Phyllis' Story about surviving Lung Cancer

Bonnie Schuman
Last Modified: May 25, 1997

I was a working actress until my diagnosis of lung cancer in 1991 at the age of seventy. When I told my doctors that cancer wouldn't kill me, they thought I was being overly optimistic, but I was right.

The surgery to remove my lung went well, but then came serious complications. A seemingly incurable infection caused my doctors to doubt I would recover.

Because of the infection, I had several tubes in my body that had to be irrigated every couple of days with a solution including pure Clorox. Each time a tube was irrigated, I screamed with agony. I was sure I would die from the pain. I asked my daughter to find me a place where I could be with people who understood what I was going through. And she did. The Wellness Community!When I first attended an Orientation Meeting, I was not sure if it was for me. Perhaps it would be too depressing. But, no matter. I needed to talk about my cancer -- and so I went, and I am glad I did.

Throughout this period of anguish, my support group gave me tremendous encouragement. At The Wellness Community I always find someone with courage in a different avenue and add them to my bank account of positives. Even the people I've known that have died have left me with what I learned from them and wonderful memories.

We cancer patients laugh a lot in group, too. I remember one time, as we were leaving group, we were all hysterical with laughter. When we looked up and saw our significant others walking out of their group with solemn faces, while we the cancer patients they were trying to help were rollicking, the irony of it made us laugh even harder.

Being in remission, I have returned to work and am now in The Wellness Community Alumni group. I remember my early days at the Community, diving for the Kleenex box quite a few times. Now, I don't, except on those occasions when I laugh too hard. Right now my life is absolutely delicious.