Welcome to the November 19th Edition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2015. Trying to understand what is going on in November – read November 1st blog post.
I am happy to connect you all with fellow lung cancer survivor Anne Gallagher.
Anne Gallagher spends her days as a patient navigator at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute in Eugene, Oregon. She is a valuable team member dedicated to all kinds of cancer patients, keeping a close eye on them to ensure that they receive great care in all areas of health.
Her professional career in healthcare began 11 years prior in Women’s Health. The transition to oncology came shortly after Anne’s own cancer diagnosis in 2002 at age 25; clearly a shock and turning point in her life.
Diagnosed with early stage neuroendocrine lung cancer, surgery was recommended. Specifically, removal of two lower right lobes. Surgery was successful. Remission achieved. Fast forward to 2008. Reocurrence takes place; now cancer takes up residence in the upper right lobe, the only remaining real estate up for grabs on the right side. In response, her medical oncologist prescribes an injectable anticancer agent, to be administered every 28-days. From this point forward, with only one brief interruption, Anne receives an injection every 28-days to control her cancer. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. The injection is managing Anne’s extremely rare type of lung cancer while it slowly causes bone damage and extreme fatigue.
Suddenly, it was clear. The cancer clarity. A calling of sorts. If she was to stay in healthcare it was imperative to be directly in contact with oncology patients.
Anne regularly attends the national LUNGevity Hope Summit in Washington, D.C. More often than not she has a speaking role at the event. The Summit is meaningful to her, it is the first place where she talked to someone who had the same surgery she had. Sadly, it was six years post surgery. She, as well as her oncologist, continue to be on the look out for an individual with her same kind of cancer.
“You don’t have to yell to make a lot of impact.” Anne says.
So true. It is her calm and inviting presence that draws people in. Her laugh is like a perfect mug of hot cocoa. It is sweet, warms you from within, brings a smile to your face; something you want to hold onto with both hands. She is an attentive listener. An old soul. Although don’t be fooled by her innocent look. If you don’t pay careful attention you may find yourself getting into late night mischief with her.
Anne gives her all at work and she doesn’t mind. “I feel like I’m here to take care of others,” she says with pride while wearing a grin. Clearly she gets great satisfaction from her career as she spends much of her diminished by cancer treatment energy there. With what remains, it is dedicated to family time. A proud aunt to five and sister to three. “My siblings are my best friends.”
“I’m no Mother Teresa,” she says with a laugh, “but I try to think the same way!”
Anne is a good egg. She is always on-time but doesn’t wear a watch. She’s classic like her favorite dessert, brownie a la mode. Without a doubt she is an asset to the lung cancer community.
Read Day 18 Profile HERE
Read Day 20 Profile HERE