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I visited this site last week, and was so uplifted by the support I saw going on. I was supposed to be researching the side effects of lung radiation treatment for my father-in-law but deep down I thought that the symptoms he was having might mean the cancer had come back and spread to his brain. Sure enough, the next day, we got the news that my father-in-law's cancer was back in the brain, the thoracic spine and the left adrenal gland.

He had undergone treatment for SCLC and seemed to be victorious, but he was unable to do the brain radiation treatments that the oncologist had recommended. (The SCLC tends to go there next and prognosis is not good when it does from the research I've done so he was going to try it at first.) He had an anxiety attack when they were doing the preparatory work for it and just decided he couldn't deal with the "mask" he had to have strapped over his face. He is a real tough Charles Bronson type of guy, so we were a bit surprised. He also was worried about what the radiation would do to the brain because the radiation on his lung certainly had some side effects. He shared this decision with us on Father's Day, about a month after having CT scans clear of cancer signs, so we were hoping for some good months. Then he started having muscle spasms in his hand and chest as well as numbness and balance issues with one side of his body.

He immediately went in for radiation treatment to the brain after discussing all the CT scan results with the oncologist and will continue those until July 31. My mother-in-law and his 3 sons, my husband included, are having the toughest time dealing with this. I, along with my sisters-in-law have researched quite a bit and seem to find the info a little easier to swallow because of the information we have read led us to possibly expect this.

Any advice anyone can give me, or any time frames for others who have dealt with SCLC spreading to the brain and other areas would be great. I am trying to feed my mother-in-law small moments of hope and happiness. She seems to be zeroed in on the "3 months left w/o radiation" time frame. She is the one who is there all the time supporting him and I know she needs to be supported as well.

Thankfully the steroid medication they have him on now is helping some with the brain swelling that has caused the numbing and off balance issues. I know they can't keep him on it long though.

Does anyone have any experiences like this that I can draw from and share with my in-laws?

Thanks so much. God bless~

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Karen, Let me begin by welcoming you to the message board. There is a wealth of knowledge and support here. My dad has NSCLC, he had mets to the brain (three) which were treated with gamma knife, which is a high dose of radiation that is directly aimed at the mets. He was on steroids for about 4 months, he was kept on them after the treatment so that any residual swelling due to the tumors and the gamma knife would be kept down.

Try to tell your MIL that SCLC is highly responsive to chemotherapy, which is a very good thing. There are many stories on this board of people that have survivied sclc for longer than the 'statistics' predict. You may even want to print some of them out so that your family can see that, though the road may be rough, it can be traveled!

I think you will find that the members here don't think too highly to the statistics that are looming out there...they are old, outdated, and just plain inaccurate. They don't offer any info. regarding a persons age, or general health, and there are so many people out there that are beating the hell out of the odds, and we prefer to deal with this illness on a more personal level. There are sooo many treatment options out there, and there are more to come. I have found so much information on this board to help my dad. I hope that you find this to be a comfort zone for you. A place to come when you need to vent or an opinion or two, or a prayer.

Take care, and keep us posted as to how your father-in-law, and you and your family, are doing. Take care, deb

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my heart goes out to each of you. you will read on here many times that lc is like a roller coaster ride. you have many ups and many downs and no way to prepare yourself for any of this except the ups...

at the beginning, one feels devastated. like the whole world is caving in on you and the patient. during the treatments, things still look bad because of how the treatments makes the person so sick. they sometimes have problems eating, drinking, etc. but, and i say but, after the treatments end, there is a light and it is at the end of the tunnel and it is great!!! because the treatments start to work and the patient starts having okay days...the treatments are so hard that it will take quite some time for the body to recover. not days but months, many months, but keep looking for that light....don't let the down time get to you, for it is very easy to have horrible thoughts. i know, i did but i was wrong.

go back to the board and go to the listing called "website" and read that and print it out and go from there. it is the greatest hope anyone can have for that man lived to write it.

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Thanks for the time frame on the steroids. My MIL isn't sure how long he will stay on them, except that it will at least continue into August.

I had read the stats on SCLC in limited stage being very responsive to chemo, except when it comes to the brain. My MIL told me yesterday that they are doing the full brain basically, aiming at both sides since the 8 visible lesions are on both sides spread out. We were able to get a laugh out of thinking he may end up with a skinny little mohawk of hair on top. He lost a lot of his thick black hair during chemo, but his gray hair stayed put! As of now he has a full head of hair, but since he's been in radiation 6 times now, he is likely to start losing some soon.

Thanks for the long term survivor stories tip. I searched some posts out and found some great personal stories to share with the family.

I do think it is very crucial when looking at stats to check the dates of studies and try to reference them with personal stories when possible. That is one of the very good reasons I am so glad I found this website. I learned that Sam in Georgia is fighting SCLC and I have found his older and newer posts helpful. His last one posted about a month ago looked like good news was going to arrive. When my FIL, Salvador, starts to get discouraged due to the fatigue, I can now relay Sam's experiences and let him know there is an easier road ahead. A day without naps even! :D

Take care and keep the faith!


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