the size and location of the tumor, her entire lung had to be removed. The outer layer of the rib was also peeled off so no cancer remained. The difficult procedure took seven hours. She awoke in the recovery room a bit woozy from the anesthesia. Her grown children, son Dale and daughter christine, a nurse, were with her. She was amazed to find she had no pain. “in my room later on, a nurse asked why i wasn’t using my morphine drip,” she says. “i said, ‘What for? i’m fine!’” After three days in the hospital, condit went home, chafing at her inactivity. “i’d been told to rest but what i really wanted to do was clean the house,” she says. “i satisfied myself with a little dusting.” condit’s daughter supported her during her recovery. The two had restaurant reservations for Thanksgiving dinner but weren’t sure if condit would be up for it. She was, and they had a wonderful time. Both agreed they had much to be thankful for. “I see many people with cancer. Some of them feel sorry for themselves and sit around and cry. I won’t be like that. Attitude and perseverance get you through the tough stuff. You must be a fighter. So that’s what I’m doing,” notes Resa Condit (left) with regard to her battle with lung cancer. “W a lung. even though she’d been a smoker, it was moderate and hadn’t impaired her breathing. “i knew there was no guarantee, but my fingers were crossed that i’d have the minimally invasive procedure,” condit says. A friend of hers had been treated for lung cancer with open surgery. “He was in tremendous pain, even months later,” she adds. “At the same time, he was having chemo and really struggling. i did not want that to be me.” On November 17, 2015, condit had the first VATS pneumonectomy performed at RWJ. First an endobronchial ultrasound was performed. in this diagnostic test for staging cancer, a thin tube with a camera was guided down her throat to take images of the tumor and surrounding area. After that, three small incisions were made in the chest and side to accommodate a long tube with an attached camera and tiny surgical instruments. condit’s tumor was large, 5.5 centimeters. it involved the aorta and much of the central portion of her lung and was growing into her ribs. The original plan was to remove half the lung. However, because of hen you work as a team to provide cancer care, especially lung cancer care, the team collaboration is vital to planning future treatment,” explains radiation oncologist Salma Jabbour, MD (left), who is a member of Resa Condit’s vast care team. condit’s cancer was stage ii. She was fortunate it was detected early. There are so few warning signs for lung cancer that it can be difficult to detect before it spreads. The worst, stage iV, is unfortunately what surgeons see the most. Typically, lung cancer grows from marble-size to incurable within six months. condit returned to work two weeks after her surgery. Her followup care would involve both chemotherapy and radiation. it was mapped out with the combined expertise of the Rutgers cancer institute medical team caring for her—surgeons, radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, pathologists, nurses, social workers, and a nutritionist. “When you work as a team to provide cancer care, especially lung cancer care, the team collaboration is vital to planning future treatP HOTO By: STeVe HOckSTei N Autumn 2016 I Cancer Connection I 23