In Nov 02, my sister was diagnosed with nonsmall cell lung cancer with a 9 cm tumor in her left lung. Nothing was said about surgery. She was started chemo, followed by radiation, which all ended in May 03. Follow up scans showed no improvement but no advancement so another round of chemo with a different drug was started. After that, it had grown some and pressing on her heart. Then she went on Iressa. After that, it was causing some fluid buildup around heart and some in lung with maybe a spec on her liver, but not definitive. So yet a different chemo was started a month ago. Last week she had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. A CT scan showed 2 spots on her brain. Now, radiation has begun on the brain, and then chemo will resume.
The confusion is: She was hospitalized once early on with a collasped lung but she recovered. However, her bloodwork has ALWAYS been normal, no anemia or such, she has never missed work except for appointments (works in an elementary school cafeteria but is off for the summer right now). No nausua never (except this last round would give her a headache). She doesn't understand (and we don't either) how it can be so advanced but she feels fine.
We're upset, worried, but then confused and b/c she is doing so well, we believe we still have room for optimism. Can some of you share your insites to this?
RitaB- I kind of know how you feel. My husband has small cell lung cancer. He was diagnosed in December 2003. At that time, we were told "with treatmen" he woudl be lucky if he lived6-9 months. He took treatment until March, which is when he decided the treatmnet made him feel worse than teh cancer, so he stopped taking it. Since then, he has felt great! He plays golf, goes fishing, walks, rides his bike. He does everything that he did before cancer. Liek you, we are thinking, how can a person feel so wonderful, when doctors say they will die so soon. My thought on this is, God is watching over him. If God was ready to take him, he would. And, if God is not ready for him, can cer can NOT kill him. I am by no means saying God gave him the cancer, but he certainly can take it away. I don't think there is any medical explanation. Like my husband, I am glad your sister has chose to take advantage of her quality of life. Rather she dies 6 months from now or 60 years, is up to God ultimately. Also like my husbandm she sounds very strong and determine to win, and that is more important than anything.
The only think I know about teh difference between small cell and non small cell lung cancer is that, small cell responds better to chemo. But like non small cell, neither are cured by treatment.
I wish you, your sister and your family the of luck!
i can only go by my moms experience. she had small cell lung cancer for 18 months. she went through chemo and radiation with no side affects. and went into remission. about 5 months later she developed a lump in front of her ear. they did a biopsy and found out it wasnt cancer. but still needed to be removed. so they did a pre op ct scan on it and found a mass on her brain. so she started radiation on her brain. again no side affects except she said everything she ate tasted like paste. all the while her general health was more than any of us could ask for! she finished her radiation in october. and for a while she was "fine". In about November she had a pain in her hip, about a week earlier she had fallen so she was treating in with ben gay and a heating pad. still health wise she was doing ok. she was having some breathing difficulties so i took her to the hospital where she was treated and she mentioned her hip pain. they did another ct scan and found out the cancer had spread to her thigh bone, thigh muscle, butt muscle and tail bone! she finally started getting sick on christmas eve and passed away 5 days later. It was crazy because she wasnt sick this whole time! but when she got sick we had to call hospice in because she got very sick and was in alot of pain. But through it all i know our friends and family were praying for God to not make her suffer long if he didnt cure her. And we know He heard our prayers and answered them! as i said this is just our experience, yours could be different. But maybe God is just Blessing your sis with quality of life!