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My mother-in-law was diagnosed a week ago with stage 4 lung cancer and metastatic bone cancer. Her oncologist give her 2 weeks to 3 months. She has started radiation for bone pain and is taking various pain meds. No other treatment is planned. She is asking what to expect as the disease progresses. Can anyone paint a picture of what she will experience as the end nears? Thank you in advance.

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Welcome to the site.

You don't say why she is not getting chemo. There are many stage 4 individuals on here doing just fine following treatment. My husband was given about 4 months, that was over 2years ago. I would think about a second opinion.


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Hi, yodazz1, sorry to hear your news. There are a website about end of life issues that many have found helpful: www.crossingthecreek.com

and I liked the book "Final Gifts" that you might be able to find in your library. You could also do a net search on Palliative Care.

Time limits are kind of tricky, no one really knows, there are many here who have been here a lot longer than they were told. Our family deals with one problem at a time, one day at a time, while having a good life. Hope you can do that.

Best of luck. Margaret

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Hi Yodazz1. Welcome to the site and sorry to hear about your MIL. You don't give much info? I would tell your MIL to focus on battling and living. As stated a second opinion is a very good idea. I've (see my signature) passed my prognoses and I'm still doing well. Here are some site(s) to help you do research. Research as much as you can. Knowledge is the key. Your MIL will need all the support she can get and help in making decisions also. Any decision she does make should be respected even if one does not always agree. Also a support group for people with lung caner is a plus if you MIL is up to it. Helps to see and talk to people going thru the same thing. Gather all the information from the many post(s) and go forward. Stay with us, the best place, with the best people for sharing, caring and support. Hope this helps. Peace, take care and God Bless. Rich

http://lcam.org (Lung Cancer Awareness Month / November)

http://www.cancermonthly.com/ (Cancer Monthly (The Source For Cancer Treatment Results)

http://www.roycastle.org (Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... h&DB=books (NCBI / BookShelf)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... _id=&state (Caregiving)

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/MON/MON_1.asp (Track Side Effects)

http://www3.cancer.gov/cancercenters/centerslist.html (NCI-designated Cancer Centers / Cancer Centers Listed by State)

http://www.healthology.com/focus_articl ... cancernews (How To Eat Well During Cancer Treatment)

http://www.lifeclinic.com/focus/nutrition/nutrition.asp (Nutrition Facts and Information Center)

http://www.about-nsclc.com/content/patient/nsclc (Iressa)

http://www.about-nsclc.com/content/prof/about (Iressa)

http://www.findcancerexperts.com (Find Cancer Experts)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Making Decisions About Cancer Treatment)

http://www.chemocare.com (ChemoCare)

http://www.curetoday.com/currentissue/d ... index.html (Toolbox: Resources You Can Use)

http://www.cancerindex.org/clinks8h.htm (Resources for Caregivers)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=U ... sa&spell=1 (Medicaid)

http://www.thehealthinsurance.com/medicaid.htm (Medicaid)

http://www.thebeehive.org/health/contests/medicaid.asp (Medicaid)

http://www.lungcancerfyi.com/lung_cancer_faq.html ((Lung Cancer - Frequently Asked Questions)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/treatme ... osurg.html (Surgery - General Information & What to Expect)

http://www.lungcancerfyi.com/lung_cancer_glossary.html (Lung Cancer Glossary)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Receive the PLWC Bulletin)

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/health/hos ... p_home.htm (Directory Of American Hospitals)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/tests/index.html (Lung Cancer Online / Test And Procedures)

http://www.vh.org/adult/patient/cancerc ... index.html (Understanding Blood Tests / A Guide for Patients with Cancer)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/tr ... ng/patient (SCLC)

http://www.meds.com/pdq/smallcell_pat.html (Medicine OnLine / SCLG)

http://health.allrefer.com/health/prima ... -info.html (Diseases And Conditions / SCLC)

http://www.hospicefoundation.org (Hospice Foundation Of America)

http://www.hospiceweb.com (Hospice Web)

http://www.hospice-america.org/consumer.html (Hospice Association Of America)

http://www.hospicenet.org (Hospice Net)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 151,00.asp (PLWC Feature: Talking to Someone With Cancer)

http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/ ... 87526.html (3-year-old keeps her smile in battle with rare cancer)

http://www.rfalung.com (Radio Frequency Ablation Of Lung Cancer)

http://www.lungcancercoalition.org (Global Lung Cancer Coalition)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (PLWC Feature: Financial Support Resources)

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/nycu/healt ... hqcanc.htm (Best Hospitals)

https://www.alcase.org/advocacy/sign_the_petition.html (Advocacy / Sign the Petition)

http://www.cancersymptoms.org (Oncology Nursing Society)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Questions to Ask the Doctor)

http://www.alcase.org/education/publica ... reath.html (With Every Breath A Lung Cancer Guidebook / From ALCASE / A Wealth Of Information / Free)

http://www.cancersurvivaltoolbox.org (The Cancer Survival Toolbox / Free / From NCCS)

http://www.centerwatch.com (Clinical Trails Listing Service / Center Watch)

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&editi ... ung+cancer (Lung Cancer In The News)

http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org/pro ... /guide.asp (The Wellness Community / National Cancer Support, Education And Support / Free)

http://www.drugs.com (Drug Information Online)

http://www.alcase.org (ALCASE / Alliance For Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, Education)

http://www.nlm.nih.gov (Unites States / National Library Of Medicine)

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/encyclopedia.html (Health Information / Medical Encyclopedia)

http://www.google.com (Great Search Engine)

http://blochcancer.org (R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation, Inc. / Please read: A Letter to all newly diagnosed cancer patients)

http://www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society)

http://www.cancer.gov (Cancer Information Service / NCI)

http://www.cancerresearchcenter.org (Cancer Research Center)

http://www.aicr.org (American Institute for Cancer Research; Nutrition Hotline / AICR)

http://www.cancerhopenetwork.org (Cancer Hope Network)

http://www.acor.org (Association of Cancer Online Resources / Free Online Lifeline For Everyone Affected By Cancer & Related Disorders)

http://www.meds.com/lung/lunginfo.html (Lung Cancer Information Library)

http://www.lungusa.org (American Lung Association)

http://www.ama-assn.org (American Medical Association)

http://www.docguide.com/news/content.ns ... g%20Cancer (Doctor’s Guide / Lung Cancer)

http://www.healthfinder.gov/Scripts/Sea ... ?topic=506 (Healthfinder)

http://www.medicinenet.com/Lung_Cancer/article.htm (Medicine Net)

http://www.cancerindex.org/clinks2l.htm (Cancer Index / Lung Cancer Resources Directory)

http://www.nfcr.org/site/PageServer?pag ... ncers_lung (National Foundation For Cancer Research)

http://www.patientadvocate.org (Patient Advocate Foundation)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/effects ... fects.html (Lung Cancer Online / Hematologic (Blood) Effects)

http://www.cancerlinks.org/lung.html (Lung Cancer Links)

http://www.cancer-free.com (Cancer Free Connections)

http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/C ... ung_cancer (Health Insite)

http://www.lungcancerclaims.com (Lung Cancer / Lung Cancer Information Page)

http://www.cancerlifecenter.com/engine. ... =dictionar (Cancer Life Center/ Cancer Dictionary)

http://www.canceryellowpages.com/Resour ... G%20CANCER (Cancer yellow Pages)

http://icare.org (ICARE / The International Cancer Alliance)

http://www.vh.org/index.html (Virtual Hospital)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/support/financial.html (Lung Cancer Online / Financial, Legal & Insurance Issues)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/index.htm (Lung Cancer Online / HomePage)

http://cancernews.healthology.com/focus ... cancernews (Cancer News)

http://cis.nci.nih.gov/fact/7_48.htm (Follow-up Care: Questions and Answers)

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If they are not planning chemo, I would go for a second opinion. My wife was given 9 months after diag. NSCLC, Stage IV, with five bone mets throughout her body. She received radiation for spots where there was pain or threat of fracture. She also received chemo for it all. I think it effectively prolonged her life. Don

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What everybody else said! My husband was given 6 months, and he's 15 months out and doing great!

If it truly is time, then I've heard many, many people suggest the book that Margaret mentioned, Final Gifts. I haven't read it myself, but I trust the opinions of all those who have recommended it.

But again, a second opinion, if she's up to it, wouldn't hurt, would it?

God bless you,


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Too many unknowns here, the age of your MIL, general health, progression of bone mets, etc. If no treatment to get rid of the critter is being suggested, I whole-heartedly agree with getting a second opinion. If the two opinion contradict each other completely, get a third.

If your MIL's health is generally good, why the heck not? Is she ready to throw in the towel? Wait, now is not a good time to ask that...right now, she's probably very, VERY overwhelmed with what she would see as the enormity of the situation. Help her come to grips with what she has learned, the numbers she has probably seen, and this grimness from her doctor...and then, tell her it doesn't have to be that way.

Many people on here are hanging on with Stage IV long beyond their "use by date". Their quality of life isn't what it was before cancer, but it seems to me most have more good days than bad. Things change, life changes. As we age there are limitations, something we all know and a reason for senior living complexes - she's obviously not 25 anymore, but that is no reason to decide that if she can't sail a windjammer across a stormy sea that life ain't worth living...

She's got a lot on her plate to chew and digest...help her swallow and get past that cold spinach.

...and get that second opinion.

Take care,


PS Welcome to the family.

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Hello Yodaz,

Sorry about your MIL, but with a little more details about her,

like her age, previous state of health, was she alone when

told of the sickness and the treatments to follow,

also what tests did she have?

A second opinion could be in order if the only treatments

suggested are radiation.

Please keep us posted and give us more details.

Best for you all


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Your question is:" can anyone paint a picture as the end draws near... "

That is a very courageous question. One that she is willing to hear the answer, if she is willing to ask.

I did read one time in a brochure, a big brochure, that may have been printed about LUNG CANCER by ACS. I am not sure on that. It was pretty thorough. Too thorough for me at the time. The last "chapter" painted a detailed picture of what to expect the last days. And how someone dies with lung cancer. What to do in the home etc. What the "symptoms" of iminent death are for the person dying. I raced through that chapter. It was too creepy for me.

I missed my brothers' deaths. The days before and leading up to their death. I was with Johnny the day in the hospital that he was told that he was not going to survive. A chaplain/nurse came to see him and assured him that he would not suffer. That he would not be gasping for air. That everything would be peaceful and easy. She said it with a great deal of conviction. I am hoping that what she said was true. He died in a nursing home with an angel nurse who didn't leave his side even though her shift ended hours before. (She will be shooting straight up to heaven when it is her time)

If she is willing to ask, then she is willing to hear. Sorry I can't be of help here. Maybe some of our friends will help you with this good question.

Cindi o'h

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My advice? Read and absorb what these people are telling you. I've been fortunate in so many ways, but at the time I was diagnosed, I had such a feeling of dread -- it's hard to explain. I felt like my days were numbered, and the number wasn't very large. Knowing what I do now, being demanding when I needed to be and prodding some of my health care providers along the way added a LOT to my more positive outlook and to my odds in favor of survival, I think.

Getting a second opinion is NEVER wrong, if that's what you all decide to do.

Whatever you decide, you have my best wishes.


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Welcome to this family. I don't have answers to your questions , but I would like to comment that every case of cancer is different. I don't know if there is one answer to your question. I just want to let you know that this group is wonderfully supportive and you have come to the right place. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, your mom-in-law and your family .

God Bless,


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Yodazz,Like many others here on this site I was given 5 to 12 months best case senario.That was in April 2003.I'm still here & doing ok all things considered.There are many stories of inspiration and survival here.If your drs. don't plan on anything but pallitive care mabe another opinion is in order.Good luck and keep us posted.

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