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from Stage 4 - A Personal Journey by Mary Judge-Hubard

Living Life to the Fullest With Terminal Cancer

My name is Mary Judge-Hubard. I live in a coastal town of Virginia. I am married to a terrific man. I am blessed with two sons, a fantastic daughter-In law, and one Grandson that is the apple of my life. Two years ago, my life changed, and it will never go back to normal. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung cancer that mediatized down my spine and into the bone surrounding my femur. Now there is no cure for my cancer. I will keep fighting the cancer.

   I live in fear the cancer will win the fight. So far, the cancer is being controlled by a once a day chemotherapy pill called Tarceva, and radiation treatments. I pray these cancer fighters will keep up the fight and not let the cancer spread throughout my body? I refuse to think like a victim, but it takes work to keep a positive attitude.

   This book is the story of my journey, and the trials and tribulations of being diagnosed with a terminal disease and how I cope with it every day. I am not a doctor nor medical professional, and under no circumstances am I giving medical advice. I am a person who so far has lived passed her expiration date. This book tells my story, and I feel blessed to be alive. 

   My story is like many people, who, suddenly are overtaken by a disease when they are healthy. People who follow a strict diet to maintain a healthy weight and condition their bodies through regular exercise. The disease shows its ugly face, and your life is changed forever. Finding a new way to live is challenging. It requires a certain amount of courage.  As your heart is beating you can find balance. Believe me every second, and minute will never be wasted while I remain among them living.

   The word cancer is a noun. The definition of cancer is a disease that is caused by an uncontrollable division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. When diagnosed with cancer it feels like your life is turned upside down. The disease when spoken aloud, cancer, brings to the surface a plethora of emotions that hit you like a freight train. The diagnosis takes your breath away. 

   Leading up to the diagnosis of cancer was a series of unfortunate events. My primary care doctor, his Urgent care practice next door, and the local E.R. doctors treated my symptoms with prescription pain meds only. No diagnostic testing was performed except for two x-rays to the same area of my body. I called this period the pre-diagnostic dark ages. I became desperate for a fix. The cancer cells were raking havoc. Leaving my right hand paralyzed, my back with seven fractured vertebrae’s, nerve damage down my legs and arms and chronic pain.

   How does pain from cancer differ from regular pain? That is the million-dollar question? Pain is subjective. Everyone has their own unique pain threshold. The medical community gauges pain from one to ten. One is the least up to ten being the worst amount of pain. 

   What happens before you are a “patient” in “chronic pain?” Living without access to prescription pain medications? Life became a frantic search for help. 

   I sought help through chiropractors, yoga exercise and the stray that broke the camels back swimming. I joined a local gym to use the sauna, steam room and swimming pool. After the fourth freestyle stroke I could feel my spine crack, it felt like, in two pieces. I was frozen in pain. Looking back, I should have called for help, and have an ambulance take me to the hospital, but I was in denial. I managed to get out of the pool, get dressed and limp to my car. I sat in the driver seat for about one-hour crying. I drove home out of sheer will.

   I called my doctor’s office the next day, and they got me therapy sessions. in. I begged him for an MRI, told him about my pain. They took an ex-ray of my back, diagnosed my condition as a slipped disc, and referred me to a physical therapist. Now, my chart and the physical therapist concurred that I had a slipped disc in my spine. So, I was required by my Primary care physician to complete twelve sessions with the physical therapist before I came back to see him. The medical community was slowly killing me?

   Everyday my health was deteriorating. I was wearing a tens unit down my back and a using a ...

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