Elsberry resident Judy Holland is engaged in what has now been a year-long battle with Stage 3-B lung cancer. 

“It all started with a severe cough that just wouldn’t go away,” said Holland.

Judy Holland

Holland went to a doctor for that cough on May 22 of 2018.

She was given some medicine, but her cough didn’t improve.

After enduring a number of tests, Holland was told on June 1 of 2018 that she had lung cancer.

“It’s quite advanced,” said Holland.

Holland was initially treated with standard chemotherapy, but that had to be abandoned after just a few sessions, due to the fact that her blood count had dropped to very dangerous levels.

At that point, she was placed on a medication called Keytruda.

Holland was treated with that particular medication until January of 2019.

In the meantime, Holland’s tumor decreased in size from 8 cm to 5 cm.

Unfortunately, tests conducted in January of 2019 revealed that the process had reversed itself and the tumor had grown again.

The only response was more radiation.

“I went through six weeks of radiation, but the scan they did afterward showed that the tumor was still growing,” said Holland.

Two weeks ago, Holland began a different form of chemotherapy treatment.

She will receive between four and six of those treatments at three-week intervals, and then doctors will once again evaluate her status.

For the moment, however, Holland said she feels quite well.

“Other than the cough I don’t feel bad right now at all,” said Holland. “I’m still able to work full-time, and I’ve worked full-time ever since it happened. I think the keys to fighting cancer are to remain positive and to keep your family around you.”

Holland said she has also benefitted from excellent medical care at the David T. Pratt Cancer Center at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.

“They’ve been great to me down there,” said Holland.

Holland added that she received her radiation treatments at a facility in Lake Saint Louis, and that she appreciated the doctors and nurses there as well.

When Holland was first diagnosed with lung cancer, she had no medical insurance.

Fortunately, the Elsberry community responded in a big way.

“They held a golf tournament to raise money for me,” said Holland. “That helped me pay a lot of my medical bills.”

Holland said that Elsberry has been great to her and to her family, both with regard to her cancer and in general.

“I couldn’t ask for better friends, or for a better community,” said Holland.

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