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Mom's Journey--Updated--Celebrated her 80th Birthday!

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This is the story of my mom, a beautiful brave lady who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer on January 5, 2007.

She responded very well to her first line of treatment and was off treatment for a full year before the latest round of mets.

11/06 76 year-old non-smoking Mom having pain in her back and trouble walking

12/06 Sent for CT and Bone scans

1/5/07 Dx NSCLC with mets to the spine.

1/8/07 Begins three weeks of radiation to the spine.

2/14/07 Oncologist reports that tumors to spine "killed."

2/15/07 1st Chemo--carboplatin/Taxol. Side effects minimal. Mostly 3 days bone pain from Neulasta shot.

2/25/07 Mom's 77th birthday. She spends it by going to a graveside service for my brother's father-in-law who died from NSCLC.

3/3/07 Hair loss begins. Is complete by 3/7.

3/8/07 Second round carboplatin/taxol. Again, worst side effects from the Neulasta. More tiredness.

3/29/07 Third round of chemo postposed in order to evaluate severe back pain. Test for blood clots in legs were negative. MRI for 3/30/07.

4/05/07 Saw oncologist. MRI shows compressions fractures but no evidence of cancer spread. Referred to spine doc for treatment. Chemo will resume 4/11 and 5/2 and then a new CT scan to check the chemo's progress.

4/11/07 Third round of chemo. Tired and achy--bone pain from the Neulasta shot. Otherwise tolerating the chemo with little to no nausea.

5/2/07 Fourth round of chemo. Tolerated well so far, but she reported a funny taste in her mouth for the first time last night. CT scan to check chemo's progress ordered for 5/16. Will gets results on 5/23. I plan on being in NC with her when she gets the results.

5/23/07 Scans showed shrinkage in the primary tumor from 3.2 cm to 2.3 cm. No new mets. Onc. gives Mom a three month break from chemo. Next scan in August.

7/12/07 Mom reports shortness of breath for the first time. She said it felt like her right lung wasn't working.

7/17/07 Regular visit to Onc. Bloodwork looks fine, next scan scheduled for 8/9. Results on 8/14.

8/9/07--3 month Ct scan.

8/14/07--Results--STABLE (or as the Dr. puts it "quiet.") Bone scan scheduled for 8/22 to make sure all mets are taken care of. If that is good she will have an additional 6 months of no chemo! WooHoo!

8/28/07--Results of bone scan show no new mets and old ones are inactive. Mammogram is clear. Referred to pain management for severe arthritis in back. Will see oncologist again in one month.

9/25/2007--Next scan scheduled for November 1. Still feeling good. Will undergo two procedures to relieve arthritis pain in back between now and the end of the year.

11/1/07--Three month scan.

11/12/07--Scan results--STABLE! There is no change in the tumor since the last scan (actually since May.)

1/2/08--Undergoes procedure to deaden nerves in her back to relive back pain.


2/06/08--Second procedure to relieve back pain.

2/12/08--Next set of scans. Results to follow the next week.

2/19/08--STABLE! Next scan in May.

2/25/2008--Mom celebrates her 78th birthday!

5/19/2008--3 month scan

5/23/2008--STABLE! Will undergo a bone scan on the 28th to confirm that back pain is from arthritis and not cancer.

5/30/2008--Bone scan showed new mets up and down her spine, in her hips, ribs and chest. This is devestating news, especially since she was just told she was stable a week ago.

6/4/2008--sees oncologist and is told they can't radiate all the spots but they will target the weight bearing areas in her hips and pelvis. Second line chemo will follow the radiation.

6/17/2008--begins the first of 14 radiation treatments. Here we go again. . .

6/26/2008--learns there is another met in the ball and socket joint of her hip/pelvis that is causing a lot of pain. Will begin a new round of radiation to that spot next week in addition to the rediation she is already taking. Chemo will be delayed until the radiation is finished. Celebrates her youngest granddaughter's 16th birthday!

7/2008--double radiation is hard on her and she is experiencing nausea and fatigue from the radiation.

7/7/2008--Has CT scan to determine the cause of swelling in her right abdomen. Shows primary still stable and no additional involvement. radiologists suspects the swelling is coming from her back. Will receive a Quadramet treatment on the 17th.

7/17/2008--Quadramet infusion. Had some nausea and vomiting afterwards. Reminded her that she has anti-nausea medication. Over the weekend she seems to be feeling better.

9/6/2008--Mom seems to be recovering from the radiation and the Quadramet. She is experiencing far less pain in her back, less nausea and her appetite is returning. She still experiences fatigue and is frustrated that she doesn't have more energy. She is pretty much able to maintian her normal activities, just slower. Will be scanned again in October/November.

10/24/2008--Saw oncologist on Thursday with new lower back pain. Bone scan and MRI ordered, will get results next week.

10/30/2008--Test results showed cancer on the move again, will start chemo again on 11/2.

11/2/2008--First chemo treatment uneventful. As before, the Neulasta produces the most discomfort with a couple of days of bone pain.

11/4/2008--Mom and Dad celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary with dinner out.

11/24/2008--Second chemo treatment. Met with the Dr. and found out that mom is also getting Avastin with the Carbo/Taxol. Hair loss began two weeks after first chemo and was complete by Thanksgiving. Reporting soreness in her mouth after second chemo. October scans showed that her progression was minimal, but he wanted to nip it before it progressed further. Next chemo 12/16/08.

12/16/2008--Third chemo. Went well, but is reporting some mouth soreness.

12/22/2008--Went to the Onc. for blood test and her platelets had dropped significantly. Was sent to the hospital to get two units of platelets. Will be tested again on the 28th and get CT scans on the 29th.

01/05/2009--TWO YEAR SURVIVOR! Got scan results today--STABLE! No growth in primary, mets appear to be gone. Will get two week break and three more rounds of chemo.

2/25/09--Celebrated 79th birthday!

03/09/2009--Gets last of 6 carbo/taxol/avastin treatments. Scan on 04/01.

04/07/09--Scan results--STABLE! Treatment break and next scan in July.

07/14/09--CT Scan shows significant pleural effusion. Scheduled to be rained on 7/21.

07/28/09--Effusion tested positive for malignancy. Lesions now seen in left lung as well as a 13mm lesion on the liver. Mom will begin chemo with Alimta on 8/3. Onc. also concerned about weight loss. Prescribed Megace to stimulate mom's appetite.

08/03/09--First Carbo/Alimta infusion. Had skin reaction when infusion began. Added Benedryl into infusion and continued with no ill effects. Neulasta shot on 8/4.

08/09--In hospital for 5 days from severe diarrhea and nausea.

09/09--Second Carbo/Alimta infusion, dosage reduced by 20%, very sick from diarrhea and nausea but no hospitalization.

10/09--Third Carbo/Alimta infusion at 50% of original dose. Tolerated much better.

11/02/09-Fourth Alinta infusion. Had severe reaction to the Carbo. No more Carbo for Mom!

11/17/09--3 month scan.

12/01/09--Both primary and nodule on her liver have grown. Almost constant cough is due to the cancer. Oncologist prescribes Tarceva.

12/14/09--Began Tarceva on the 10th. Broke out into the mother of all rashes. Onc. took her off Tarceva until Dec 26 when she will start back on 75 mg per day.

12/16/09--Starts lower dose of Tarceva

01/05/10--THREE YEAR Survivor!!!!! Lower dose of Tarceva is going well.

02/25/20--Mom celebrated her 80th birthday! She is doing amazingly well on Tarceva.

03/30/10--Mom got the results of her first scans after starting Tarceva. Primary tumor in right lung shrunk from 6 cm to 2.3 cm. Tumor in left lung no longer visible. Tumor on liver no longer visible. No fluid in lungs. Mom is feeling great and has more energy than she has since Dx.

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