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Radiologist today

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My mom Elaine went to the radiologist today. The most recent scan showed that one tumor on the left lung is blocking much of her bronchial tube and is making her breathing so terribly hard and painful and another tumor is pressed against a nerve on the right lung that is kind of paralyzing her diaphragm and so her lung capacity on both sides is very poor. They are going to tattoo her Wednesday and start some radiation on each tumor to ease her discomfort and pain.

He said she may need a feeding tube if she cannot eat. She is willing to take the treatment. He was clear that this will not save her, but will make her passing more likely from other complications and not asphyxiation (sp). The oncologist said if she did well through rads he would start tarceva, however he was sure to say it didn't change the end result, that she would likely be gone in 3-6 months. It is so frusterating to have a doctor continually give no hope.

Thanks again for all your kind wishes and support.

Prayers and hugs,


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Again, I am sorry for all of this. Still, one can hold onto hope. I don't care how bad it is, there have been survivors even in their darkest days. Maybe it's not healthy. Maybe I shouldn't even be saying it. But I hate these doctors for painting grim pictures all the time. It sounds like you have had an oncologist who does just that. My mom's onco said to her the last time he saw her, "I'm not ready to give up yet." And he put her on Erbitux. I was skeptical, given the minimal info that was out there on this drug for LC, but after she died I read a study on this site and it really eased my mind--her onco really WAS exhausting all options, because the Erbitux would have been perfect for her. Unfortunately she fell and was in a rehab center across the border in another state which had not yet approved Erbitux for LC. Dammit.

Anyway, I do hope that your mom can tolerate the radiation well enough to get the Tarceva, and some new hope. At least to restore your mom back to what she once was, if only for a little while. I'm sorry she suffers so much. It's the most heartbreaking thing to watch.

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I think a doctor's utterances about impending death can really damage a patient's attitude. Anyway, it looks like the treatment plan itself is sound. There is a good chance that the radiation will shrink the tumors enough to give your mom some relief and then the tarceva could be the turning point. When it has worked for people, it has worked very well.

I wonder what the "other complications" are that the doc refers to. Could it be pneumonitis? Maybe your mom could do image guided radiation therapy (IMRT). Hopefully the treatment would focus on the tumors only and minimize damage to the esophagus and diaphragm and result in very little pneumonitis or esophagitis.

That is what I am doing for my tumor. I may be in for the long haul and I want to conserve as much heathy lung as I can in this treatment or any others that I may have to do. I will be treated using a Electa Synergy machine, which is the most advanced machine for IGRT. You have to go to a major cancer center to get such treatment. If your mom is not getting treatment at a major cancer center, she should seek a second opinion.

Your mom might be a candidate for cyberknife surgery too, which is even more accurate than IGRT. There is a risk of pneumothorax though, and if your mom's breathing is already compromised, they may not do that.

I got tatooed yesterday for radiation. I was kind of surprised when they poked my skin with the tatoo needle. I guess it really is a tatoo. It is the first time I have ever been tatooed.

I hope your mom responds well.

Don M

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I'm so sorry that your Mom is having a difficult time breathing,it's so hard to watch your parent struggling to breath. I watch my Dad struggle for 3 mts but we thought it was temporary we thought he was going to get better (DUMB).. All I could say is spend lots of time with your Mom and let her know how much you love her.. Also NEVER EVER give up hope!! Take care of yourself!!

Love Michele

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You all are so awesome, I am realizing that even me coming here so many months ago has changed me in a small way and has helped keep me from drowning.

Mom is getting a very concentrated 'image guided' radiation to minimize damage to surrounding tissue and hopefully will not effect any organs. They are concerned about pneumonitis as you mentioned Don. I am trying to arm myself with as much information as I can.

I never mentioned last week that when he 'broke the news' he never really seemed like he was goign to offer anyhting else and when I started asking about pallitive care he kept very quiet and kept looking at my step dad. It was only after I asked about rads and tarceva did he suggest a referral to radiology. I just get the feeling that if it were just my mom sitting there with my step dad and nobody asked, the next thing he would have suggested was hospice and not more treatment.

Was the dr being vague since he can't say exactly where her cancer will spread? It is in her adrenal gland now. It seems to be spreading so fast, now it has crossed to her right lung and of course had been in her brain and her femur.

ANyway I think I am rambling, I just want to say thanks again. I am off to read more about what our hoky lil cancer center here has to offer.



PS Don, now you can mark 'get tattooed' off your list of things to do! GOod luck with your rads, you are all in my prayers.

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