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first lung, now bone....


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I know this is actually the introduce yourself posting spot -- which I have done earlier... but I was unsure where to post -- I am sadly insecure on websites...

My question is:

My mother, 58, lung cancer diagnosed in April... it moved to her bones... stage four non small cell... She has taken the six chemo treatments well -- and now we are deciding what's next.

Today is actually her sixth.... she will continue with avastin every three weeks, for as long as she can take it. She seems to be well -- she gained weight during the process, she has good coloring, she's not coughing as she was seven months ago...

But the pain is horrible. She has some tumors on her lower spine, and cancer spots all over her bones... but the pain is on her right side, her leg goes numb, she has a hard time walking.... and everyone says "oh, the bones... that's the most painfully horrific experience"

The doc in chicago suggested radiate the spine first to get rid of the pain, the doc in dubuque said chemo first, meds to deal with the pain.... I agreed with Chicago, my dad agreed with Dubuque... the meds have been a roller coaster -- at times she is incoherent, she is forgetful, and the dosage keeps growing.

Now that we shall finally start the radiation to her lower spine, does this mean that she'll be able to have less meds and the pain won't be so bad -- or is how she is now, the best she'll be...

ALSO - she has developed quite the bloated abdomin... it looks as if she is pregnant... someone mentioned that could be fluid building and we should have a sonogram to check -- is it just the steroids making bloat -- when i mention it to the doctor he askes if she is "regular" and she is....

thank you for all of your support during these months, I really appreciate it. And sorry for leaving this here in the intro section...

johnny cubert

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That's ok, Johnny. If somebody doesn't want it here, they'll move it someplace else. The NSCLC board is a good one for these kinds of questions.

I'm sorry that your mother is in such pain. It sounds just awful. I'm sorry but I don't have any answers to your questions. Somebody else probably will.


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Hi Johnny,

So sorry to hear about your moms pain, I just hate to hear that.

I have had a few bone mets radiated that we causing me pain. I was given 10 doses to the mets in my spine (t12) and pelvis (ischuim bone). My pain was relieved about 3 weeks after the radiation started.

When I initially researched radiation to the bone, I found that alot of the treatment depends on the locatiion of the met. Sometimes the radiation can hit other areas beside the bone and cause more problems. Hopefully after a closer look her doc will be able to do a little radiation to eliminate some of the pain.

I hope that your mom receives some relief soon from her pain and that better days are ahead.


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Hi Johnny,

I did move your post ONLY because I want you to get the MOST traffic and information that will help you with your questions. I think this forum will serve you well with what your asking. :wink:

It sounds like they are offering radiation for comfort and pain reasons. That isn't uncommon. I'm sorry to hear your mom is having so much pain. Please talk to her doctor's about this pain issue. Do all you can to keep her pain free and comfortable.

It is not uncommon for lung cancer to spread to the bone. I hope your mom has some relief from the radiation.

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Hi Johnny. Good to hear from you. I have mets in my spine and it was terribly painful. I had 2 huge blasts of radiation which made the pain worse briefly but it has improved since then, improved but not gone. I am on all sorts of pain meds but I actually think advil is the most effective. If she has mets to the bones I am not help with that pain as I don't have any, knock on wood. But, I did develop a nerve issue in my right leg as a result of the spine mets and/or radiation I have pressure in the spine causing a nerve issue. That pain was WAY worse and WAY different than the pain from spine mets. I had to have an MRI done to determine that it was a nerve issue versus more cancer. But once that was determined I was prescribed different meds for nerve pain that have given me tremendous relief. So, it might be worth following up with the doc on the possibility of a nerve issue or even a blood clot. Ask your mom is the pain in her calves is different.

There may also be a doctor who specializes in pain at your clinic. There is at mine but there seems to be a huge waiting list for his services and I haven't seen him yet.

Hope that helps somewhat and that others will come along and maybe give you some help with the bloating issue.


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Hi again. I remembered something else I wanted to add for your consideration. My medical oncologist has told me that too much radiation can eventually have a negative effect on the effectiveness of chemo. Not sure about the science behind that but I remember believing her when she explained it. Some radiation is okay obviously but they do try and balance how much. That may be why you are receiving different opinion.

Also, after the radiation to my spine I had to wait a number of weeks to start a new chemo regimen. Again some medical explanation of the body's response to the chemo when the big effects of radiation are kicking in. So if you opt for the radiation first scenario, then chemo might have to wait a number of weeks. That would give her time to get over the radiation and the body to recover to accept chemo better. A few weeks probably not all that big a deal in the grander scheme of things.

I have also noticed a difference in approach to spine radiation in Canada versus the states. Seems from this board that US opts for smaller treatments for a longer period. Versus I had 2 big blasts but same amount of radiation overall. Docs comment on that had something to do with money..I will say no more. So the suggested radiation plan may be over a number of weeks versus myself being done in two. My doc said it would have the same impact. So you may want to consider some discussion on how much total radiation and over what time period. That may impact your decision on chemo first if you have to wait too long in your mind.


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My mom also has stage IV NSCLC with mets to the spine at diagnosis. She received her radiation treatments first to control the pain and then they did her chemo. She was then stable for a full year in which she took no treatments. In May she started experiencing back pain again (she also has arthritis in her back so some back pain was a constant issue, but this got worse). A bone scan revealed that her spine mets were on the move and up and down her spine and in her ribs, hips and pelvis. She received more radiation (two doses over about a five week period). Then she took a quadramet treatment to relieve the bone pain. Her pain is a lot better now, but the side effects from these treatments were harder on her than during the first round of treatment and she is just now starting to feel good and get some energy back.

Mom also experienced swelling in her abdomin which the radiologist thinks was coming from her spine. The swelling is now subsiding. There is a limit to how much radiation they can do. Mom also gets a Zometa infusiion once a month to help strengthen her bones.

These are all things you can ask your radiologist about, but radiation usually does being about significant pain relief.

If you have any more questions, just ask.


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