What Can We Help You Find?

Shelly Engfer-Triebenbach

When rural Minnesota music teacher Shelly Engfer-Triebenbach started getting winded while doing the Hokey Pokey with her students, she knew something was wrong. She went to a doctor who gave her antibiotics for what was initially diagnosed as pneumonia. But days later learned that the shortness of breath was due to stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. 

Although the first biomarker testing for the ALK or EGFR biomarkers came back negative, Shelly felt something was not right. Recognizing the value of getting a second opinion, Shelly sought out a second and then a third consultation. And in the case of Shelly, some test results can be flawed. The discovery of Shelly’s ALK+ biomarker “was like winning the lung cancer lottery. There are so many other things available. It was a total life-changer.”

“My priorities shifted.  I had been very career oriented even working on moving from the role of teacher to administrator. But then I looked at my life and knew I wanted to spend more time with my kids.  I replaced music conferences with lung cancer conferences. One thing I learned: if you are not at peace with your diagnosis or treatment, seek out other options.”

Shelly Engfer-Triebenbach

Shelly’s Advocacy Work

Shelly Engfer-Triebenbach’s advocacy for herself throughout her lung cancer journey inspires her family and fellow lung cancer patients. 

In the Hope with Answers Video series, Shelly speaks with researcher Dr. Alice Shaw from Massachusetts General Hospital about ALK positive lung cancer. This 3-video series discusses the basics about this biomarker. It also discusses options for treating ALK positive lung cancer in patients experiencing resistance or progression.

Shelly was a participant in LCFA’s #LivingWithLungCancer Social Media Takeover on August 1, 2021 as part of World Lung Cancer Day. 

Read Shelly Engfer-Triebenbach’s story: Getting a second opinion: Self-advocacy in the face of lung cancer

Meet other LCFA Speakers Bureau members