Welcome to My Blog

Thank you for stopping in to read my posts.  I hope when you are finished looking around, you are inspired and maybe even chuckle along the way. I encourage you to stop back often and share your story or leave a comment.

Who Am I

My name is Patty Kuzara. I am a wife and mother, a friend, a sister, an aunt, a niece and I just happen to have Stage IV Lung Cancer. But I am so much more than that.

  • I am a wife.  My husband Jay and I have been married for 21 years.  We met in 1988 and got married three years later. Our life together has certainly been an adventure and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
  • I am a mother.  I love being a mama.  I have three children, Austin (17) and Kayla and Kaitlyn (12).  I am a typical mom. I run from tae kwon do to dancing, back to tae kwon do, oooops, now drama club, gotta throw hockey in there. Hey don’t forget about that project and…what do you mean you have 3 birthday parties next week!  LOL   I know you know what I’m talking about.  Love them!
  • I am a daughter. My dad is a trip.  He makes me laugh every time we are together. You just never know what’s going to come out of his mouth.  My step-mom is very sweet.  She loves her grand kids and never has anything bad to say about anyone. They have been married for over 20 years too.  (My mom died of lung cancer in 1998 as did my step-dad of a heart attack).
  • I am a friend.  I can say that the friendships I’ve made over my lifetime have remained.  I may not see everyone like I used to, but we all still love each other.  I truly don’t know how I became so blessed, but I’ll take it. I love them with all my heart.
  • I am a martial artist. I am currently a First Level Red Belt in Tae Kwon Do. It’s a journey and anything worthwhile takes time. For now, slow and steady wins the race! I will get that Black Belt!
  • I am a singer.  Yes I love to sing. I think I probably sang before I could talk. Then again….I can talk. LOL Singing is one of my favorite things to do with my girls.
  • I am full of life.  One thing I can say is that I love life. I love to laugh and play and just enjoy everyday. I enjoy each season.  I am a Buffalo girl, so I love the winter.  If you hear someone yelling while sledding down the bunny hill, its probably me.

You see, lung cancer doesn’t define who you are…you do.  Lung cancer is simply another challenge along this path of life.

How I Was Diagnosed

In January 2012, my husband and I were packing and planning our very first cruise. It would be our first trip without the kids in ten years.  We were like “Woo Hoo” excited.

Patty on board the "Liberty of the Seas"

Pina Colada Time!

A couple weeks before the cruise, I ended up with what I thought was bronchitis.  I called my doctor’s office and we decided to just take an over the counter medicine to see how that would work.  It seemed to do the trick, temporarily.  However, a day or two before we left, I didn’t feel 100%, but who cared, I was going on a cruise baby!

My husband and I went cave tubing while in Belize and that is when I realized something was not right. When the tubing journey ended, we had to walk up a couple flights of stairs and it was then that I became extremely winded. I am a martial artist and was in very good shape.  I shouldn’t have been having such a problem walking up two flights of stairs.

When I woke up the next morning I was coughing up blood.  Not a lot, but enough to make me worried. It just wasn’t normal. I immediately thought that I might have pneumonia, but I didn’t want to focus on it because I was scheduled to swim with dolphins. (My husband surprised me with this dolphin experience and there was no way I was missing it!) So, I got up and pushed on.

We docked in Cozumel and it was there that I got to meet our dolphin, Symba. It was a dream come true playing in the ocean with Symba. I didn’t even pay attention to how I was feeling.  Everything seemed fine in Cozumel and…the chicken fajitas were pretty amazing, too.  LOL

When our cruise ended, I was concerned enough that I called my doctor from the airport and made an appointment for the very next day. Upon seeing my doctor, I was immediately sent to the ER as she feared I may have a blood clot. They admitted me to the hospital and performed many tests on me, including a test for TB and a rather painful biopsy. I was put in isolation.

On January 29, 2012, at ten o’clock at night, a doctor came into my room and told me I had Stage IV Lung Cancer and I had less than a year to live.  As you can imagine, the next few days were a bit of a blur. I was weak from the biopsy and I think my mind was just getting wrapped around this crazy idea that I had cancer.  The scans concluded I had cancer in my brain, lungs and liver.

I had been to the doctor numerous times for various issues for approximately 10 months prior to my diagnosis and they found nothing and concluded that I must be suffering from anxiety. I kept telling them that made no sense to me. I am happy.  I’m busy, but happy. I don’t feel anxious. Turns out I had cancer!