In the fall of 2017, Brandi Bryant had a nagging cough. It seemed mild enough that it would disappear by itself, but she began to worry when she too began to suffer from respiratory distress.
"It was a bit annoying," said Bryant, 41, from Atlanta, TODAY. "Nothing that really bothered me or a bad cough like bronchitis."
Bryant suspected that she had developed asthma. The doctors thought it might be pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that causes scars and makes breathing difficult. She tried to explore it, but her symptoms did not seem to fit.
"Dr. Google said it was cancer, "she said. But for me that made no sense. "
" I trained well, I could do anything to chase after my kids, "Bryant added." Even the pulmonologist said at the first appointment: "This is not a cancer … It must be something else . & # 39; "
Your doctors continued to search, they ordered a CT scan, and then did a bronchoscopy to have a quick look around. At that point, Bryant wondered if she was suffering from a disease like tuberculosis ̵
When she returned to look at the results, she sensed that the doctor was sober with lung cancer.
Bryant was stunned by the news, in part because she had never smoked, calling herself the "Judge of the Richter "when it comes to smokers.
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" I run away when I see people smoking … I did not understand why you can not stop smoking, "she said." To a cancer Having been told that it is caused only by smoking, I was blown away. I was completely devastated.
She started chemotherapy and radiation, but after her fourth round of chemotherapy she developed fluid around the heart and lungs. When the physicians removed the fluid, they found that it also had cancer, and Bryant now had stage 4 cancer. Genomic testing revealed that it was an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) -positive non-small cell lung cancer. According to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, people under the age of 55 who have never smoked are the most likely to suffer from this form of cancer.
"If you hope for healing from stage 3, you will be incurable until you die. It was overwhelming, "she said. "It was really, very hard."
Looking back, Bryant had thought her symptoms were mild, but her ex-husband mentioned months before she was diagnosed that she had to cough all night. It had not disturbed her sleep or her feelings, so she thought it was something small and never sought help for it.
"I was so busy and cared for the family. It did not bother me, "Bryant explained." It was not a priority, that's what we do as women. "
Their four children – Amelie (17), Karsyn (11), Gabrielle (9) and Ken (5) – Informing about the cancer was difficult.
"The Most Difficult Things Of course I told them," she said. "The first thing my second daughter asked me was," Are you going to die? " The hardest thing was that I said that I can not promise it. I dont know. "
For one and a half years, Bryant has undergone therapy targeting the ALK mutation and downsizing its tumors, which means that there is currently no evidence of cancer in their bodies.  According to Dr. D. Ross Camidge, director of thoracic oncology and Joyce Zeff Chair of Lung Cancer Research on The University of Colorado Cancer Center, which did not treat Bryant, focuses on treating lung cancer to stop it from spreading.
"When the cancer spreads to other organs … control, not healing, is the goal." he said TODAY via e-mail. "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 therapies, are providing better opportunities for lung cancer patients," Camidge added. "Lung cancer is not a single disease anymore," he said. "Dividing it into different [types] based on the cancer genes was the key to the success of personalized medicine." "Long-term control is much easier if you customize the treatment approaches for each patient."
Bryant knows that the effect of her Therapy is expected to continue for approximately three years, and treatment options beyond this step are limited, and she hopes that sharing her story will help increase the resources needed to study all types of lung cancer.
"I hope we do more research and She said she continued to work and enjoy spending time with her family, adopting a dog and bringing her kids to Paris.
"I am definitely more of a person living in the moment Clear that life is fragile for all of us, "she said," I can not see it until it touches you, where there is one Type tragedy or you have a diagnosis that limits life.
Even though her future remains unclear, she remains positive and reminisces: "The greatest thing I've done is that I'm present with my children."