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Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Old 12-27-2010, 06:57 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Newburgh, NY, USA
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Denise7676 HB User
Small Cell Lung Cancer

Two weeks befor Thanksgiving my Aunt (53 yrs old) was having bad back pain. She went to her Dr and he told her she must have pulled something at work, and told her to take a week or two off, and come back. Well, she could not wait that long and ended up going back. He then told her she has sciatica, which is why the pain was shooting down her legs. a week after she went to the ER because the closest thing to comfort for her was laying on her back, and not moving at all, even then she was in bad pain. ER took some X-Rays and sent her on her way.. The next day she went to another ER and they did the same thing. On Friday 12/17 She called my other Aunt crying because the pain was unbarable, and she was coughing, and couldn't breathe. My Aunt took her to the ER that she had originally gone to, and told them straight out that something was wrong and they needed to do something. The admitted her suggesting pneumonia. They performed a thorosentisis on her to remove fluid build up in the right pleural area of her lung. The test of the fluid yielded negative results for malignancy. A few other tests later, they confirm she has small cell lung cancer which has spread to her bones (the pain in her back and legs) she has a compressed fracture on her spine, and lesions on her chest wall. No one has been told anything as far as the stage the cancer is in. She Is on morphene for pain (every 3 hrs), and also has a "pain patch"? While I was visiting her with my father Christmas Eve, a Palliative care specialist came in and told us what he was, and that he was just making sure she was comfortable. From what I read a palliative care specialist pretty much deals with life-limited patients, correct? She has been in the hospital since December 17th. They told her today they would be transferring her to another hospital (45 minute away) to get the treatment she needs. They will be trying Chemo for 3 days, and sending her home for a few weeks where she will have to go to the DR for blood tests. Then she has to go back to get another 3 days treatment of Chemo. Is thEIR A GOOD Chance that this might help her? Or are they doing this to alleviate her symptoms? She can't talk long at all without gettin gout of breath. Even when on oxygen... We are all very scared/worried for her and just don't know what to do or how to act. It's all come on so suddenly.

Please be honest and tell me what you all think! Thank you so much!!!

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Old 01-02-2011, 11:55 AM   #2
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kimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB Userkimber687 HB User
Re: Small Cell Lung Cancer

So sorry to hear about your Aunt. I had to reply to your story since it sounds so similar to what we just went through with my mother.

My moms story started much the same way but in her case she had RA (rheumatoid arthritis) so that is what they kept saying her pain was from. On Sept 4th my mom was admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath, coughing, etc and put in ICU with pneumonia. After X-rays everyday for 10 days they started to see a mass in her lung which after a biopsy they said was lung cancer. She was in ICU for a month, after that regular room for another month while at one point getting a transfusion and a stent put in, then 10 treatments of radiation, pleural fluid drained twice, then home.

I am crying as I write this to you because I SO don't want to be, but we too were surprised by what just happened and if I could help just one person not be surprised.

What I learned from all this is that palliative care as you said just treats the symptoms. It isnt curative and hopfully alleviates the symptoms, complications and perhaps might buy some time. Your family and your aunt will need to decide if chemotherapy will be worth how she may possibly feel during it and if not curative, if it's worth doing.

Once diagnosed they said my mom had 3-6 months... She passed away on Nov 29th. I am so sorry to tell you this as I certainly don't want to alarm you (and hope I am so wrong!) but don't want you to be blind sided like we were.

Please read as much as you can and know that no two people are exactly alike so no stories are ever the same but just know what you are up against.

Big hugs for you... So sorry you are going through this.

Old 01-06-2011, 01:40 AM   #3
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Re: Small Cell Lung Cancer

So sorry to hear about your "young" aunt having small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is a fast spreading lung cancer another name for it is "oatmeal lung cancer" because while the cells are doubleing and tripleing they fill the lung cavity with what looks like oatmeal and this is what makes the patient breathless.

My 71 year old mom was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell lung cancer in August 2005 they gave her 4 months to live. She died 4 months to the day of diagnoses. She tried to keep positive throughout her treatment. They treated her with 4 sessions of radiation to the brain as it had spread there and it was actually because of it in her brain that symptoms were introduced to us. She had only one session to her chest, they felt she would not survive chemo. Basically they were giving her a bit more time by shrinking the tumour's but there was no chance of her going into remission. She was on morphine and many other medications for pain; anxiety and sleep.

It is a terrible frightening disease for the patient and family. It is a very challenging time for any family. Value the time you have with your aunt and be there for her and say all you want to say to her now. I got my mom to make me a recorded tape and every once in a while I will listen to her voice I am so glad I thought to get her to do that for me.

Any treatments she recieves chemo or radiation or both will take a toll on her strength and physical being. It is true they give these treatments to try to shrink the tumours and maybe giving the patient a little bit more time-but it comes at a loss of quality of life once they start the treatments. My mom actually said she wished she had not taken the radiation and because she went down very quickly once treatment began. It is a sad place your family is in right now and a frightening time for your aunt. Pull together and love each other.

I almost deleted my post because it is a sad reality but you asked for honesty and this is what I am giving you. Althought everyone is different, your aunt is younger than my mom; it depends too on what stage she is in so it could be longer time for her.

Last edited by ebrena; 01-06-2011 at 01:50 AM. Reason: corrected some spelling added some words

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