(MIke’s story is shared by his mom.) My name is Susan. I am a mom of 2 beautiful sons, Michael and Chris. I’m a wife and my husband is a medical researcher. I’m a registered nurse. I’m an artist. I have a wonderful daughter-in-law Michele and 4 amazing grandchildren.
Mike called me on a Sunday morning complaining about chest pain. He thought it was likely a pulled muscle from playing sports and horsing around with his children. He was specific about the location of the pain (right-upper chest) and said physical activity did not make it worse. He had no cough. He had no fever. He had no other symptoms. I advised him to see his doctor ASAP, and what followed seems unreal.
In the fall of 2015, my oldest son Mike Burke was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 37. This is the hardest news for any parent. How could this be? He was healthy, active, and a never-smoker. We scrambled to find information about lung cancer, and to this day we spend hours everyday researching lung cancer. While Mike awaited his molecular test results, he started an organic diet and eliminated sugar. His house became a haven, free of chemicals. Mike’s doctor informed him that he was “fortunate” that they had found a mutation. Specifically, Mike’s tumor had the EGFR mutation, exon 19. He loves family time with his precious 4 children and coaching soccer. His wife spends much of her time in the kitchen cooking organic healthy meals, and they continually reassess their lives.
Aside from the initial pain he felt in his chest (no cough), he might have ignored this symptom as a muscle pull. Thankfully, he was diagnosed when he was; however, at this point, the cancer had spread from his lung to his lymph and hip. Now, life will never be the same. But with hope, research, and the belief in miracles life may prove to be better. Sharing Michael’s story is important. There is much to tell.