Facing her diagnosis
Great nurses are caring, selfless and compassionate, and Tiffany Fagnani is no exception. At the time of her diagnosis, Tiffany was not only a nurse case manager, but also the primary caregiver to her younger brother, Joseph, who has Cerebral Palsy. She had long fought on her brother’s behalf, but a lung cancer diagnosis meant a second fight of her own until she was declared NED, or no evidence of disease, in early 2018.
When Tiffany began to lose weight and battle fatigue in the summer of 2017, she blamed her busy lifestyle. Then one afternoon, she felt suddenly faint and unwell. Her instinct as a nurse was to quickly call 911 – it would be several days before she regained full consciousness. It initially appeared that she had suffered a stroke. But further investigation indicated that she had, in fact, suffered a seizure; the result of a mass in her brain which was a metastasis from her lung. Tiffany, at just 36 years old, had Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma.
Tiffany’s triumph: No evidence of disease
A true and devoted caregiver, Tiffany’s immediate concern was for her brother who, at the time, was suffering from the effects of respiratory failure. Now that she was facing her own medical crisis, she worried about not only taking care of herself, but also, taking care of Joseph. Given only six to 18 months to live, she knew that things were not going to be easy.
In the ensuing months, Tiffany would undergo a craniotomy, stereotactic brain radiation and targeted therapy all with the goal to eradicate the extensive disease in her lungs.
Thanks to advances in lung cancer research, today—just over a year after her diagnosis—not only is there no evidence of disease, but she is feeling “fantastic.” In equally good news, Joseph is home and doing well too.
“Being diagnosed with lung cancer changed me. I was always strong willed, but now…even more so.”
Tiffany knows how fortunate she is to be free of disease. As a medical professional, she appreciates even more than the average patient just how essential research is in allowing more people to hear those words: no evidence of disease. Read other inspiring survivor stories like Tiffany’s. Learn more about how you can support LCFA’s efforts to support those living with lung cancer.