PLATTSBURGH — Dominique Hoffman wakes up each day happy to be alive, but the thought that she has Stage 3 inoperable lung cancer is always with her.
The mother of two children, Justin Sanger, 22, and Sacha Sanger, 24, she is also stepmother to Brittany Hoffman, 22, Timmy Hoffman, 20, and Jesse Hoffman, 19.
“I love them all,” said Dominique, who is 43. “It makes me feel happy to have them around.”
Justin, however, is stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. He and his wife, Merritt, are expecting their first child — and Dominique’s first grandchild — in July.
Dominique had planned to be there for Eero Demotte Sanger’s birth, but those plans had to be changed due to a recent setback in her health.
Doctors have told her a 4,000-mile trip to California is not possible in her condition.
FEARED THE WORST
Dominique’s health challenges began in September 2011, when she was working in the cold room at a local food mail-order business.
“I hadn’t been feeling well — my shoulders and back ached. But I thought it was just the cold affecting me,” she said at the Plattsburgh home she shares with her sister Renee Gauthier.
“It got so bad, I had to go to the ER, and when they said they needed to do more tests, I knew something wasn’t right.”
The Emergency Department doctor called Renee and told her that Dominique shouldn’t be alone there — another of their sisters, Margeau Ashline, was fighting lung cancer, and Dominique feared the worst.
“As soon as I walked in, I knew it wasn’t good,” Renee said, fighting the tears. “I thought, ‘Here we go again.’”
After an MRI, Dominique was told she had a lung tumor that was inoperable because it is against the aorta of her heart. She traveled to Sloan Kettering in New York City, hoping the diagnosis would be better.