Lung Cancer: A Daughter’s Nightmare Come True


This month, I think of my Mom, especially on August 5th when I remember that she has been gone for 3 ½ years. WHAT?! How can that be?!


THREE AND A HALF YEARS, my life has been void of my very best friend, the best Mommy in the world (Yes, I still say Mommy!), the best friend, and the best Grammy. August 1st  is World Lung Cancer Awareness Day. Now, to be honest with you, I don’t always remember that day every single year … but I do remember those two horrible words that took my Mom away from this earth: LUNG CANCER.



You see, when I was little, all throughout school, we were shown the raw and dirty images of what your lungs would look like if you smoked. It stuck with me. I knew I didn’t want my lungs to look like that. But, I also was terrified that my Mom would die from lung cancer because she was a smoker. Ultimately, that is what happened. I begged my Mom all of my life to stop smoking because I didn’t want her lungs to be those black lungs that I saw as a kid; I didn’t want her to die …


I begged and begged her to stop. She would. But, she would start again. She even stopped smoking when she found out I was having my first son because! She didn’t want her grandson to be around any type of smoke. She never smoked around me or really anyone else. She would go outside whenever she smoked. She never smelled like smoke … honestly, you would never even know my Mom smoked. But, her addiction to nicotine would arise, and I would catch her smoking, and my heart would break all over again. WHY?! Why couldn’t she stop!?!!!!! I had to learn a hard lesson …


My Mom was only going to stop if SHE wanted to stop.


She tried over the years but … always went back to smoking. She faced a lot of challenges throughout her life— but she was superwoman! She met every challenge with such strength! She was amazing at everything she did including being my Mommy. She was the best!! She was the best Grandma to our oldest son (our youngest wasn’t born at the time). She was the best wife. She is my inspiration to this day. I strive to be just like my Mommy. Her unconditional love was unique, and she will always be the queen of my heart. 


In May 2018, we learned that my Mom had stage 3 lung cancer. She had a horrible cough and was experiencing pain which would ultimately lead to an x-ray that showed what was going on. She was the strongest woman throughout it all. She completed chemotherapy and radiation; we thought everything was looking up! She had started immunotherapy late in the year, and we were elated! She started complaining about pain in her left side which would turn out to be stomach cancer; the same day we found that out, she had a seizure where she showed so much bravery. Later that day, we found out that the cancer had spread to her brain and I will never forget my mom’s voice, which sounded so defeated when she questioned the doctor saying she had stage 4 lung cancer and she was TERMINAL (I hate this word to this day).


I was watching the nightmare I had always feared happening right before my eyes.




My Mom fought SO hard. We were told that she had one year to live. She endured radiation on her brain. She lost her hair, and she began to lose strength, the will to eat, the will to LIVE. She would pass away about a month later—  3 days before her 70th birthday, surrounded in love by myself, my husband, and my Mother-In-Law.


Cancer SUCKS. It stole my Mom away … it stole her time on this earth. Of course, lung cancer doesn’t always happen from smoking; it can happen from secondhand smoke or just happen! Please make sure to get checked. It is super important- it may save your life from this terrible and unfathomable disease. 


For more information on lung cancer and awareness, please visit: American Lung Association.


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Kelly W.
Kelly was born in Los Angeles, CA, and raised in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (GO BA!) where she graduated as a Tiger. Soon thereafter, she moved to Columbia, MO, and attended The University of Missouri-Columbia (a Tiger again!). She graduated in 2009 with her degree in Actuarial Science with an emphasis in Finance. While at Mizzou, she met her husband. Once they graduated, they moved back to St. Louis. They got married in St. Lucia in 2014 in front of all of their closest friends and family after being together for 5 years! A couple of years later (2! To be exact!) they had their oldest son! During the pandemic they had their youngest son and feel their beautiful family is complete! Being a Mom is the most challenging and rewarding job! Kelly truly LOVES and adores her boys! They are blessings and her heart! After working super hard at her job for the past nine years (almost a decade whoohooo!), she attained her dream role! She is a Data Engineer specializing in Data Integration. What is that? …maybe one day she will talk about it! She loves her job- it’s super challenging!! She is not the biggest fan of being on-call once a month, but! Hey! Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do! As mentioned earlier, Kelly loves St. Louis … she lives in Ballwin and adores her neighbors and neighborhood. Her family is the most important thing to her. They love doing everything together! They love taking their boys to parks, water parks (especially with summer! Whooo! )… pretty much any place that they can get all of that energy out!! They have energy for days … weeks … heck! She just needs 5% of it and she’d be set for the rest of her life! She and her husband also find it important to have their alone time- they love dates! Thanks to her super supportive and loving MIL, they get to go on dates from time to time! They love trying new spots to eat (Brass Rail is a new favorite with the best martinis!), going to the movies and traveling! Kelly’s looking forward to sharing her thoughts on a variety of topics and she is hoping you will be open to listening and maybe discussing!


  1. Phenomenal piece!!! This is Kelly mother n law and I call her my daughter n love… She has so much love to give… I watch her with my son and grandsons and my heart is so full of joy… this was a very hard experience for her and she is finally able to talk about it and I am very proud of her to be able to share this experience with everyone because she hopes it will help someone down the line …

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