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Hope Faith Belief and Support (The Spirit Side of Humans) Part 1

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Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you with devastating news? How did you recover? Here is my story.

Monday morning, June 17, 2013 the phone rang, and I was told by the Pulmonologist that she had bad news. The biopsy confirmed that I had stage IV lung cancer. On Thursday, June 20, 2013 I had my first appointment with an Oncologist and was told that I would die from this cancer which was neither curable nor operable, and she would do everything she could to keep me alive as long as possible.

My world turned upside down; my family and I were utterly devastated. It was not said, but I thought I would not be around to celebrate Christmas with my family last year. I could not go back to work that day because I was emotionally distraught. I cannot remember a time in my life that I was racked with so much emotional torment as I was at that time. All my thoughts were about my lovely wife-what she would be going through and how she would handle being by herself for the next 30 plus years. Our retirement was on the horizon and our plans for the "Golden Years" seemed to disappear.

My mind filled with thoughts. Are my affairs all in order? Is my will up to date? What about a health care directive and power of attorney? I need to make funeral arrangements and get a burial plot. Making a list of where everything is that my wife would need to get her hands on, such as life insurance policies, retirement benefits, social security, savings accounts, loans outstanding, titles to automobiles, etc. Also, what about things around the house that I take care of and she does not know? Who does she call if something breaks down? How do I take care of her quickly? I need to put together a video of instructions for my wife, children and grandchildren. This is an opportunity for me to express my love and appreciation to them. My final request to the family would be to make sure the family comes together to watch over their mother and be there for her and assist her in getting through this. This became my darkest moment.

Now let me step back chronologically and provide you with more details. It all began some months prior when my wife and others started asking me about my dry cough. None of us made a big deal about it until May when my wife said that I needed to call our primary care physician to get the cough checked out. I did not feel ill, nor did I have a fever or a cold, so I did not think anything of it. I agreed to call my physician anyway. I told my physician that I am coughing regularly yet I was not ill. We discussed the possibility of allergies, which I have never had in the past. She told me to take over the counter allergy medication for a week and call her back. I called her back the following week to let her know that the medication did nothing for me and that I still had a persistent dry nagging cough.

On Thursday, May 23, 2013 I went to see my physician about my cough even though I felt great. The doctor did not find anything wrong after checking my vitals, heart and lungs. After she heard me cough we talked for a bit, and she asked me when I last had an upper chest X-ray. My reply was that I did not believe I ever had one. She said "a little voice inside of me is saying send him for an upper chest X-ray." So that is what she decided to do. She told me that since it was Memorial Day week-end I would not hear back from her until Tuesday morning. I left her office and went for the X-ray. After that I stopped to get lunch prior to heading back to the office. I no sooner got back to my desk when the phone rang. It was my physician and she said "Normand, I am sorry to tell you this, but you have a large mass in your right lung." I was speechless! She told me we needed to find out what this was quickly and made an appointment for a CT scan at the hospital for Saturday.

This news put me in a stage of disbelief. My mind started with all of the questions. I called my wife to let her know and called our children later that day. This made the rest of the day difficult to function; I felt numb from head to toe. I began to feel like I was in the Twilight Zone and walking around like a Zombie. I also spoke with a couple of co-workers about my concerns. I immediately started searching the internet trying to find out what this could possibly mean. The more I researched and read the more frightened I became. The statistical information was incredibly depressing and undeniably exhausting to read. This information sucked the life right out of me and I found that I was losing hope and questioning my faith and belief system. Now what?

Part 2 will be coming out later this month!

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Normand Dubreuil
Maine State Credit Union
President and Chief Executive Officer

Normand Dubreuil was the President and CEO of Maine State Credit Union. He has two professional designations; CCUE - Certified Credit Union Executive and CCE -Certified Chief Executive. He's was with MSCU from 1985 - 2016 and worked in the credit union industry since 1977. His educational background is Accounting and Business Administration. He worked with the credit union's philanthropic cause, Maine Credit Unions Campaign for Ending Hunger. He served as a board member for the credit union's state trade association and was also the chairman of their Technology Services Committee. Normand also serves in his church in various leadership roles. He is married, has four children and twelve grandchildren.

After being diagnosed in 2013 with stage IV lung cancer he decided he wanted to be an advocate for the cause in providing hope, encouragement and inspiration to other lung cancer survivors and families. Being involved with a lung cancer organization has provided him the opportunity to reach out to others, touch lives and assist those with needs. In some small way he is hoping to give of himself in order to help others achieve their goals. He served as a board member for Free ME from Lung Cancer foundation.



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