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Glad I found this site (I'm new)


Kris

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Hello. As I am sure you can guess, I am a new member to this site. I have done so much research and have done so many Google searches that I am not exactly sure how I found this site but once I did, I was unable to leave it. I have been reading some posts for the past month and have found it very helpful in many ways. First, it was wonderful to read things from people that not too many people I know can relate to. Second, it was warming to hear so many good things from so many people on this site….whether it be good reports, stories of remission or words of support and encouragement. Finally, it is a relief to know that I can post a question and see responses to things that just plain have me baffled.

My name is Kris and I have an incredible Dad who is 70 years young. He is unforgettable to anyone he meets. He had a heart attack 15 years ago and bounced back like nobody’s business. This was the only time I can remember him being ill. About a year ago he began to make comments saying that he was short of breath and he shared his concern with us that he thought his heart may be ‘wearing out’. His cardiologist assured us this was not the case. Dad was in great shape. After a bout with bronchitis that never cleared up, in January 2003 he was diagnosed with stage IIIa NSCLC and that blew us all away.

His treatment plan was to have a combination of radiation and chemotherapy but after only four chemo treatments he was far to weak to continue both. Chemo was dropped. He completed his radiation treatments in April but what a battle it was. He was a very sick man, in and out of the hospital, losing lots of weight and no ‘fight’ left in him. I didn’t have a clue that radiation could do this to him! Three months ago they found another tumor on the same lung and treated it with Brachytherapy. We almost lost him in the first treatment. We’ve completed that hurtle but he isn’t the man he was or wants to be. At this stage, he has trouble walking, seeing (caused by the steroids he is taking), and of course, breathing.

We went to see the doctor yesterday because Dad’s cough has gotten so bad that he is blacking out. I must say that reading all of your postings, I have been quite concerned about Mets since Dad has had no chemo since February. I asked what the next step was in his treatment plan, hoping that we could finally begin chemo again and the doctor said “none”. The doctor said that my Dad is in no shape to tolerate chemo….even a low dose may be too much. My Dad wants the chemo and I want him to have it (Mom is against it). Dad and I feel that it’s his best chance at fighting this disease from spreading. But I’m torn because I don’t want to do anything that will make his situation worse. Should I be pushing for low dose chemotherapy? In this case is *something* better than *nothing*? Any advice for the ‘new kid’ would be appreciated.

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Kris, Welcome!

My husband is 70 also and is stage IV. You can see on the bottom all he has been through.

About the cough, is it constant or is it like a choking cough. I know when buddy was going through all the different radiation treatments, he had a cough after he drank, during his eating, just whenever and he would cough so hard it was like his insides were coming up through his throat. That all ended about a month ago. I am sure it was the radiation. He had a very hard time with each different treatment of it...

Possibly the dr will do some scans for your dad. Brain, liver, chest. If they show clear, I would go along with the dr. At some point, one does stop treatments. Can't live on chemo, for the chemo can kill you...

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Hi Norme,

Your husband sounds like a very stong man to have been through so much. As I am learning from this site, all of these people are. Caregivers included!

The coughing is not constant but very often and usually a choking type cough. It doesn't seem to matter if he is eating, drinking or at rest...it's just all the time. And we did know that radiation may cause this but I guess we were also under the impression that it would subside after treatment as it did for your husband.

I thought about your last comments all evening and I really appreciated them. I do tend to lose perspective sometimes and focus on pushing, pushing, pushing just to make him better but I took to heart what you were saying. Thanks.

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I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is very difficult to make these decisions and they are very personal ones, but I truly think the patient should have the final say and if he is willing and that is what he really wants, I would get a 2nd opinion and see if other chemo might be possible or at least something else for symptom relief. Focus on getting him stronger now and enjoy your time together as you search for other options. I wish you the best.

Jenny

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Hi Kris,

It sounds like your dad has had quite the fight. After all of the treatments, Its to be expected that your dad is so sick.

My mom is Stage IV with squamous cell too...and she just recently finished five chemo treatments. Our onc at Fox Chase in Philly spoke to us just recently about the same issues you have raised. What I got from the conversation was this: There is a standard in the medical community about how much chemo is providing a benefit vs the toll it takes on the quality of life. I'm not sure what the original plan was for your dad...but in my mom's case there never was a "curative" plan for her. The docs were honest and let us know that the medical community does not have a way to completely irridacate the cancer from her body.

After five treatments, she has reached her maximum benefit from the chemo. That doesn't mean that anyone is reading the last rights..it just means that the chemo (at this point) will more harm than good.

My advice to you is to seek a second opinion concerning the cough...and keep in mind the quality of life of your father first. My mom is 46...and I am 22...and I'm not ready to lose her...but I don't want her to have any treatments to make her more sick for no reason.

You are in my prayers

Laura

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John,

At the time of diagnosis, I didn't realize that there were different 'flavors' of chemotherapy and then my Dad stopped getting the treatments.....so, this weekend I had to ask my Mom what he was given. She said Texatier(?). The spelling probably isn't right. Do you know anything about this treatment? I will do a search on the others that you mentioned. Thanks.

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Hi Norme...

The last time we were into the doctor's office, everything I asked about I was told, "let's wait until I see him again next Tuesday and we'll discuss it further". I guess they are willing to do more tests (after some prompting) but my Dad has to be willing to be admitted into the hospital. The doctor told him to come to the appointment tomorrow prepared to do that. He had a pretty rough day yesterday so I am thinking they will admit him no matter what. At first he was put on the steriods to help him bounce back from bronchitis. They kept him on them because they seemed to give him more 'pep' and improve his appetite. No plans to go off of them (he's on a consistant dose of 20mg a day). They gave him meds for the cough but I'm not sure how much they are helping......

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Kris, will be praying hard tomorrow for your dad. sure hope he gets some scans done. The unknown is the hardest part. I can help my husband fight what is known.

If the cough is the same, it is horrible. When they get started, it sounds like they are going to cough up their whole insides. I sure hope it goes away soon...

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I know it must be hard trying to make decisions during these difficult times. If th e patient wants to continue to fight, then thats a positive step. Chemotherapy may help, but if scans reveal that it is not helping then it may be no use to continue. There are alternative treatments. Many are skeptical, but we tried some fo r my dad. We tried the Hoxsey formula drink, and some other pills. I can say the Hoxsey may have helped him, but for a very short time. I think it may be best to use natural remedies at an early stage with conventional medicine.

Also look into clinical trials. Some have vaccines combined with low dose chemotherapy, maybe it can be tolerated. The vaccines are supposed to help boost the immune system and fight against the cancer. I wanted my dad to enroll in clinical trials, but we had problems with the medical insurance. By the time the insurance was squared away it was too late, dad was too weak.

Kris, I wish you the best and keep on researching and fighting!

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Hi Kris,

I too came across this site a few weeks ago and feel the same as you. It's so wonderful to communicate with people who are so caring and in-the-know.

My friends have been great, but when it comes to the minute details (that we are all interested in) they don't really understand.

Some very kind people put me in contact with a guy called Jay who is going through the same thing as my brother (same age too). So don't be afraid to ask specific questions as SOMEONE will know the answer.

Thanks to everyone here :D

Sally

xxxx

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