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Carolyn Pyle: Defying the Odds

“Cancer wasn’t my first choice, but we managed, thanks to great care and good fortune.”

Carolyn Pyle
Lung Cancer

Clifton, Texas-based Carolyn Pyle retired from her career as an office manager in 2000 and shifted from the corporate lifestyle to a more rural one – working full-time on her farm, alongside her husband. Manual labor – a requirement on any farm – became challenging in 2006 when she noticed she was gradually beginning to lose function in her right hand. Shortly thereafter, Carolyn struggled to form words and speak.

With these alarming symptoms, she quickly visited her local primary care provider to run tests. Having never smoked a cigarette in her life, Carolyn, who was 60 years old at the time, was caught off guard by a stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis.

Treating Metastatic Lung Cancer

Carolyn learned that the cancer started in her left lung and metastasized to her brain, which caused the neurological symptoms that led to her screening and ultimately, her diagnosis.

“We were told the average patient at this stage lives six months to two years,” said Carolyn. “It was difficult to hear, but I didn’t let it change how I approached my daily life.”

Anwar Khurshid, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Arlington Cancer Center North stayed close to Carolyn throughout her care. She first underwent surgery to remove her brain tumor, followed by chemotherapy, and another surgery to remove the tumor in her left lung. She received radiation and additional chemotherapy, followed by a third surgery in 2008 to remove a tumor that appeared on her right lung. Carolyn has remained in remission since her last lung surgery.

“Carolyn’s determination to look past the odds and beat her diagnosis was inspiring,” Dr. Khurshid said. “A positive attitude goes a long way for patients undergoing cancer treatment. She underwent three separate surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and radiation, but never once let it get her down.”

Carolyn’s approach to treatment was simple: work with her care team to identify a plan and continue her daily routine as closely as possible. Though some days were tougher than others, Carolyn and her husband remained active on their farm throughout her two-year treatment process.

Grateful to Beat the Odds

Stage IV NSCLC is typically not considered curable, but today’s treatment advancements are reducing cancer symptoms and prolonging survival compared to just a few years ago, let alone more than a decade ago when Carolyn was receiving treatment.

Knowing the odds weren’t in her favor didn’t stop Carolyn. She pressed on and lived her life, just as she planned from the start. Carolyn credits Dr. Khurshid and her care team at Texas Oncology for helping her overcome this huge hurdle in her life.

“I had a lot of good people around me,” said Carolyn. “Cancer wasn’t my first choice, but we managed, thanks to great care and good fortune.”

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.