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Rower Michelle

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Rower Michelle last won the day on February 2

Rower Michelle had the most liked content!


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    Overland Park
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  • Status
    Lung cancer patient/survivor
  • Interests
    I am a rower! ALK Positive Research

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  1. Hi Judy Losing a father, at any time under any circumstance is traumatic. I am so sorry. I can totally relate to the health care delivery system forcing a transition to hospice. They did it to my mother this Spring-it's was horrible experience for everyone. The grief and guilt go hand in hand and will for some time. I actually took advantage of my clinic's Onco-psychology program to talk through the profound guilt I felt in failing to successfully advocate for my mother.... you might want to see if there is a similar program available to you--it's tough stuff your dealing with. We love you and are here to support you in any way we can. Michelle
  2. I would recommend seeking out a board certified pain management physician given the dose and duration of the MS Contin, where they can evaluate an alternate treatment plan- the body’s pain receptors have to be literally re-wired. This is very doable with the right pain management team.
  3. Hi Yvette, That’s pretty much how we all feel when this news hits. You’ve found the right group of people, committed survivors and caregivers avail to support each other. Today diagnosis is not prognosis, with treatment options expanding every year. There are many long term survivors here. Let us know how we can help-anytime. Michelle
  4. I’m glad the GO2Foundation was able to locate another potential trial for you. It’s impossible for medical oncologists to keep up with all the trials- which is good news fir us.
  5. Hi Stephanie, I’m sorry to learn of your Mom’s diagnosis. Lexie is correct & Keytruda should not be administered until the comprehensive biomarker testing comes in. While it is unlikely there will be a targeted mutation the treatment options have expanded significantly. When the testing does come in with Stage IV diagnosis, it is important to obtain a second opinion with a thoracic oncologist to evaluate if there are clinical trials which could be more effective than the standard of care. There have been more scientific advances in the last three years than in the last fifty so it’s almost impossible for a general medical oncologist to stay abreast of the best treatment options. Keep us posted. Michelle
  6. Hi John One of the members in my support group had whole brain radiation six years ago (almost seven). He regrets not having obtained a second opinion before doing so as there was a treatment option available that passed the blood brain barrier. The radiation was indeed successful, he does have significant memory impairment. I’m not sure where you’re treated or what type of lung cancer you’ve been diagnosed with, however you’re correct in that it is a big decision. I would also consider obtaining a second and third opinion too. I see you’re in NY so you are within driving distance for some of the big guns in the City & even up to Boston. You may also want to contact the Go2Foundation & Lungevity help line to obtain physician recommendations. Let us know how we can help. Michelle
  7. Yes, that’s correct, we waived the Medicare Part B & D however Medicare had rules about this in terms of the size of the employer. It’s a good idea to check with Social Security or obtain a free consult from a disability attorney before making a final decision.
  8. Yes. Medicare co-pays for targeted therapy is absolutely bananas, more than most people pay for housing. Medicare has rules about pharma co-pay assistance which frankly seems so unfair. The best course of action is to speak to the social worker about how to obtain financial assistance. Most of my support group members were able to receive such support. If you are comfortable, pick up the phone and call your congressional representatives and demand action on the Cancer Drug Parity Bill which has been stalled. Tell them how much your co-pay will be. Targeted therapy should be reimbursed the same as chemotherapy and immunotherapy but since it’s a pill- the coverage is through Medicare Part D (when it should be Part B ). The Medicare rules around this are so ridiculous. My husband took a part time job at UPS for Teamsters Coverage just to take care of my Alectinib co-pays. We didn’t qualify for any of the financial assistance programs. It’s maddening.
  9. Yes. All of this thus far is in line with the standard of care. It doesn’t necessarily indicate a stage IV diagnosis. Today Stage 3 lung cancers are treated more aggressively with better outcomes. Remember that diagnosis is not prognosis. Given the high rates of recurrence, once the lymph nodes are affected, systemic therapy is the best course. The B12 & Folic acid are administered in advance of chemotherapy as it can deplete the B vitamins. It takes about a week for the vitamin B levels to be raised for chemo. Waiting for the biomarker tests to return is also correct in that the physician is trying to establish the most effective first line of therapy. It’s not a bad idea to continue the folic acid if targeted Or immunotherapy is administered, but be sure to have B vitamin levels checked regularly once or twice a year (typically this isn’t routinely done). If the levels are too low, fatigue is an issue but if the levels are too high, there can be serious side effects like neuropathy. Sounds like it’s all going to plan. What you may consider a second opinion if there is a targeted mutation with a doctor that has expertise. For now, one step at a time.
  10. Hello Karen Michelle here. Like some of the others, I’ve invested quite a large sum of money in integrative medicine. The diet recommended to me was Andrew Weill MD’s anti inflammatory diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and a few others. Juicing is not recommended as there is too much fiber lost from the whole food to support a diverse microbiome. There’s increasing evidence that a healthy microbiome does help to improve lung cancer outcomes. I diffuse organic essential oils for one hour at bed time- a combo of lavender Frankincense & orange. I’ve been doing weekly acupuncture to address the side effects of my targeted therapy as well. I try and walk every day, and have taken up Qi Gong/Tai Chi to help improve my lung functioning. It’s been almost three years for me now and so far I’m blessed to be doing well.
  11. Hi Jen, We are in Estes Park on vacation now, not too far away from you. I’m from NJ & live in the KCMetro. Like you I had a persistent cough & had an unremarkable physical. After an entire summer of a worsening cough, pneumonia, & a hospitalization, I was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC with a poor prognosis- six months to live at the age of 51. That was in September, 2018. Biomarker testing revealed an ALK mutation. I did get a second opinion at KU & have been there ever since. My next line of treatment will be managed by Dr Camidge. You were very, very smart to obtain multiple opinions. Feeling like you are flying blind is a good way to put it. Getting through the initial shock takes time, but once treatment begins there will be a greater sense of control. Ask us anything- we’re here for you. Michelle
  12. Hello from me too. I was diagnosed in 2018, Stage IV with the ALK mutation, now NED on targeted therapy. I don’t talk too much about my diagnosis with my friends or family anymore either, I don’t look or act sick however having lung cancer is like having a small flame burning. I have a phone buddy that Lungevity matches for me where we have the really frank conversations especially around scan times. There is also a Durva Club under the immunotherapy topics where there are a number of people who crossed the Durva finish line. Welcome!
  13. Hey Babs Good to hear from you! These are always very difficult choices. While I haven’t been on that therapy combo, I do understand it is high test chemo. I would certainly explore all the clinical trial options first by contacting both the Go2 Foundation & Lungevity Help Lines. I would also be asking your team if you do move forward with the chemo combo, what would be the next line of therapy and would you be disqualified from participating in future clinical trials. Keep us posted!
  14. Just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about your MNL. One of my physicians is based out of the University Of Iowa in Iowa City. She’s a board certified Integrative Medicine physician, Nicole Nisly MD. She’s out of the internal medicine program. Her role is to help patients optimize their lung cancer treatment plan. She’s a published international expert plus she’s super nice too. Insurance covers the visit which is another plus. She had access to a lot of local resources to help support general health & had a list of discounted services. Even though she was five hours away from us Dr Nisly is an excellent resource.
  15. Hello from another Jersey gal. I grew up in Essex County, live in the KC metro now. I was 51 at the time of my diagnosis in 2018. My biggest concern was how to communicate this to my parents. They know I had been hospitalized with pneumonia however I didn’t tell them about the biopsy. When the results came in 48 hours later we were is such a state of shock. We told some close friends right away to get some “practice” in answering questions. I decided to let me parents know very early on. I made sure they were both going to be home with no major commitments for the day. For me, it worked out for the best to let people know what was happening because we needed all the assistance we could get. From my experience, given the complexity of this disease, I’m an advocate for sharing this news sooner rather than later. Welcome to the family. Michelle
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