Trisha's Story as a Lung Cancer Survivor
In 2008, Trisha Croft was a busy 31-year-old mom, wife and special education teacher when she was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Lung Cancer. Both Trisha and her husband were in shock and disbelief at this diagnosis as they had a one year old baby, eight-year old and an eleven-year-old at home.
Trisha’s doctors at Billings Clinic began chemotherapy treatment immediately. She was told if the treatment was not successful on her advanced cancer that she had only six months to live. This was just the beginning of what would become a long and complicated battle for Trisha.
Understanding that her diagnosis required much more than just specialized medical care, Billings Clinic provided Trisha with an oncology social worker, financial counselor, dietitian, nurse navigator and research nurse who provided a comprehensive support structure. These resources proved to be crucial in the success of Trisha’s journey.
Due to the complexity of her cancer, Trisha underwent several different forms of chemotherapy that would not have been available without her access and eligibility to clinical trials through Billings Clinic. Three years into her treatment, she developed chronic kidney disease and just a couple years after that, her cancer then spread to her brain.
Trisha underwent Gamma Knife treatment for her brain metastases, a radiation treatment that can target radiation to specific areas of the brain without having to undergo full brain radiation. Billings Clinic has the only Gamma Knife in the five-state region, which was instrumental in fighting Trisha’s ongoing cancer.
The medical team at Billings Clinic worked with Trisha and her family to coordinate appointments and treatments with consideration of the long travel between their home town of Lovell, Wyoming and Billings.
It was through Trisha’s resilience, support from Billings Clinic specialists, availability of advanced medical technology and clinical trials that Trisha has been able to fight cancer nine years after her original six-month prognosis.
She said she will never give up her fight because she still has a lot of work to do. She wants to see her children grow up and continue teaching special needs pre-schoolers.