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Please tell me its just a bad dream!!


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Yesterday the Oncologist told us that my mom has Stage IIIB Squamous which has spread to the mediastinum. Monday they will insert a port and chemo starts Tuesday of Carboplatin and Taxol. He said the chemo will be every three weeks and will take 4 - 5 hours. Radiation is not going to be adminstered right now, maybe later if she responds. Here's the bomb. . ."survival for this stage is 8-10 months, with or without treatment". O.K., therefore, the point of undergoing the treatment is? Mom wants to go on with the treatment and I think her chances of surviving this must be better with treatment. I've read from this site that a lot of folks are treated with this stuff on a weekly basis, anybody know why some are weekly and others are like Mom, every couple of weeks? Are there good news stories for this type of treatment out there? How responsive is the cancer to this stuff?

I realize that I must be in some "stage" a long this road. My life has just went into park and I can't imagine when I'll go back into the drive mode. My Mom is 58. I am an only child. Other than my own children and husband, my mom is my last remaining family member and I'm certainly not ready to give her up. I have always been counted on to be the strong one in my family, however; now I'm ready to surrender the title. I cry all the time. For someone that could always be counted on for strength, I am not ashamed to say I'm at the breaking point. O.K., I surrrender this ones got me. Please help me regain the strength.


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1. Don't believe statistics - from what I understand they are old and are based on all people - many whom are much older than your mother.

2. When my husband was first dx - I cried constantly (and I am not a crier). Felt like my heart was in my throat all the time. Time and activity eventually eased that but it still returns every once and awhile.

3. I truly believe that my husband will survive this and so does he. It is the only way we can cope. The drs have never told us differently. I don't know why any dr would tell you 6-9 months or whatever - they don't know. We none of us know what our time is here - but I think it is important to live each day and to continue to have hopes and plans for the future. To try each day to do the normal things we did before the big C diagnosis. Easy - no but it helps to get your mind off this horrible disease.

4. This message board is my salvation. Good information about treatments, side effects, etc, but most importantly a group of wonderful supportive people who understand what you are going through.

Sending you a big (((((((HUG))))))))

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HI Cindy, I echo Ginny's thoughts on statistics, doctors don't know how long someone has . I was never given statistics I found them on the internet myself, I thought i was a goner didn't see any reason for me to buy any new clothes or spend money on myself, that feeling has since changed.

I was dx squamous cell stage 3a/b was given taxol and carbo 3 weeks apart, the tumor in my lung shrank tremendously after 2 treatments , the surgeon tried to give me another mediastinoscopy(sic) and couldn't get down there due to scar tissue and he decided to due the lobectomy anyways 10+ months later I doing well have some minor problems, but I'm alive and able to due a lot of things and there is no cancer in me right now.

Hope I've helped you some. David A

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Cindi, my wife is on the 3-week plan with carboplatin and taxotere (a relative of taxol, I think). We were given the choice of every week with smaller doses or every three weeks with larger doses. We chose the 3 week plan because it gives my wife periods of well feeling. She is about to have her 3rd treatment in this series. I agree that statistics are just numbers generated for the doctors. We patients and caregivers rely more on hope and prayers and moving forward. Hang in there with your mother. I would rather treat than not treat, to give a chance of arresting the cancer and to be doing SOMETHING (psychological ease). I would only do nothing if the treatment was worse than the disease or if the treatment was not working (evidence of tumor growth). Good luck. Don

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Cindy, I agree completly with everyone here. My dad was dx in January 2002. When I spoke with the oncologist I asked him if he believed in giving timelines with a diagnosis, because I was afraid that this would affect my dads emotional state and dash his hopes thereby affecting how he handled not only the cancer, but the chemo.. The oncologist said "I do not believe in timelines, I am not God and I don't know how long a person has." This was not only a relief, but true. I, personally, believe that a persons mental state greatly affects how they respond to treatment. I believe it greatly hampers ones immune system if they become depressed and was willing to do almost ANYTHING to prevent this from happening to my dad.

There are no guarantees in life, GOOD OR BAD. Statistics are merely numbers-everyone responds to treatment differently. The statstics are not only dated, but are very broad in who they include. IE a statistic about NSCLC or SCLC will include people of all ages, and in every possible state of health (weight, other medical concerns, lifestyles, etc.) So how reliable can they be?

Also, if your Mom isn't comfortable with a doctor, or if a doctor seems to have tunnel vision with regard to outcome and treatment-seek another opinion. You will find many posts here about people that followed their gut instinct and had a great outcome-See posts by Mrs. Mike, Marlon, and JudyB to name just a few.

No question is stupid on this board, and there is no such thing as "rambling"-as I feel guilty of right now, but will brush that thought from my mind. Use this board to vent, to seek support and to gain knowledge, and even offer each of the above to everyone else. We're a team here. I like to think of us as a wall...And you are an added brick...Welcome to the wall. Take care, Deb

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Guest JanetK

Dear Cindi

I am so sorry your Dr. gave you a "survival Time "

I was diagnosed 8 mos ago with NSCL 3b/4. I am still in treatment

(chemo), I feel good, I'm working full time, going to my sons's baseball

games and enjoying life.

I never asked my Dr. how long I had and if they presumed to know and tell me I would have found another Dr.

Other people have posted about statistics...........but I'll say it too -

Don't listen to them. I have heard of and met quite a few stage III &

IV survivors that are in their 3rd, 4th, and 5th years.

Tell your Mom never to give up hope, she has to believe she is going to

get well. I truly believe that is half the battle.

Janet K

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Guest AnneDan

Cindi -

Don't believe the hype! I was diagnosed January 8, 2002. My docs told me that WITHOUT chemo I would be dead in 8-10 months! Well here I am 14 months later and counting! My tumors have grown very little since my diagnosis! The man upstairs is the determinor of our lives! The doctors can only tell you their statistics based on numbers of people who are not like you, in sex, age, or genetic background. I was depressed about my prognosis until I heard an NPR interview with a Brit who had recently written a book because he outlived his prog. He said stats would only apply to your mom if the entire group were her same age, sex and had her genetic makeup... that gave me hope. You have to think outside the box and remember there IS NO BOX!

Continue to have hope and everytime a negative thought occurs, repeat some positive statement 5 times to counteract that negativity. I use affirmations, or Bible scriptures or simply say "She is healed." Easier said than done, esp late at night when the demons really attack.... been there, done that..... sorry to go on and on, just got inspired......


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Just wanted to share a portion of my experience which might relate to yours. My Dad was only a candidate for chemotherapy (no radiation or surgery). He has done quite well on chemo...no significant nausea or weight loss...some decreased energy. He has exercised almost daily...doing some form of cardio workout even if only a walk. His initial diagnosis was stage IIIB nsclc and he has been on chemo for the better part of 5 years now. He was 57 years old when he was diagnosed and I definitely think his age combined with his physical fitness and continued efforts to get exercise have helped. I also agree wholeheartedly with others who recommended getting a doctor with a very positive attitude...the way the doctors word things can have such an impact!

I'm sorry you're joining us on this journey but you're in good company here.

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