is typically associated with. They understood that surgery would be required and that the accident was one of “God’s mysterious ways” of letting me know there was something wrong inside me.

Two weeks later, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. John E. Moore performed the 14-hour surgery that would save my life. Dr. Moore removed the orange sized tumor from the middle and lower lobe of my right lung and 31 of my lymph nodes. At the time I was staged as “1b” but several years later a second pathology report indicated that I was actually at Stage III due to activity in a lymph node. After 8 weeks of recovering from major surgery Dr. Moore installed a mediport which was the method of receiving 12 weekly treatments of chemotherapy (taxol & carboplatin) under the care of Dr. Thomas Seay of Atlanta Cancer Care. As of 12.30.05, my last chemo treatment, I have had no other cancer related issues. I continue to be closely monitored and screened.

I am a miracle. If it had not been for the auto accident I would not have known about the tumor in my lung. The cancer would more than likely have spread which would have been “too late” for treatment and I would have died in the spring of 2006. I am so blessed!

Join Team Draft’s National Campaign Respond and Donate Today as we Change the Face of Lung Cancer!

Georgia Becomes the First State to Create Lung Cancer License Plate

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – Jackie Archer and former NFL player Chris Draft stood next to Gov. Nathan Deal as he signed into law a bill that calls for the creation of a Lung Cancer Awareness license plate.

“I honestly didn’t think that I would be alive to see this happen, but I am,” Archer said as she fought back tears. Archer is a lung cancer survivor. Doctors discovered it in 2005 after she was involved in a car accident.

“My accident saved my life,” said Archer. To this day doctors do not know how Archer got lung cancer because she never smoked and neither did her parents. “The whole stigma that lung cancer is a smokers disease, we are changing that stigma,” said Archer.

Draft, who also played for the Atlanta Falcons, is also helping to change that stigma. His wife lost her battled to lung cancer exactly one month after their wedding. Keasha Rutledge Draft was only 38. She was another non-smoker diagnosed with the deadly disease. Draft held a picture of Keasha while the governor signed the lung cancer license plate into law.

“This plate doesn’t just say lung cancer matters, but it really allows somebody to feel like they matter and fighting against it with family and friends who are right there with them,” said Draft. Draft was there for his wife and although she’s gone, he is still fighting to bring awareness. He said that’s why it was important for him to be there when Georgia became the first state in the country to have a lung cancer license plate. “By having the plate and increasing the awareness people will understand how important it is and do something about it,” said Draft. Respond and Donate