Thrive by IU Health

November 17, 2022

Honoring a father’s life and legacy

IU Health Arnett Hospital

Honoring a father’s life and legacy

Amie Blumling, pictured above with her father, urges everyone to get a quick, easy and affordable lung scan.

Amie Blumling lost her dad, Michael “Buck” Buchmiller, to lung cancer in 2015. Now, she is on a mission to make sure that no other family has to go through that loss.

“My dad had lung cancer. We found out when it was stage 4, and we only had six months with him after that,” shares Blumling, a senior associate on the IU Health Arnett switchboard and My IU Health patient portal teams. “He had regular chest X-rays, as recommended for those who have a history of smoking, but they never showed signs of cancer.”

It wasn’t until his hands started to swell up (“like The Nutty Professor movie,” Blumling describes) due to a rare condition called hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy, that their family received the devastating diagnosis.

If he had undergone a lung scan sooner, Blumling’s story and her father’s outcome might have been different.

Michael “Buck” Buchmiller with IU Health Arnett radiation oncologist Matthew Orton (left), and later, Buchmiller with daughter Blumling at IU Health Arnett Hospital.

“If you have any risk at all of developing lung cancer, get a lung scan,” urges Blumling. “It is easy, quick and painless, and if you can catch the cancer or even a lesion early on in stage 1 or 2, we can prolong your life or in many cases, help get you in remission. It doesn’t have to be terminal if detected early.”

IU Health offers lung scans for just $49 for patients in the Greater Lafayette area, and Blumling wants to everyone to know that this simple, affordable screening can help other families avoid the pain and heartbreak of a late-stage diagnosis.

“Anyone can get lung cancer. If you have lungs, you can get this horrible disease,” reminds Blumling.

In fact, lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Indiana. This year alone, 1 in 16 Hoosier men and 1 in 17 Hoosier women will be diagnosed with lung cancer—well above national averages. It is the number one cause of cancer deaths in America.

IU Health’s lung scanning technology has the ability to detect smaller nodules than X-rays or standard CT scans. Getting a scan and catching it early can mean a 20 percent decrease in lung cancer mortality.

Amie Blumling and her dad, Michael “Buck” Buchmiller.

Most people who endure the hardship of a cancer diagnosis or losing a loved one to cancer don’t go on to be advocates for the cause—and who could blame them, dealing with cancer is exhausting enough. But for Blumling, this is a way to honor her dad by spreading awareness and, hopefully, saving lives.

“He made everyone laugh! He didn’t know a stranger,” shares Blumling, a self-described daddy’s girl. “He was not only my dad, he was my best friend.”

One of Buchmiller’s oncologists, Nasser Hanna, a hematology-oncology physician at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center, champions early scans and detection as part of his work with the End Lung Cancer Now initiative. Read more about Dr. Hanna’s research and how you can contribute here.

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