Marc was 38 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. This is his story.
“The only way to create change is to get involved. You very quickly realize that if you don't, who will?”
Marc was 38 years old when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
After the avid marathon runner noticed a pain in his hip that didn't go away, he went to the doctor, thinking the pain stemmed from some sort of undiagnosed running injury.
"I had an MRI and other tests. The results came back as cancer," he recalls. "And after additional tests, we discovered that it was stage 4 lung cancer."
The diagnosis, as he remembers it, was "pure devastation."
Marc and his wife, Adrienna, waited a few weeks to tell their two teenage sons.
"We knew early on it was cancer but didn't know what type of cancer. Then we found out it was lung cancer through multiple tests. It was a slow—well what felt like slow to me—evolving process," he says.
They finally told Marc's parents and their children about two weeks after his original diagnosis.
In the two years since he went to the doctor with his hip pain, Marc and his family have decided not to let his being a lung cancer patient define their lives. "Early on in my diagnosis, I made a concious decision to not implode on myself and not just go, 'Poor, pitiful me,'" says Marc. "But instead think, 'What can I do to change the environment that we find ourselves in?'"
Marc now sees himself as an advocate for people who are faced with a life-altering diagnosis. "Being real and honest and transparent about what it is like to not just be a lung cancer patient, but to be a cancer patient or a terminally ill individual, has allowed me to talk to a lot of people that that I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to talk to," he says.
Marc is still hopeful for the future. "My hope is that I'm having conversations like this two years from now, five years from now, ten years from now. I hope to see my kids fully graduate...have grandkids...retire...walk on the beach one day and have no worries. But, we have a lot of work to do between now and then," he says. "And it's going to take us getting involved and being intentional for us to see that hope come to fruition."
"What invention meant to me prior to my diagnosis was a smartphone or a car or just some sort of new, cool thing at the grocery store. Now, after my diagnosis, invention, for me, is about what's happening in the labs; the people in white suits walking around trying to figure out how to fix me. And those types of inventions are so much more meaningful than the latest and greatest gadget."
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"People want to love you. That is the one thing this experience has shown us. People want to care for you. They want to help you. You have people in mind that you think are going to be there, but then all these other people show up and they want to give all they have to help. We have amazing neighbors, most of whom we didn't even know before this. And now they'll bring us meals, they'll make sure our kids are picked up, it's endless."