In the fall of 2017, Brandy Bryant had a painful cough. She looked light enough to pass on her own, but she began to worry when she too began to have shortness of breath.
"That was a little annoying," said Bryant, 41, of Atlanta today. "Nothing that really bothers me, not a cough as bad as bronchitis."
Bryant suspects that she has developed asthma. But doctors believed it could be pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that causes scarring, which makes it difficult to breathe. She tried to examine him, but her symptoms seemed to be inappropriate.
“Dr. Google said it was cancer, "she said." But that didn't make any sense to me. "
" Exercising OK, I was able to do everything by running after my children, "Bryant added." Even the pulmonologist said at the first meeting, "This is not cancer … It must be something else." [1
When she returned to look at the results, she felt that the doctor seemed sober. Then she was told there was stage 3B lung cancer.
Bryant was amazed at the news, in part because he had never smoked. He calls himself the "most judge of judges" when it comes to smokers.
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"I ran away when I saw people smoking … I didn't understand why you couldn't stop smoking," "To have cancer that we were told was his only reason for smoking, I was blown up. I was completely devastated. . ”
but after her fourth round of chemotherapy, she developed fluid around her heart and lungs. drained the fluid, they discovered there was cancer in it, and Bryant now had cancer in stage 4. Genomic tests revealed that it was nonplastic lung cancer of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) .People under 55 who have never smokers are most likely to have this form of cancer, according to the American Lung Cancer Foundation.
"Going from stage 3 hoping for a cure to stage 4 and you are incurable until you die. "It was incredible," she said. "It was really, really hard."
Looking back, Bryant thought her symptoms seemed mild, but her ex-husband mentioned months before her diagnosis that she was coughing all night. It did not disturb her sleep or how she felt, so she thought it was something small and never sought help for it.
"I was so busy taking care of the family. That didn't bother me, ”Bryant explained. "That was not a priority. This is what we, as women, do. "
The news of her four children's cancer – Amelie, 17, Karsin, 11, Gabriel, 9, and Ken, 5 – was difficult.
" The hardest thing, of course, was telling them – she said . "The first thing my second daughter asked me was," Will you die? "The hardest thing to say was that I couldn't promise her.
With a year and a half, Bryant has been in therapy, directed of the ALK mutation and contracted her tumors, which means that there is no detectable cancer in her body so far.  The focus of lung cancer treatment is to stop its spread, according to Dr. D. Ross Kamage, director of thoracic oncology and chairman Joyce Zeph at the Lung Cancer Research Center at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, which does not cure Bryant.
"If the cancer has spread to other organs … the goal is control, not treatment, "he told TODAY via email. "For some subtypes of lung cancer, such as ALK, this control can be measured in years."
Advanced treatment options such as genomic testing and targeted therapy give more chance to patients with lung cancer, he added. Camage.
"Lung cancer is no longer a disease," he said. "Its division into different [types] genes based on cancer genes has been the key to the success of personalized medicine. Long-term control is much easier when you tailor treatment approaches to each patient. ”
For Bryant, she knows that the effects of her therapy are likely to last for about three years and that treatment options are limited beyond that step. She hopes sharing her story will help increase resources for research on all types of lung cancer.
"I hope we can do some more research and have more than one opportunity," she said.
During his treatment, Bryant continued to work and enjoy time with his family. She adopted a dog and took her children to Paris.
"I'm definitely more of a person who lives in the moment, I realize that life is fragile for all of us," she said. "I don't realize until it touches you in some way where there is some kind of tragedy or you have a diagnosis that is life-limiting."
Although her future remains unclear, she remains positive and creates memories: "The biggest thing I did was attend with my children."