Linda Machmeier was driving back to the Twin Cities after her physical when the phone rang. She answered and was shocked to hear, “Are you driving and is anyone with you? We would like you to return to discuss what we are very certain is lung cancer.”
Linda was shocked and overcome by fear. She said, “I was not sick. I didn’t have any symptoms. I had just returned from a honeymoon in Europe and life was fantastic. Then I hit a huge bump and made a major detour.”
It took two months to complete testing, get a second opinion and decide on a course of treatment. Linda was diagnosed with Stage 3b lung cancer and she wasn’t a candidate for surgery.
Linda had watched her sister lose her battle with breast cancer ten years before and was aware of the harm that chemo and radiation do to the ‘good’ cells. Linda did some research of her own and learned about a new treatment using targeted chemotherapy and immunotherapy—she prayed she’d be a candidate. As it turned out, Linda has the EGFR mutation which made her a candidate for new treatments that were not yet mainstream.
Linda shared her apprehension regarding chemo and radiation with her oncologist. They discussed the pros and cons of traditional vs. targeted chemo. It was a difficult decision, but Linda and her husband chose the targeted treatment. Linda recalls a conversation she had with a nurse who told her, “Whatever decision you make, you must believe that it’s the right decision for you and trust it.”
“Every day when I take my little chemo pill, I say a prayer, send it light and love, and trust that it is doing its job. I express gratitude for the scientists and the funders that discovered it and the drug company that made it. I’m also grateful for the EGFR mutation which makes this treatment a possibility for me,” she shared.
Linda feels fortunate to feel as healthy as she does today. There is no longer evidence of cancer in her lungs or lymph nodes. She does have one small spot in her brain that is being watched. A year ago, three spots were treated by Gamma Knife radiosurgery and are now dormant. Linda feels that she is healthier today than she was two years ago.
Linda said that her values have changed since being diagnosed. What’s important to her is different today. She even sold her business.
“I stumbled upon ABOH and know that it wasn’t a coincidence. I’m passionate about helping raise awareness about this deadly disease. I’m also involved with ABOH fundraisers for the programs that drive research, screening and new treatments. We must screen for lung cancer as we do for breast and colon cancer. The life expectancy of lung cancer patients is absolutely unacceptable.”