From a Devastating Lung and Brain Cancer Diagnosis to a Hopeful Future

In 2011, Laurie Thomson went to visit her doctor to get to the root of a persistent cough. What followed was a shocking diagnosis. She had Stage 4 lung cancer.

“It broke me,” says Laurie, who hails from Ontario's Niagara Region. “I am not a smoker. I don't surround myself with people who smoke. I don't have a history of cancer in my family. Why me?”

The devastating news was far from over. Shortly after, she learned she also had brain cancer.

“That's when I fainted. It's enough that you have lung cancer, but brain cancer on top of that?”

The mother of two grown daughters was in the midst of opening a health and wellness clinic and was determined to keep working. Even though she wasn't feeling any pain, she was told that would change as the disease progressed.

“That was a turning point for me,” recalls Laurie. “That's when I started to put the pink boxing gloves on and come out a fighter. I thought, ‘I will co-exist with cancer in my body, but I will tell it when I'm ready to go. It's not taking me.'”

With support from her husband Marc, family, friends and colleagues, she prepared herself for the worst.

She began receiving radiation and chemotherapy at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and was accepted into a clinical trial shortly after under the direction of Dr. Natasha Leighl.

Laurie spent three years on the trial before her cancer became resistant to treatment. She was enrolled in a second clinical trial and started a new drug in February 2015.

In early 2018, the nodule on her lung began to grow. She underwent a lobectomy in June, where part of her lung was removed.

Laurie has recovered well from the surgery. She has been able to continue working throughout her treatment. She even has plenty of energy to play with her six grandchildren.

She remains on the clinical trial drug for “maintenance.”

“Clinical trials have made a big difference for me. It's been eight years climbing a mountain and now I'm at the top.”

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