terry gillespie outside in nature with a sun hat on

“Even after my vocal cord surgery, I can’t sing. It’s changed me, but I had to accept my new normal. Otherwise, what would I do?”

TERRY GILLESPIE’S STORY

I try not to let anything define me – my career, relationships, and finances – so I did not let my cancer diagnosis define me.

When I was first diagnosed with lung cancer, my doctors didn’t think I’d make it more than three months. And here I still am. I faced a hard road, and I struggled for a long time, but I found my own light. Now, living with no signs of cancer many years later, I know I was weighed down during my journey, but I am proud of who I have become.

Physically, it took years to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without losing my breath. And as an avid music lover, I’m disappointed I still can’t sing like I used to. But I’m not going to let that put me on the sidelines. I’ve developed a new appreciation for all I still can do, including riding my motorcycle.

Emotionally, I faced challenges with my relationships, but I learned to face my diagnosis independently and became my own advocate. I try to use what I’ve learned to mentor others.

Mentally, I am still scared of recurrence, but I think all people who have had cancer share that fear. It has reframed how I think about my life, and made me reprioritize what’s important.

Throughout my journey, I found my light, and I’ve tried to shine it onto others. Whether it’s with a game of cards, advice, or a joke, I hope I can help others going through their cancer journey to find their light.

Help others better understand the experiences of those living with cancer.