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Brain mets or TIA?

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Old 05-11-2005, 08:44 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Canada
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Wingingit HB User
Brain mets or TIA?

Hello everyone
I am new to posting, but have been lurking and reading much valuable
information from all of you...thank you.
My mom was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer last summer.
She has had some radiation (to shrink the tumor to help her breathing primarily). The radiation did very little to help, according to the Oncologist.
She has been completely coherent and thankfully hasn't much pain... however, yesterday, for about 1/2 hour, mom was having trouble processing speech, answering questions and her words were garbled.
This seemed to pass and she was back to her usually self last night.
My immediate thought was a possible TIA (mini-stroke), but now I am wondering if this may be a sign that the cancer has spread to her brain.
Does anyone know if this could cause sporadic episodes of speech impediments and confusion, or would it be a constant once the brain mets has occurred?
I realize there is not much that can be done at this point (more radiation and chemo have been ruled out), but I would just like to have some idea of what we are dealing with and what to expect.
There has been no testing done in the past 6 months to determine if the cancer has spread... I don't think the doctors feel it would be necessary to put her through the testing at this point... she is very weak, barely eating, and on oxygen full-time, so testing would be very difficult for her.
Can anyone help me understand the stroke-like symptoms?
Thanks kindly

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Old 05-11-2005, 01:18 PM   #2
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alexandraB HB User
Re: Brain mets or TIA?

Dear Nan, my opinion is in no way a medical one and my family is new to brain mets since we just found out my father's nsclc has metastasized last week. but your post just struck me because of what the docs told my father. they way we found out he had a brain tumor was that last week, he had a seizure. when they ran mri's and brain scan in the ER, they detected the tumor. they explained that the tumor caused the seizure because it is pressed up against a section of the brain that controls movement. the doc explained that brain tumors cause no pain usually in themselves but manifest themselves through various things in the body depending on what part of the brain they are in -ie some tumors with cause seizures, some can impair speech, cause confusion etc, all depending where they are in the brain. so just based on what the doctor explained my dad, i would guess that yes your mother's symptoms could be a sign of a possible brain tumor. as far as whether it would be more constant or sporadic, again i do not know, but i would guess logically that perhaps it could start out as sporadic at first? and since seizures like my dad had are not a constant thing, maybe speech impairment does not necessarily manifest itself constantly either? again, i am just using logic here, i would definitely let her doctors know asap, because even if they have ruled out chemo/radio, they can still let you know what is going on for sure and help you understand what to expect next in order to best care for your mom. all my best to you, i will keep you in my thoughts and prayers! -a

Last edited by alexandraB; 05-11-2005 at 01:24 PM.

Old 05-11-2005, 04:18 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 25
Wingingit HB User
Re: Brain mets or TIA?

Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I am sorry to hear about your dad. It is sadly comforting to know that we are not alone in dealing with this...your post was helpful and appreciated at such a difficult time for you.
What is the most troublesome for me is that my sister, who is currently spending the most time caring for mom, seems to be in denial and blames this incident on my "overreacting", although she was not there when this happened. My mom, understandably cannot recall the short time that she was disoriented and having difficulty speaking. All mom remembers is that she couldn't think of one specific word and was feeling "weird" for the rest of the evening (whatever that might mean).
I know there is nothing that really can be done at this point, but as you said, it would be important to mention this to the Oncologist. Unfortunately, I know that if I bring it up at our next meeting with the doctor, both of them will deny that it happened at I am wondering how I would go about telling the doctor without upsetting my mother and causing a row with my sister? Perhaps I will call the Hospice nurse (who is in charge of her case even though we currently have no nurse tending to mom other than a once a week visit to check her vitals) and ask her what she thinks about this.
In the meantime, I will keep an eye on mom and make note of any changes.
Thanks kindly.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers also.

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