Jump to content

Ann Cronin

Members
  • Content Count

    49
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    3

Reputation Activity

  1. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from Lisa66 in Where to find grace through this   
    Hi, Lisa,
    You sound like an amazing daughter and thank you for your kind words. I'm not sure if you are a Mom but I can tell you, a mother is only as happy as her saddest child. I am allowing my children to help because I know they feel the need to do something... anything for me.... Though I don't have my parents with me anymore, I know exactly how they feel. My motherly instinct is to protect them in any way that I can. 
    I will lean on them and let them help but I prefer to keep my gut wrenching emotional pain from them when I can. I will use this forum, an occasional friend and perhaps other support groups when I find one. My daughter has been with me for all the appointments and helps with many things, just trying to keep her sadness at a manageable level.
    Your father is blessed to have you, Lisa, please remember to take care of yourself. As a cancer patient, we need to keep as physically and mentally healthy as we possibly can. Seeing our children's sorrow pulls us down emotionally.
    Thanks for sharing and best of luck to your dad, you & whole family!
    Ann
     
  2. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Lisa66 in Where to find grace through this   
    Hi Ann, 
      I do not have cancer, but my father has squamous cell carcinoma of the lungs. He is on his second week of treatment. I wish to talk to you as a daughter.  I had my dad at the emergency room with chest pains, and when they came in with chest exray results showing a tumor, it was like someone kicked me in the stomach. His diagnosis affects the whole family, and I don’t think there is any way around that, but please don’t try and be strong for your family. Let them be strong for you. That is what gives me purpose and a way to deal . By all means find ways to stay strong and fight, but let those around you help fight the battle. It is good for you and them. I have a battle book that I keep recipes, treatment options, remedies for side effects, among other things that I research. I hear you say you are a private person, but please let those around you boost your spirits when you feel so down.  I wish you all the best no matter which route is taken.
    My fathers cancer has taken the joy right out of me because I love him so, and do not wish to have to travel this road with him, but I will not let him travel it without me, and I am sure your daughter feels the same.
    Best of luck
    Lisa
  3. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from LaurenH in Pet Scan Results   
    Agree............ the slow part, where we are all "Urgent!!" it seems the folks controlling/directing our path are anything but urgent. While I understand they see this every day, the newly diagnosed do not! 
    Best of the best to you in your next step!
    Yes, we do have this!
    Ann
  4. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to PaulaC in Pet Scan Results   
    Morning Ann, I’m glad that I’m finally getting to an oncologist and hoping that they will have a plan to do the surgery. The pulmonary doctor said the cancer in the lymph nodes are to close main artery to do surgery. 
    I don’t have a plan yet but I am finally getting to the right type of doctor. I hope that you can finally get there too!  I know it’s just the beginning but the process seems to move really slow. 
    Thanks for the book suggestion sounds like a good read. 
    We've got this!
    Paula
  5. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to PaulaC in Pet Scan Results   
    Thank you Ann! It’s been a roller coaster with my feelings but as days go by I’ve adjusted. Keep me updated on your journey I know we can be of comfort to each other. 
    Take care
    Paula
  6. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from PaulaC in Pet Scan Results   
    Good luck, Paula!! You and are are sort of in the same phase of this unwanted journey. In addition to that my first biopsy showed positive for non small adenocarcinoma and my path report stated “poorly differentiated “. It’s a crazy experience but you are not alone!!                                Keep swimming!                                                              Ann
  7. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to LexieCat in Where to find grace through this   
    OK, I thought the opinion about open surgery was from your first surgeon.  
    Here's a fairly recent article that seems to indicate VATS or robotic surgery (similar procedures/recovery) appear to be as good or better than open surgery for lymph node dissection:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5088393/.  Obviously only you and your doctor can make the decision, but I felt very confident about my VATS. They removed 16 nodes, all of which were negative.  My surgeon told me that if something unexpected was encountered during the VATS procedure (e.g., uncontrolled bleeding), they could switch during surgery to an open incision to address the problem.  
    If you're totally comfortable with the open procedure, then go with that.  Personally, I think I'd want another opinion on VATS.  But that's me.  
  8. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Tom Galli in Where to find grace through this   
    Ann,
    I had an open pneumonectomy (three total actually; one removal and two repairs).  I did finally neck down to ibuprofen but in the recovery room and ICU, I was hooked up to a "morphine push" (a IV morphine device with timer hooked up to my IV).  It allowed me to self-inject morphine (measured dose) every 15 minutes and I needed it, not every 15 minutes for I would often sleep several hours after using it.  I was concerned about becoming addicted to morphine but my surgeon told me as long as my pain receptors were very active, the morphine would not become addictive.  I can't exactly remember how long I was on the morphine push. My wife says about 2 days after the first surgery and perhaps 4 days for the second and third.
    When the morphine was removed, I was allowed morphine injections and the ward nurses could tell when I needed them.  I could tell also, but they deal with thoracic surgery everyday.  I recall my hospital nurses and surgeon being very attentive and attuned to my level of pain.
    That said, I was up on the second day after my first surgery and walking the ward with a physical therapist.  The therapist told me to hit the morphine injector before attempting to get out of the bed.
    Bottom line: I wouldn't worry about post-surgical pain.  Mass General has a world class reputation.  You'll be fine.
    Stay the course.
    Tom
  9. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from Tom Galli in Where to find grace through this   
    LexieCat - this is the second surgeon. The first had no availability until April to do the biopsy and surgery would have been who knows when... The surgeon expects to have to remove quite a few lymph nodes and he mentioned using the open method is less likely to miss anything... I feel like a ticking time bomb so I want to keep things moving. The surgeon has an amazing reputation as does Mass General as a whole. 
    Steff - Just pain I get just thinking about this surgery requires more than Ibuprofen  
  10. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Steff in Where to find grace through this   
    Ann,
    My mom had an open lobectomy. She was in the hospital for about 10 days recovering. She probably would have been able to leave sooner, but her surgeon took her drain tube out too soon and she had to have another one put in. Pain was mostly tolerable with ibuprofen.  Afterward, the incision bothered her because it was around where the band of her bra was. Now it's fine, but she really struggled with that for awhile. Those were really the only 2 major hurdles she had. 
  11. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to LexieCat in Where to find grace through this   
    If you're having to see another surgeon anyway, I'd ask again about the possibility of VATS.  I know there are some tumors that can't be accessed with VATS surgery, but if what they are doing is removing the lobe, I've never heard (which doesn't mean it isn't true) of open surgery "getting it all" any better than VATS.  Either way, they are removing the lobe, and if the tumor is inside, I'm under the impression that VATS does the job just as well as "open" surgery.  
    Getting another opinion on something like that never hurts.  Some doctors are better trained at performing VATS or robotic surgery (similar to VATS).
    I'm a pretty private person, myself, and I can't STAND people feeling sorry for me.  My own approach was to be completely open with people I worked with--to the point of sharing a webpage the hospital provided for sharing news.  It was still within my control, and I could post whatever news I wanted to share without having to have a zillion conversations about "how you are."  The way I looked at it, if it turned out to be good news (in my case, I considered early-stage good news), then people could get back to normal ASAP.  And if it turned out to be bad news, at least I was controlling the information--if you are undergoing significant treatment, people will know that anyway, and I'd rather control the info myself.  If your hospital doesn't have something like that, you could use Facebook or some other forum if you want to share info.  Another thought is to designate one "point person" to handle news.  I found it much easier to focus on getting through the surgery and recovery without having to explain stuff over and over to people.
    As far as family is concerned, I have a small family and those closest to me had all the info they needed.  I didn't inform my 89 y/o dad and stepmom because he would have worried, quite literally, for the rest of his life.  And his memory is such that I would be having to explain EVERY week that I'm fine.  
    And yes to the wedge pillow for sleeping.  It will help.  
    Seriously, I'd get a second opinion on the availability of VATS.  You certainly want the most effective treatment, but at the same time you don't want more pain and recovery time than you have to have.
  12. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from LaurenH in Where to find grace through this   
    You all are so kind, thank you for that!
    Bridget - it will be open lobectomy, unfortunately. The surgeon stated that in his opinion, in my case, it is the most full proof way to get all of it, not leaving anything behind. I've definitely not had the "why me" thing going on. I learned a long time ago that bad things happen to good people all the time. I do rely on my faith, don't even think I could live an uncompromised life without it! 
    I went to Barnes & Noble today for some books on coping with this disease. They really didn't have much but I went with a list and placed an order..... gotta just keep swimming! In the last two days I've made a point of being my "normal" self with my granddaughter. What used to come so natural has been a struggle and I hadn't realized how my blues would effect her. She actually looked at me like "there you are, Nana, where have you been?!?" I already see a change in her little almost 5 yr old self... she was getting the blues too, poor peanut!! 
    Love you guys!!!
  13. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Donna G in Where to find grace through this   
    Being that it was 20 years ago, I had the open Lobectomy.  In order to enter the chest cavity they break
    several ribs to spread them apart.  Of course they have to get your muscles out of the way also. 
    My doctors did a great job removing my tumor was up in the apex ( near my shoulder) and also all the
    right upper lobe.  I had a chest tube after surgery for a while. It took time to get over the surgery. 
    After about 8 weeks they sent me to the YMCA for water exercises to get my back in shape. 
    My rib bones never did heal back together so even today I don't want to wear anything that "sqeezes" my chest.
    All was well worth it however-----------I am still alive and breathing. 
    Donna G
  14. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to BridgetO in Where to find grace through this   
    Hi Ann,
    I bet there are those who've had open lobectomy who will respond and tell you what it was like. I suggest you start a forum topic called something like: OPEN LOBECTOMY: WHAT"S IT LIKE?
    Bridget O
     
     
  15. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from Susan Cornett in Where to find grace through this   
    You all are so kind, thank you for that!
    Bridget - it will be open lobectomy, unfortunately. The surgeon stated that in his opinion, in my case, it is the most full proof way to get all of it, not leaving anything behind. I've definitely not had the "why me" thing going on. I learned a long time ago that bad things happen to good people all the time. I do rely on my faith, don't even think I could live an uncompromised life without it! 
    I went to Barnes & Noble today for some books on coping with this disease. They really didn't have much but I went with a list and placed an order..... gotta just keep swimming! In the last two days I've made a point of being my "normal" self with my granddaughter. What used to come so natural has been a struggle and I hadn't realized how my blues would effect her. She actually looked at me like "there you are, Nana, where have you been?!?" I already see a change in her little almost 5 yr old self... she was getting the blues too, poor peanut!! 
    Love you guys!!!
  16. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from Tom Galli in Where to find grace through this   
    You all are so kind, thank you for that!
    Bridget - it will be open lobectomy, unfortunately. The surgeon stated that in his opinion, in my case, it is the most full proof way to get all of it, not leaving anything behind. I've definitely not had the "why me" thing going on. I learned a long time ago that bad things happen to good people all the time. I do rely on my faith, don't even think I could live an uncompromised life without it! 
    I went to Barnes & Noble today for some books on coping with this disease. They really didn't have much but I went with a list and placed an order..... gotta just keep swimming! In the last two days I've made a point of being my "normal" self with my granddaughter. What used to come so natural has been a struggle and I hadn't realized how my blues would effect her. She actually looked at me like "there you are, Nana, where have you been?!?" I already see a change in her little almost 5 yr old self... she was getting the blues too, poor peanut!! 
    Love you guys!!!
  17. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Susan Cornett in Where to find grace through this   
    Hi, Ann. I didn't look sick during my first round of treatment, but when I lost my hair during my second treatment, I got the look.  At first, it bothered me because I thought it was a look of pity but then it dawned on me that those people may have walked the same path or a loved one walked the same path and they understand.  At that point, I quit caring about that.
    I just hit my 2 year mark since diagnosis.  There were certainly ups and downs, surgeries, and treatments; but I also came through this with a new perspective on life.  Working long hours? No longer important.  Bad traffic on the commute? Don't care.  I find myself calmer and at peace with everything.  I've shared my diagnosis far and wide - family, extended family, co-workers.   I do it simply because I want everyone to know that lung cancer doesn't play by the rules and doesn't care about smoking history.  
    It all stinks.  My fear is my parents and my husband will have to bury me.  That is what keeps me moving forward and doing everything I can to fight this damn cancer.  Vent any time - we are always here for you.  Keep us posted.
  18. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to BridgetO in Where to find grace through this   
    Hi Ann,
    This is a good place to rant and vent. We've all been there and we understand. 
    I agree completely with Tom about not being able to control cancer but being able to control how we think about it,, and about the need to live life regardless. These things aren't easy to do.
    I also recommend the pillow. I got a 12 inch high foam wedge and it was a lifesaver. 12 inches will give you a 45 degree elevation, which was recommended to me.  Ir you have surgery will it be VATS? or open surgery. I had a lower right lobectomy and 27 mediastinal lymph nodes removed by VATS and it was much easier than I expected. I was discharged the following day with a chest drain tube in place. I had opiate pain meds for the 10 days I had the tube, but little pain after it was out.
    You ask how to get through this with grace. I haven't figured tha out, but i do have some suggestions to relieve the chaos. First, know that chaos, fear, etc., are normal. You're human, after all. all. So don't be hard on yourself; it only makes things worse. But do find some things that will help relieve your stress and anxiety, even if only partially and for short periods. Use whatever spirtiual practices you are comfortable with: meditation, prayer, lighting candles, or whatever. Ask for peace; try to avoid getting into the "why me?" stuff.  Get what exercise you can, both before and after surgery. I was walking around the hospital floor the day of surgery and within a couple of days was taking short walks around the neighborhood, hiding my chest tube and drain bag under an oversized raincoat. Exercise will speed your recovery as well as help your mood. 
    Let other people help you. If people ask what they can do, tell them something specific, like bring soup, or a magazine, or drop by just to chat, or whatever. A lot of people really want to be helpful and don't know how to be. One of my dear memories from a prior (non-lung) surgery was of a friend who installed a much needed grab bar in my shower--she asked what she could do and I asked her to do this , knowing that she was very handy with such things.  Speaking of showers,  if your'e going to have surgery, I suggest gettinghhw a shower bench and a hand held shower head if you don''t already have one. 
    Best of luck to you, Ann.
    By the way, my name isn't really Bridget. It's my nom de plume! Or maybe alias.
    Bridget O
  19. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Donna G in Where to find grace through this   
    Thanks for the update.  I hope that test is negative so you can have your surgery March 8th but if not---------
    I started with chemo and radiation and later was able to have surgery ( and then more chemo) and it worked at least for the past 20 years.
    This diagnosis is hard on the whole family.  Little ones can really see what is going on.  Perhaps you can teach her if she is upset that a thing to do then is pray.
    As for the surgery.  Keep active  now,  before surgery, as go walking even if as it is winter, it is in a mall or store.  Know that you will have to get up and get active after
    surgery or it will slow you down even more or set you up to develop complications. 
    I pray all goes well for you.
     
    Donna G
  20. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Tom Galli in Where to find grace through this   
    Ann, 
    How does one do the lung cancer diagnostic and surgical walk with grace?  Let me know when you've found an answer.
    What are tips for maybe surgery? Audition a pillow that allows you to sleep elevated.  You'll need it to transfer some of your body weight to your hips and off of your incision areas.  Go to a bedding store and test drive the angular pillows.  Then purchase online for better pricing.  Best tip for sleeping long term.  Invest in a high density foam mattress along with an electric adjustable bed.  But sleeping for me is still a problem -- chronic pain.  My surgery and treatment was very extensive. Hopefully, yours will be less so.
    If having surgery in Boston, check out the several free hotels associated with many hospitals for patients with cancer.
    I completely understand your desire not to let this disease affect your loved ones.  But, even with a successful surgery, you'll still be yanked into cancer mode with follow-up diagnostics for years so you should resolve to settle the reality of lung cancer with your family. Moreover, recurrence of lung cancer, even for stage 2 disease, even with surgery, is greater than 50%.  I think it is greater than 60%.  I once wrote a blog about it in the blog section of this forum citing a medical journal's recurrence projection.  I didn't realize the high probability of recurrence and didn't prepare for it.  I truly hope you are one and done.  All this speaks to my suggestion for a frank discussion about lung cancer with your family.  What happens when one doesn't have a frank discussion?  Read my book.
    All the surgical - diagnostic unknown unknowns you relate are very familiar.  I went down the same path of not knowing about my surgical outcome and woke up with a lung removed.  I had two subsequent surgeries to address a fistula in my airway, 4 rigid bronchoscopy procedures to insert stents again for the troublesome fistula, and along the way suffered a recurrence (actually three recurrences) of tumors in my remaining lung.  My treatment in a word was mayhem, but I'm still here.  I say this because I think I represent a worst case living outcome and if I can live and enjoy life after lung cancer, so can you.
    Stay the course.
    Tom
    PS - chaos happens only when you let it happen.  You can't control cancer but you can control how you think about it. Regardless of treatment outcomes, you have life to live. Find joy everyday in the life you have.
  21. Like
    Ann Cronin got a reaction from Judy M. in Cancer navigator wanted...   
    Good morning, Heroes,
    Heroes... anyone required to take this journey is a hero. 
    So it's official, biopsy shows non-small cell adenocarcinoma. PET did not show anything light up other than the lung. Next step is seeing surgeon on Wednesday. Waiting for call to schedule MRI to make sure no mets to brain. If the MRI comes back with no sign of mets, Pulmonologist's best guess is stage 2 but can't say for sure. I am grateful, I hope after MRI I can still say "I'm very grateful I have stage 2 non-small cell adenocarcinoma."
    The waiting .... having a real hard time with this whole process. I wish there were cancer navigators. I have SO many questions, which, unfortunately do not come until an hour after any given appointment, procedure, test..... I go in with my list of questions only to find I don't ask them because I am now receiving new information and trying to process. I feel like I'm living in a twisted reality puzzle. 
    I want to understand the pathology report, why? I don't know..... I want to talk to someone who can give me the bigger picture, I like organization. I'm having a hard time with this process. My personality type is to have ducks in a row, a plan and an end result. The only thing I have after 4 weeks of tests, appointments and procedures is more tests, appointments and procedures. 
    I want a cancer navigator. Apparently I will find that with medical oncologist but I don't see them until after decision is made by surgeon. If surgeon decides on surgery, I don't see a medical oncologist until after surgery. I'm struggling with each specialist only able to answer questions in regards to their specialty. I need a cancer navigator...
    Though I'm exhausted and frustrated by what feels like a life in complete chaos, I see the good. I have to tare down many layers to see it but I see it.
    The nurses and doctors have been absolutely amazing, what an incredible group of people. I feel blessed to have been assigned to A1 professionals. Stage 2??? I feel incredibly blessed if I can keep that stage. God is with me every step of the way, I feel Him and I see daily how His hand is in the details.
    But..... I really want a cancer navigator...
    Until next time, fellow heroes, be blessed!!
    Ann
     
    ,
  22. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Steff in Young(ish) Mom Newly Diagnosed   
    Hi Brandi,
    I am so very sorry that you and your family are having to travel down this road.  I am a voice/caregiver for my mom who is currently battling a recurrence of NSCLC.  This time, her tumor is inoperable, but she has many different treatment options available to her now than she did 2 years ago when she was first diagnosed.  My mom's situation is very different since I am grown, but she is the caregiver for my dad who is disabled with a movement disorder.  Lots of days, he is like taking care of a 5 year old (fits included!).  When my mom was diagnosed both times, you could see in her eyes the worry that she had about possibly leaving my dad before he leaves her.  She also didn't want to miss out on all of the fun adventures her and I have.  So she made up her mind that she was going to survive this.  And she is not only surviving, she is living her life. To me, you have made the most important decision already - to live.  You say that you have to live.  So, you will. I personally feel that a person's will to live is just as important as the treatment they receive.  I've seen it with my own mom.  The numb will eventually go away and the warrior will come out. You can do this!!!
    Take care, 
    Steff
  23. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Tom Galli in Young(ish) Mom Newly Diagnosed   
    Brandi,
    Welcome here.
    Ok, deep breath...good. Go on the cruise.  You'll have diagnostics completed before departure and a treatment approach.  Your type of NSLC, adenocarcinoma, responds very well to treatment and from my reading of your staging, you've got lots of curative options at your disposal.  
    Let's review the bidding.  You are young, you have the world to live for, and advances in chemotherapy and radio oncology are finally having a very big impact on your type of lung cancer.  Since you are choosing treatment, choose life and enjoy the life extension treatment brings.  This is so very important and I say it up front and early because it is not what I did.  One of the benefits of this forum is you get to learn from our mistakes.  Here's an essay I wrote years ago that's been helpful to the newly diagnosed. Oh and the Stephen Jay Gould essay is a good read but a better listen -- here.  Two points to reinforce Gould's prospective: your attitude towards treatment and outcomes matters and survival statistics don't!
    Everyone of us here knows what numb feels like.  We've all been right where you are now and I've been living fourteen years since my mind-numbing diagnosis.  We are with you every step of the way.  We'll field your questions, suggest ways of coping, tell you what to expect with treatment, help you deal with side effects and help you understand the new vocabulary you'll need to master.  There is so much information you'll need to assimilate and understand to help you make treatment choices.  And, you need to make these choices; your doctor will discuss the possibilities, but you'll be the decision maker.  In this light, I suggest you never go to an oncology consultation alone. To prepare for your 9 February consultation, get acquainted with Lung Cancer 101 here.  Give the whole thing a good read, then fire away with your questions.
    Glad you found us.  You'll be fine!
    Stay the course.
    Tom
     
  24. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to Susan Cornett in Young(ish) Mom Newly Diagnosed   
    Good morning, Brandi.  Our paths and diagnoses are similar.  I had a pesky cough that was initially attributed to my asthma.  On February 22, 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 non-small cell adenocarcinoma, during surgery to remove the mass from my top left lung.  I, too, had lymph node involvement in 7 of 10 lymph nodes.  My diagnosis was later revised to Stage 4; nodules seen on my thyroid prior to treatment were both lung cancer mets and thyroid cancer.  My initial treatment was four cycles of chemo.  I had clear CTs for almost a year and had a recurrence in a lymph node.  I had chemo and radiation and knocked it back.
    My first bit of advice is this: do NOT look up any statistics.  Those stats are based on patients and treatments from 5 years ago.  We've seen so many new treatments in lung cancer in the last 2-3 years.  Stats also don't take into account your current health, age, etc.
    I second what Donna mentioned: take someone with you to appointments.  For most appointments, I had my husband or my mom AND a notebook with questions I thought of between appointments.
    We're here for you and will gladly answer any questions you have.  We know that this is an overwhelming, scary time.  
     
  25. Like
    Ann Cronin reacted to LexieCat in Young(ish) Mom Newly Diagnosed   
    Hi, Brandi, and welcome.  I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this--it really does suck, no doubt about it.  I'm one of the fortunate ones whose cancer was found very early (screening program), but when I was first told my nodule (which they had been following) had changed and was likely cancerous, all the unknowns were pretty darned scary.  I hope your further testing shows no further spread.  
    This IS survivable--we have a few longtime survivors here--Donna, whom you've already met, Tom Galli, who will undoubtedly be along shortly, and others.
    Having young kids certainly adds another layer of worry, but you won't necessarily be out of commission for that long.  Once you have a treatment plan in place, there's a lot of collective experience here with different treatments, which can give you an idea of what to expect.
    Hope you can enjoy your cruise with the kiddos.  Keep breathing, take things one step at a time.  Do your footwork, but try not to get too far ahead of yourself.  Things will become clearer as you get a treatment plan in place and adjust to a new "normal".
    Glad you're here with us--it's a great group of folks.
×
×
  • Create New...