Diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer amid a global pandemic: Meet Libby Garcia

Today in Amarillo

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – On October 14, 2020, Libby Garcia was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer, Adenocarcinoma.

“When I was diagnosed, I was in the hospital. I’d been in the hospital for four days at that point. My lung had collapsed and was full of fluid,” said Garcia.

She continued to share that she received the devastating news at seven in the morning, alone.

“Just to have to hear that first thing in the morning, by yourself, is pretty-pretty traumatic.”

Garcia continued to explain, “Cancer wasn’t even on my mind at that point. They had kinda mentioned it. They said it would be possibly an option, but in my mind it wasn’t. So when she told me it was stage four cancer of the lung, it was really… it’s life changing.”

When discussing that morning, Garcia stated, “You know there’s other people that have cancer and have heard the news, but you definitely feel like ‘why is this happening to me?’ You’re singled out.. it’s a very lonely feeling. Your whole world is taken from you at that point, is what it feels like.”

However, despite the trauma and fear that came that morning, Garcia kept moving forward.

“I have kind of learned with my experience, once I was diagnosed with cancer.. I feel like there was the old me and the new me.”

After some time had passed, Garcia decided to reach out to the Director at 24 Hours in the Canyon Cancer Survivorship Center, Ryan Parnell.

So what is this organization?

Parnell explained, “The 24 hours in the Canyon Cancer Survivorship Center is a free resource for adults, from the moment of their diagnosis, during their treatment, then after treatment that provides a lot of things that maybe the providers- the medical providers don’t.”

With resources like this available, Garcia was soon able to get involved.

“I got connected with a counselor, one of the counselors here. We do counseling through a Zoom-type service. I also got involved with some of their YouTube workout classes they had prerecorded,” said Garcia.

In regard to these counseling services, Parnell explained how their counseling services transitioned into telecounseling, due to the pandemic. He continued, “Which was really cool, because a lot of people actually were able to get in for counseling, because it’s a phone call and they can take it during their lunch hour rather than having to come in to the center to see the counselor.”

Additionally, Parnell stated that slowly but surely, the organization will rebound from the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, we were hit very hard. Simply because the people we serve, the population we serve, are medically fragile,” said Parnell.

One specific result of the pandemic for the organization was the cancelling of their annual 24 Hours in the Canyon fundraiser race.

However, the organization has since been able to announce that the race will take place this year on June 5th and 6th.

For more information about the annual fundraiser or how to donate to the 24 Hours in the Canyon Cancer Survivorship Center, click here.

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