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chinamus72

Just found out

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Hi Everyone,

My mum just found out that she has stage IV lung cancer through years of passive smoking in her work environment. Unfortunately, she had no early symptoms. Her condition has been classed as terminal and the doctors haven't given us much hope. A full set of scans also revealed three very small mets in her brain and some minor ones in her femur.

She is having her fourth radiotherapy session today on her brain and femur. At this stage chemo for her lungs is on hold until her 10 day radio treatments are complete. She is holding up ok but has her ups and downs. It is so heartbreaking seeing a vibrant energetic woman who has been extremely heathly all her life become meek and resigned.

Our family network is strong so we are giving her a lot of support. However, we need some help so any info you guys can provide will be greatly appreciated. I'm slowly reading through all the stories and it certainly gives us a little bit more hope.

First question is regarding radiotherapy and contraindications with foods, herbs etc. The doctors basically told us that during radio she must not consume too much anti-oxidants as radio works using oxidants. But don't most fresh fruits and veges contain anti-oxidants eg. blueberries, broccoli etc? Should she continue a normal diet which in her case also includes reishi mushroom soup?

Is chemo also affected in the same way?

Sorry if this doesn't make sense, I'll still trying to come to terms with what is happening.

TN

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Hi, I am so sorry to hear about your mom, but I'm glad that you found this site. I was quite overwhelmed a couple months ago when my mom was diagnosed. The wonderful people here have answered so many questions for me. When you read through the history, you see that there are many people with stage IV that are doing much better then they were led to believe. I'm afraid I can't offer any help to you with the questions you have at this time....someone else most certainly will. Good luck with your mom. It sounds like she has a great family. Shelley

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In terms of the antioxidants, I was always told that I could eat all the fresh fruits and vegetables I wanted and that I would never get too many antioxidants. You get into trouble when you take supplements during treatment.

Any supplement/medication she takes should be known by her treating physicians and they would give approval or have her quit taking them during treatment. I was told to wait for one month after my treatment to begin additional supplements and that has worked out fine for me.

Cindy

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I have not had radiation yet but I did take a lot of things during chemo. All of them were checked with my oncologist. He asked that I not take some of them within 24 hours of chemo. Radiation may be different. I would have her check each one with her doctor.

Stay positive, :)

Ernie

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So sorry you have to find yourself here. I wasn't told to avoid antioxidants during radiation and dranks lots and lots of iced green tea throughout. Also had plenty of fresh berries and other fruits. I did not take any supplements, though.

I'll pray that treatment is effective for your mom. Please keep us posted.

Trish

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Welcome; your mom's disease is probably incurable but not necessarily terminal. She may be able to control the disease for years to come and have a not too bad quality of life. I was told not to use antioxidant supplements in my treatment and i could eat all the natural foods I wanted. I was glad to hear that because I grow a lot of berries and was looking forward to grazing my bushes last summer during treatment.

Don M

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Prayers go out to you and your family. I know that this is a very difficult time for you. My dad was diagnosed Stage IV five months ago and through chemo and Tarceva has had little side effects except hair loss and a rash. He's still pretty active and if you did not know him you would not know that he is battling this disease.

Everyone deals with this new way of life differently, but what has helped us the most is praying for the best and taking one day at a time. I praise God for the small things (i.e. good days) and continue to hope and pray that He will bless us with larger things (i.e. good years).

Keep the Faith,

Rochelle

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[ Don M ] ...your mom's disease is probably incurable but not necessarily terminal. She may be able to control the disease for years to come and have a not too bad quality of life.

As usual, Don is right on. To take it a step further, "inoperable" and "incurable" do NOT imply imminent death. Most of us have lived with one or more inoperable and incurable conditions since childhood, conditions we hardly think about today and would never consider terminal. And even the word "terminal" has become somewhat meaningless. In a manner of speaking, haven't we all been terminal since birth?

This is not just an academic exercise in semantics. When dealing with a serious, life-threatening disease like cancer, I believe it's essential for physicians and others to use words that communicate the intended meaning without arousing fear, panic, or a feeling of hopelessness in the patient or family. With recent advances in cancer treatments, it's more appropriate to think of cancer, even advanced cancer, as a serious chronic disease which can be treated and managed rather than as an automatic death sentence.

Another thing that disturbs me is when a physician has the gall to "give" a patient x-number of months to live. Such numbers are simply averages for a large number of patients with the same diagnosis over the past 5 or more years. They are history and are no indication of what new treatments will bring us over the NEXT 5 years. And they have no meaning for an individual patient (like your mom) whose general health is probably well above average among others with her diagnosis. It's been demonstrated that patients with a positive attitude and expectations of success do better overall than those who focus on the x-number of months they were thoughtlessly quoted, some of whom actually die on schedule as if under a curse.

As you can see, I feel very strongly about some of these issues. My best wishes and Aloha,

Ned

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Ned took the words out of my mouth! LOL

I also wanted to let you know that when Mom's been doing radiation treatments (and she's done them alot!) she's always told to eat whatever she likes...including those foods high in antioxidants. She's never been one to take many supplements, though, so I'm not sure about that. I would specifically ask her treating physician to specify if she can't eat them or if she just shouldn't "load up" on them. I suspect they want her to eat a balanced diet, though.

Please, let us know what you find out!! I'm curious now!

Much love and many prayers that your mom's treatment will do her wonders!

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sorry to hear about your mom.

I don't know that I have much to add to the words of wisdom already posted. It just goes to show what a wealth of information and support this site can provide.

I agree with Ned that it's inexcusable for a practitioner to give someone a timeline. I read an article in Time Magazine today (waiting for Mom's oncologist, as a matter of fact) that quoted a medical onc that this is one of the best times in history to have cancer because of all the new developments in cancer treatment, and the change in attitude that has the medical world starting to see cancer as a chonic disease that can be managed in such a way that it improves both quality and quantity of life. There are some amazing stories of survival (many with stage IV disease) so keep the faith.

Jen

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Thank you all for your kind words and support. They have certainly given us much hope. I will definately report back on how my mum is doing. Five treatments down, and five more to go after Easter. Then CT scans. She is keeping her chin up and fighting with a positive attitude.

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I am really sorry and I feel for you. I can't answer you on what to take and what not to take. I know my husband was told not to take supplements. But was not restricted on anything else and he was fine.

It is important that you NOT listen to her doctors stastictics as that is BOLONEY!! There are soooo many people here who are stage 4 and were told the same thing. And years later they are still with us. So get that Death sentence thought out of you head and just fight. Never give up and have faith. As it has moved many a mountain here.

We are always here for you, for support, knowledge, prayers or to just vent.

Please keep us infomred on her progress. Also it would never hurt to get a 2nd opinion.

Maryanne :wink:

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I'm glad your mom has a positive attitude! That is so important! Read the survivor stories here and draw hope from them and all of us who are here for you. Will be looking for an update from you!! My prayers continue that the treatments are a complete success!

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So sorry to hear your Mom has been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It is important to know and believe that lung cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. It is a savage disease with no mercy, but with today's treatment options, there is hope that she can be treated and while not being cured, that she is able to live a fairly normal life.

You have come to a family of lung cancer survivors, their loved ones and caretakers who are very kind, caring, knowledgeable, and who can understand what you are going through.

There is a saying that you have one life before cancer and a different life after cancer, and that is true, because even though you may be NED (no evidence of disease) on your scans, and even in remission, there is still always the worry that the other shoe will drop on the next scan....but once you accept the new norm, you can relax a bit and know that if you do get another cancer, it can be treated also. It is sort of living with a disease and just doing what you need to do to keep it at bay.

I take radiation therapy and chemo,but was never told that I should watch antioxidants. I don't take supplements, so don't now about that.

There are so many people in this family who are by far more knowledgeable than am I about all this, and you have heard from some and will hear from more of them, I believe.

Barb

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I checked with the onc before taking any supplements and the only times I was given dietary restrictions were when my white counts were down, certainly nothing taboo during radiation. In fact I was encouraged to eat as much as I could to keep my weight up.

Good luck

Geri

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Mum's just had her first chemo (taxotere and carboplatin) last Tuesday 8th May. So far no side effects aside from fatigue. Her onc has also advised her the importance of keeping her weight up and not to restrict her diet. Second round in 21 days. Scans for the mets around late May. Fingers crossed.

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