Michelle King Robson introduces Melissa, a lung cancer patient and health advocate.
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Dealing with Lung Cancer - Melissa's Story Michelle King Robson: It’s my honor to introduce Melissa Waller to you today who is a patient advocate like myself. And Melissa has been a huge advocate, not only for her own health, but for the health of so many other women. So, welcome Melissa, we are so happy to have you with us today. Melissa: Thank you. Michelle King Robson: So tell me a little bit about what happened to you. Melissa: Well, it all started back in October/November and I started feeling pain in my back; it starting with the tailbone. And I am pretty active. I am involved in Pilates, Yoga, running and so, I started noticing, when I was doing different activities that my tailbone was just, I mean it felt like somebody had crushed it. So I went to the doctor. He didn’t really see anything and sent me on my way. He just gave me some painkillers and said, “Okay, go about your daily routine.” Michelle King Robson: Did he look, Melissa? Did he really kind of do any scans in or anything? Melissa: They didn’t do any scans, he did an x-ray and it was nothing that really stood out. Michelle King Robson: Okay. Melissa: So, let’s see, fast forward to Christmas time, I went home to Park City and went skiing and I remember trying to go down one ski run and I was almost doubled over in pain. My whole back just killed so bad just from doing that one particular activity. So, I knew something was wrong because at that point, that particular pain was more in my mid vertebrae versus the tailbone, so the pain had kind of shifted around a little bit. So I knew it wasn’t, that something was definitely wrong and it was more than just a cold or pneumonia or a sore muscle. So, I took myself to the ER and they did a CT scan. They found that I had fractures all up and down my vertebrae. So, at that point they thought that I had valley fever and they started treating me with an antifungal medicine. They treated me on that for about a week and in the meantime they did a vertebroplasty to basically, to hold up my vertebrae. Michelle King Robson; To fuse it. Melissa: Yes, so that it wouldn’t collapse and basically, with the vertebroplasty what they do is they just inject cement into your vertebrae to make it more solid, and at the same time they did a biopsy. So, once I got the results back in biopsy they found that it was actually stage 4 lung cancer and at that point, it was a huge surprise to the doctors because lung cancer usually is more prominent in people that are older, that, you know, maybe smoked their whole life and that sort of thing. So, to see somebody that is 31 years old that has lung cancer they just, it blew them away.