Good evening, everyone.
I suppose I'm introducing myself because I am sure to become a frequenter of these forums, so it seems best to introduce myself now.
My 47 year old husband was just diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer. An extremely large and apparently extremely aggressive pancoast tumor (a scan five years ago was clean), which is now 10cm x 9cm x 5.75cm. He has 3cm masses in his adrenal glands, as well, and we will find out tomorrow if a small nodule in his brain is a met. He has impact in the lymph nodes in his left lung; based on all of this, definitely not a surgery candidate (for obvious reasons, but also because the tumor is pressing against his jugular and is likely in the chest wall.) You could've knocked me over with a feather when they said "10cm" - my son had a brain tumor five years ago that was considered huge at 2.5. I actually stopped the doctor - "wait, did you say TEN centimeters?"
The initial biopsy report was shared with us today, where it was determined it is NSCLC, squamous cell carcinoma. We are still waiting for the molecular testing and markers to come in; guessing this will be late next week/early the following.
He has been a heavy smoker for nearly 30 years, so I suppose this shouldn't have come as a surprise, but it did; until he got his second shot, he had no symptoms at all. Those he did develop, we chalked up to a reaction to the shot. Then, after about five weeks as more and more symptoms piled on and he grew weaker and weaker, we started thinking, "okay, maybe COPD?" We didn't even realize he had lost weight until they weighed him in the ER, where we learned he had lost nearly 20 pounds since the beginning of May (we've been working from home together for 18 months, so I guess I just didn't notice, and neither did he, somehow).
I mean, we knew something like this was likely in our future, but at 47 and this advanced... we didn't expect it at all. He is a strong man who rarely shows emotion; he has become thin and frail and he cries at the drop of the hat. Not because he feels that he is dying (though he does), but because he carries SO much guilt, and because he is thinking of the impact on me, our son, and his parents. He is terrified I may have cancer as well, and wants me to get checked out. Our son is handling it... okay (age 28), but he also wells up every time he sees his sharp, scientific-minded dad struggle to put a thought together, or have to rest walking from room to room. My son and I are both also having a hard time hearing how thin his voice sounds.
He went to urgent care on Friday the 2nd to get a negative COVID test (when we tried to make a doc appointment for testing, they wouldn't see him due to his symptoms sounding like covid), where they did a chest X-ray and told him his right lung was partially collapsed and to go to the ER. So we did, where they did a CT and found that the "collapse" was indeed a partial collapse at the very top of his right lung, but the rest of the massive white area on the x-ray was a tumor. They told us right then and there it was cancer (not as abruptly as that; the ER doc was incredibly kind and the entire staff was wonderful), and admitted him to the hospital the following Tuesday in order to fast track the testing and consults. (Instead of waiting weeks/months for appointments and driving all over, they did the testing in-house and had the doctors round to him.)
I'm not asking for prognosis or anything like that. We meet with his oncologist again in the morning and will leave all of that to him. We know enough to know that the situation is incredibly dire, but that everything will depend upon the treatment plan and his body's response to it, so I know no one can really tell me what to expect.
Just establishing myself here, I guess, because I'm sure I will have questions and maybe sometimes need to connect with others who are dealing with this from one side or the other. I am definitely interested in others' experiences in this regard. And certainly happy to take any advice on how to be a good caregiver, especially as things progress - whether the disease, the treatments, or both. Right now life hasn't changed too much apart from his weakness and fatigue and the fact that now we know, and now he feels like he has an hourglass above his head, so the caretaking isn't too complicated - feeding him a lot, administering meds and vitamins, giving him ensure shakes for protein, etc. But we both know as this progresses, the demands on both of us are going to significantly increase.
Anyway, hi. I'm Shannon. He is Daniel.