Living Life While Battling Cancer

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email

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LACEY SPRINGS, Va. (WHSV) -- The American Lung Society estimates there will be more than 200,000 new cases of lung cancer this year.

It is by far the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women.

Less than six months ago, Josette Miller got the surprise of her life.

"Shock, it was pure shock. We told the doctor he was wrong," said Miller.

Josette found out her mother, Theresa Knupp, has stage-four lung cancer.

"It's inoperable they can't cure it," said Knupp.

The doctors will never know how she got it, but Knupp was a smoker for 40 years and she could feel something was wrong.

"I had quit smoking a few weeks before and it had cleared up a lot, the wheezing had," said Knupp.

But quitting didn't stop the rattling in her lung, so she finally went to the doctor.

"When you get that initial, it's cancer, you know the doctor come in and he said, can I shut the door? My husband grabbed me to hold me in the chair, because he said the doctor doesn't close the door, and when he said 'can I shut the door?,' my husband said he knew right then it's going to be bad," said Miller

Taking the news was hard enough, then later that night, she and her husband told their daughter Jessica.

"He said, we think she has lung cancer and everything just stopped," said Jessica.

But for Knupp, days went by faster and faster.

"You just go with the flow, just do what they told me, wasn't nothing I could do, I mean it was there," said Knupp

"Eight days. Eight days later she started her first chemo." said Josette.

The treatments flew by, but not for Jessica.

"The world was just spinning so fast. I felt like I was in slow-mo just walking like I had chains dragging me," she said.

Josette didn't know what to think.

"Where do we get help? How do we educate ourselves? What kind of treatment is she going to have? Is there going to be side effects we need to know about?" said Josette.

Questions flowing and time flying, finally it hit Theresa.

"When they put that mask on your face, it's real. I'll be glad when this is over," said Knupp.

Theresa is not alone, she shares this story with almost 400,000 other people.

"They need all the support they can get. Stand by them. It's not easy," said Knupp.

And when Knupp's hair fell out from chemo, that's what Jessica did.

"I wanted to make sure that she knew that I had her back 110-percent so I went to my cousin's house and I buzzed my head completely bald," she said.

With such a strong support system, Knupp is almost back to her old self.

"And it's just good to see her feeling better, and facing life more and more each day," said Jessica.

A life that has taught Jessica so much about humility and bravery.

"It's changed her life drastically, I know that she's a really strong person and an even better grandma, and she's here for everybody and I know she's really strong so anything that life throws at her I know she's going to be able to jump it," said Jessica.

Just like Knupp kicked the habit, Josette also smoked for years, until her daughter convinced her to stop.

Smoking isn't the only cause of lung cancer and Josette said either way, people deserve compassion.

"People automatically thought, think, that if it's lung cancer you smoked and why should we spend money for something you caused. Anyone can get lung cancer, if you have lungs you are at risk," said Josette.

The American Cancer Society said that even though the diagnosis of lung cancer comes with a very serious outlook some people with early stages can be cured.

Almost 400,000 people alive today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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