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Stage IV lung cancer met to Brain, fam behave bad


Jennifer D

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Hello all:

My dad was diagonosed with Stage IV lung cancer about 1.5 months ago. I got him to go to the Mayo Clinic for a second oppion but the news got worse. His cancer has spread to the brain. Even though they did a resection of the brain tumor the Mayo is giving him 6 ~ 8 months. UGH! So, I sent him back home but my family is behaving poorly. Which is stressful because I am 5 months pregnant.

The doctors at Mayo wanted to do Radiation of head and lung, then rest, then see what Chemo could do. Doctors at his home, wanted to do Chemo first (Until I inisted they read the records and they saw the brain tumor) now they are saying. 3 weeks radiation to the head, none to the lung, then 1 week rest, then start with the chemo. Seems like a lot of treatment in a short time. Thinking the Radiation is going to wear him out, then if he gets hit with the Chemo with no recoup time he is going to be in a hospice very quickly. My dad is 5'9" and only weighs 139 plus or minus (always has been skinny) and used to drink very heavily. By used to I mean right before the cancer notice. So, he can't really go that long without eating, needless to say. He thinks he is going to travel by himself on a train every day 1 hr (each way) to the treatments by himself. So, I am thinking he has no perspective on the situation. Which I assume is typical.

My sister is behaving with so much anger that there is no point in trying to talk to her about things realistically. It is very frustrating. Concerned that the treatment is going to throw him in the hospital. Wish I could talk to my sister about the long term plans with our dad but there is no hope here....

Anyone with any suggestions or copeing skills. Being Preg. makes things so much harder to deal with. (My first baby and all this saddness)

Has anyone else's dad gone with that kind of treatment so close together?

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Jennifer:

So sorry about your Dad -- am going through the same thing w/my Dad. (I'm a newbie too.) Your family needs to pull together right now to support your Dad and to take some of the load off you. You need to take care of yourself. My Dad went through his chemo (3x wk every 3 weeks -- he is on round 2 of 4) and radiation (16x) at the same time and did okay. The chemo seemed to wear him down the week after he had it, but actually drove himself to some chemo and radiation treatments (2 hrs round trip). My Dad has even been resuming normal activities. He doesn't have mets to brain, but has in left shoulder, right lung and lymph nodes. Hang in there and take care of that baby!

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Jennifer, so sorry you are hit with all these things at once. Yes, my wife had radiation and chemo at the same time because time was of the essence. She was able to pull through, with a lot of liquid meals. Her prognosis last year was 9 months. She is past the first year and going strong. So don't get into the statistics. And the advice to take care of yourself and the baby is right on. Good luck. Don

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The saddest thing (depending on your perspective) is that he thinks that he will have no side effects. And it frustrating because my sister and I need to work together to get a plan together to take care of him (he lives alone) to make sure he eats, takes care of himself, etc. if he needs assistance during treatment. But since we aren't talking it isn't happening. UGH! Hopefullly, it will be all peachy and I am wanting us to be overly prepared.......very stressful. As for me and the baby. It is very stressful. I keep getting stomach pains and am so tired and get headaches myself.

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Yes, of course it is very stressful for my dad.

But I was talking specifically about my struggles and asking people for their advice on how their deal with their personal stress regarding a member cancer because this was the family members / caregivers board. If I was on the general board where people were generally talking about NSLC, etc. then you would see a whole long thing about my dad and my concern about his stress.

I don't know if you have someone in your life with cancer but sometimes you need to talk about how the fam member or caregiver is feeling and how hard it is for us. It really is horrible to hear such scary things about a parent/love one/friend. And sometimes it helps to talk to other people about those feelings, especially with others that understand what it feels like.

So, yes, I care very much that my dad is stressed out. But I needed to hear some reassuring words from others who have gone through the same thing, otherwise I can't be strong for him and can't think straight myself. (and I really am stressed out and my doctors are worried that if my blood pressure and stress level doesn't come down I might lose the baby.)

So, yes I was focused on me because I needed help. Sorry if that was selfish.

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Jennifer,

Cancer patient here....just some words on your perceived selfishness - you NEED to keep some of that. I am sure your father does not want you to sacrifice your health or his grandchild due to stress - you need to remember to take care of yourself, as well.

It IS a stressful (and scary) time for your father. YOU are indirectly touched by the fear, and it may actually be harder for you - Dear Old Dad KNOWS how he feels on the inside... Dad knows when he feels good - fatigue from radiation is not an instant side effect. Unfortunately (or fortunately), you don't live in your father's head and do not have the inside scoop on his emotional and physical barometer... You have to read the signs and second guess and it's VERY stressful...

My brother and I hadn't talked for some time prior to my diagnosis (and the reason behind THAT is still around, hasn't been dealt with)...but I called him, told him to go to his bedroom, shut the door and sit down, I had something to tell him... Do what it takes to get your sister's attention and work this out. Deal with the other crap later... You do need to deal with the situation at hand, and Dad needs both of you.

Keep yourself in the know with treatments and side effects (and come here for advice on what REALLY happens, not just the spiel from the doctor) and help Dad out. It may relieve some of your stress to be more informed...

Wishing you a %*$&ing break!

Becky

aka Snowflake

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GOt back from my baby doctor and they are running tests on me because there is a "significant" amount of blood in my urine. Lovely. Concerned that I may miscarry or go into premature labor........good news is my blood pressure is down..

Wished my dad good luck on his treatments. Figured he was going to be to stressed out today and that if I chatted it might be less stressful but at the same time he would know I cared.

Thanks for the words of advice Snowflake. :) It is very scary because you don't know what your family member is thinking and don't want to be scary or negative but you can't tell if they really know what is going on or not.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Jennifer,

Your story hit close to home with me, because I was also pregnant with my first child when my mother was diagnosed with Extensive small cell lung cancer and given 9 months to live. I was 7 months pregnant when she was diagnosed in May. I had to readjust my "take charge" attitude and really learn to calm down for my health and the health of my baby. I ended up going to the doctor as well for anxiety attacks and was worried I might go into labor prematurely. My doctor offered me anti-depressents that are safe for pregnant women - I didn't take them, but that may be an option for you.

The good news is, my son is now 4 months old and I think that he has been a real blessing to my mom and dad, their first grandchild. I think it gives her something a little bit more to live for.

We can't "control" everything that happens in life, we have to let go of things that are out of our control and just make the most of everyday. Congratulations on your pregnancy, motherhood is wonderful! God Bless.

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Jennifer -

Sorry you had to defend yourself here earlier - that's not what we're about here.

And I can say that with the knowledge of having been the one WITH cancer, while at the SAME time having to take part in caring for my mother with advanced Parkinsons.

It hurt immensely not to have her supportting ME and all I was going thru (just because she's on such strong drugs she's in an bad mental state), on top of putting demands on ME to take care of HER while I was going thru my treatments.

Well, I had to sit down and make some tough decisions.

And, yes, some of them appear(ed) selfish to some people - other people, the ones who care most about me fully understand.

I told my mom and older sister (only other sibbling and we DO get along - but she's determined to keep her at home as long as possible, no matter what else anyone else has to sacrifice) what I was willing to do to help with my mom's care. SPECIFICALLY - set up a schedule. Discussed a live-in nurse (money's not a problem), but my sister insists on caring a heavy daily load.

I felt guilty for saying I would only do so much - my sister said she understood, after all I've been thru. We talked over and over about the live in nurse, but she continues to carry the load. I finally realized I can't MAKE her define the bounderies for her OWN life. If this is what she chooses to do, I can't change it. I can only change MY life - whatever that may be.

What I'm getting at is that in approaching your father's illness and your sister's issues and your pregnancy, you're gonna just have to lay down the law of what you WILL and WON'T do - and it's NOT selfish.

Hugs and prayers,

SandyS

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Jennifer,

One more thing that I don't see mentioned here. If your Father is going through radiation treatments you need to check with your OB about how safe it is for you to spend time with your Father and under what circumstances. Not trying to frighten you, but there are things you should be aware of if you are pregnant and in close physical proximity to someone who is either undergoing radiation treatments, or undergoing certain radiologic diagnostic procedures. Hoping that things are easing for ALL of you.

Fay A.

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There's NOTHING selfish about your post. You were right in replying to "guest" about

..."But I was talking specifically about my struggles....this is the family members forum...."

You vent all you need to here. You're in the right place. Cancer effects everyone in the family and we all have to find a balance between helping those we love and not going out of our minds. When we love them so much, and feel as though we are powerless to help, add to that the struggles of our personal lives, it can be SO overwhelming.

I'm praying for you and your family. Keep us posted. And welcome to the board.

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Jennifer, you need to support your father, however as Fay A. mentioned, you most likely shouldnt be around your father if he is taking radiation and you pregnant.

You need to force yourself and the situation on your sister and make sure she assumes some of the responsibilities. I cannot understand why she would be so angry not to help her own father. I am sorry that you have to deal with this kind of pain from your Fathers diagnosis then added stress from your sister....

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Jennifer, do you have a minister that could perhaps contact your sister and hopefully get her to understand the need to pull together? Does your father have any friends who could stay with him or help dive, cook, etc? If he goes to church or a church someone in your family is a member of would probably have a lot of people to help out. Contact a counsler from the hospital, or hospice for advice. My Mom was 76 when she started chemo and radiation and it is very tough and he will need help. There is no way my mom could have done it without me. You have to take care of your baby and this is going to be real tough on you, physically, emotionally. Maybe some of the above suggestions will help you? take care.

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Hi Jenny, I don't post much, but I saw your post and had to reply. I can really understand where you are coming from. My mom has stage IV. adenocarcinoma and like you - I am also pregnant. I am currently 7 months pregnant with my second child and I don't have to tell you how stressful it is. This pregnancy was unplanned (my older child is only 11 months old) and we are in the process of building a new house, which makes things additionally stressful.

Anyway, I'm sorry to ramble on about myself - that wasn't my intention. Unfortunately, I don't know that I have any advice for you. My mom was diagnosed in April and this has been the most difficult thing I have ever been through. The best advice I can give is to take care of yourself in whatever way you can. Get counseling if you need to and consider anti-depressants if you are offered them (I am taking Celexa and it has been safe and effective). You aren't being selfish at all - remember, that you can't take care of anybody else if you fall apart. And you need to concentrate on that little baby because he/she needs you.

BTW - I see you are going through the Mayo Clinic. Which one are you going through? The reason I ask is because we are going through the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (we are fortunate to live in the area). I would be happy to recommend a good dr. if you are interested.

Hugs to you, I know this is hard.

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