Hackettstown Cancer Survivor Inspires Others

A decade after her diagnosis, a Hackettstown lung cancer survivor is speaking out to inspire others. 

Kathy Meyer of Hackettstown, is a lung cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2006 and told she would be lucky to live four more years. Now, 10 years later, Meyer is flying in the face of statistics and using her experience to raise awareness and funds for lung cancer research.
Meyer serves on a committee for this year’s Northern New Jersey Free to Breathe Lung Cancer 5K Walk, set for Sun., Oct. 2, at Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna.
Free to Breathe is a national lung cancer coalition with the goal of doubling lung cancer survival by 2022. Meyer will participate in this year’s walk with her team “10 Years and Counting.”
The five-year survival rate of lung cancer is 17 percent and has remained nearly unchanged for years. Itchy eyes, watery nose and coughing led Meyer to initially believe she had allergies. When breathing got so difficult she couldn’t walk up stairs, she sought medical treatment. Her allergist suggested she might have COPD and recommended a pulmonologist. It was at a visit to the pulmonologist that a CT scan was finally done, revealing small cell lung cancer.
A five centimeter tumor behind Meyer’s breast bone sent her life into a spiral of changes. Her oncologist told her she had only 11 weeks to live unless she started treatments right away, and only four years to live if all went well.
Ten years later, Meyer suffers memory loss due to the brain radiation treatment she received as she battled her cancer. She has fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and has to go back to her oncologist for regular checkups because many medicines prescribed for arthritis can cause cancer. But none of this has deterred her to advocating for lung cancer awareness.
Meyer is involved with the Cancer Hope Network in Chester where she talks to people newly diagnosed with the cancer that she had. She shares her story with them and lets them know that they are not alone.
Anyone interested in joining the walk or donating to the cause is encouraged to visit www.freetobreathe.org/northernnj.

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