Richard Perry Posted December 18, 2008 Share Posted December 18, 2008 In September 2003, I was given a chest X-ray during a yearly physical. I had no symptoms, no cough or pain or fatiigue. I felt fine. My doc called to say that there was a suspicious mass. Next day, a CT scan confirmed and I was sent to a surgeon at a Cancer Center. A mediastinoscopy and biopsy showed a tumor with some lymph involvement, and I was told I had Stage IIIA nsclc. The treatment was chemo and radiation, which did shrink the tumor, which was removed in a lobectomy in December 2003. More chemo followed in early 2004. All was fine until a metastasis was dicovered in August 2004, a tumor in an adrenal gland. I was treated with more chemo, but there was no change. In December 2004 I started on Tarceva. In February 2005 my doctors happily told me that the tumor had 'died.' Although I had been told that surgery would not normally be done on a metastatic site, the adrenal tumor was removed in June 2005. Since then I've had CT or PET/CT scans and blood tests at 3 month intervals (now 6 months), with no recurrence and today I'm as healthy as ever, 5 years 3/12 months after diagnosis. I think that the Tarceva was the key. I was on it for 3 years, longer than most, I think. I had skin problems including pretty severe acne, dryness, eye infections, and a frequent upset stomach. In the third year, these effects caused a bleeding ulcer, which was repaired with arthrocopic surgery in 2007. I might have stayed on Tarceva, but eventually I couldn't tolerate it. We were convinced that it had done its job. I feel blessed to have had this experience. I was happy to find that I was able to enjoy life throughout, and with an increased appreciation for every day. That in itself was very comforting. I enjoyed wonderful support during my treatment from family, and my relationships are stronger than ever. I'm convinced that it was much harder on those around me. I feel for those less fortunate, most of the victims of lung cancer. There are so many issues involved. I hope that there will be increased research and improved treatments. I resist the idea that we survivors are heroes. The focus should be on those less lucky. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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