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If you don't mind, I have some more questions.


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I went with my mother in law today to see the doctors at the U of Chicago. From what they can see so far, it appears that her cancer is non small cell and stage 2, maybe 3. She is scheduled for a PET scan this Friday and another CT this time of the chest, stomach and head on Sat. They said that the first CT is too old (it was done a month ago and only of the chest). She has an appointment next Wed with a Dr. Ferguson (thorasic surgeon). From what we heard today, she will need another test (I can't remember the name ) but he described it as a small incision at the base of the neck and a scope is incerted to remove part of the lymph node so that it can be looked at. Similar to a biopsy of the lymph node. This procedure hasn't been scheduled yet. I asked about seeing cancer in the ribs on the chest X-ray(someone mentioned that to my mil before but she couldn't remember who) and he said no. Right now, we're hopeful that surgery is possible.

They also said that she will need Chemo. If they do chemo before surgery, she will need two, three weeks apart.

If the wait until after surgery, she will need 3 or 4, again three weeks apart. If anyone can offer any advice, or suggestions about the procedures, surgery, or chemo, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Never feel ashamed to ask questions on here. A PET scan is very important as it can determine if there is any spread. You might want to ask if they have the new combined PET/CT machine, which is more superior in terms of pinpointing tumors in the body. Chemo should help to shrink the tumors to operable size.

If there are only a few tumors, you should try and see if your MIL is a candidate for RFA(radiofrequency ablation). It is not surgery, but a minimally-invasive technique where they use a needle to destroy the tumors using heat. I talked to the doctor around here who does it and he was extremely helpful and kind, and actually kept me on the phone for 10 minutes. He sounds like there aren't a whole lot of criteria that have to be met, as long as the tumors aren't too big and they're accessible. His name is Bruce Lin and he's at Rush-Copley in Aurora. Even if others say she's inoperable, RFA can be done. If I got cancer, I would look into this first and foremost. It is an alternative to major surgery, and although fairly new, more doctors are picking up on it.

As far as other Chicagoland hospitals are concerned, Rush-Presbyterian didn't have much to offer my mom except more chemo. U of C is ok and I would think they have a PET scan machine in there somewhere. Our problem with U of C was with the doctors' demeanors, but that should not stop anyone from seeking treatment there, especially since they're supposedly the most technologically advanced in Chicago. Northwestern Memorial is also good, and my co-worker's mom had lung surgery there too with Dr. Bloom.

If she chooses to undergo chemo, I would recommend the Block Medical Center in Evanston, because they give you chemo, and supplements to mitigate the bad side effects of chemo. Some people there don't even lose their hair. Before forewarned though, other doctors will not agree with taking supplements during chemo. They will say it might cancel out the effects of the chemo, but I know for a fact that they helped my mom recover faster. Dr. Mike De la Torre is the oncologist there and was the first one to cultivate hope in my mom and I. Also, Dr. Olak is a great lung surgeon at Lutheran General in Park Ridge. She operated on my mom when everyone else said no way jose.

You are right to seek multiple opinions. The best advice I can give you is that you need to go all over the place. We learned the hard way that it is a mistake to limit all your doctors to just one hospital, because closely-knit people will always agree with each other. It's your life [your MIL's], and you never know what another doctor has up his or her sleeve. Whatever you do, do not choose Edward Hospital in Naperville.

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Marlon, Thanks for the reply. It sounds like we must be very close to each other. I'm familiar with all of the places that you talked about.

I was pretty impressed with the bedside manner of the doctors that we met with Wed at U of C. This was my mother in law's first appointment there and they seemed very calming and reassuring. Up until last Wed, my only experience with U of C was in their pediatric departments. My daughter has been going there for a few years.

I asked why they don't have a PET scan and the doctor said that they do in the radiology dept but it isn't in use. I'm not sure why~no one trained, it's not hooked up yet....but when I asked, he just said "that's a VERY sore subject here. We're working on it" so I guess that the doctors are frustrated as well that they have to send patients to other facilities to get this test. The doctors seemed confident but she won't see the surgeon until next week. They seem to be moving much quicker than the doctors out here in the suburbs. It's already been 2 months since she had the "Abnormal" chest x-ray.

If you don't mind me asking, what kind of supplements is your mother taking?

I'm guessing that you must have had a horrible experience at Edward. One of my children was born there but that's the only experience that I have with them (besides a trip or two to the ER. With kids, that's expected I guess. :shock: )

We had a horrible experience at Childrens and will never step foot in that place again.

Thanks again for your time.

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The supplements are specially made by the Block Center. They ran us about $200 a month. They include all kinds of botanicals and what not, supposedly to try and make the chemo more effective, prevent metastasis, promote faster recovery, and require less hospitalizations.

I'm glad to hear U of C is working for you. I see their commercials all the time.

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