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My email says Sister Sue, but my name is Joyce. My dad always used to call me Sister Sue, like this "Now listen here Sister Sue...." to tease me when I was young. My dad died of emphysema complications in 1985. I still miss him everyday.

I am a never smoker aged 55 who has always lived a healthy lifestyle. Married for 30 years to a great guy, Allen. Three children, Miranda age 29, Megann age 25, Ryan age 22. No grandchildren yet, but I am going to fight to stay here until I see them!

Anyway I have already posted on here to introduce myself, not knowing if I would remain a permanent resident, not knowing what was happening to me at all after the big diagnosis. But I have received so much comfort and knowledge from your life and cancer experiences, I am feeling more at home and like one of the family. And if anyone can be reassured like I have been by your words, I will feel like my time is well spent.


Dec 2007- heartburn and stomach problems after making (and eating alot) of annual Christmas mint sandwiches. Started taking over counter meds. I thought I probably had acid reflux like my brothers, who both have hiatal hernias. Upset subsides for the most part. Trying to be very careful about not eating after 7pm, no caffeine, no chocolate, no peppermint, small meals.

Apr 2008- noticed that upon coughing hard or sneezing, I had a dull pain in the middle of my chest, just to the right of center. I thought it was possibly an erosion from acid reflux.

May 2008- went on trip of a lifetime to Europe. Determined to see my PCP upon my return if sensation in my chest didn't go away.

June 2008- dull pain intermittant upon coughing or sneezing.

June 5, 2008- saw PCP. She did blood tests, nothing wrong. Ordered ultrasound, thinking maybe pain was from gall bladder. Ultrasound detected nothing unusual. She advised me to go back on full treatment of Prilosec. Dull pain stopped occurring.

October, 2008- started dry cough. Tried over the counter meds, coughing got worse.

October 31-saw PCP again. Started me on Advair and Nexium.

Dec 2008-cough subsided.

Jan 2009-noticed shortness of breath on climbing stairs at home.

Feb 10, 2009-saw PCP to report SOB. Did EKG to check heart, heart is "fabulous". Had chest xray, saw huge shadows on right side.

Feb 12, 2009- PCP called, told me to schedule CT scan, said radiologist reviewed xray and saw something, fluid or infection. Told me not to look on internet because it would scare me to death. Of course I did anyway.

Feb 20, 2009- CT scan

Feb 25, 2009- PCP called to inform me of appointment with pulmonologist. She still did not think cancer, but said worst case cancer, best case, an infection.

Feb 27, 2009-Saw pulmonologist and reviewed CT scan. Report also showed hiatal hernia. Pretty rough. Nothing about infection, just cancer. Scheduled for bronchoscopy on March 3, results on March 6.

March 3, 2009- bronchoscopy. Pulmonologist brought pictures to recovery area, shows right bronchial tubes nearly blocked. No bedside manner--he just states, it is what we thought-cancer.

March 6, 2009-My husband and I saw pulmonologist expecting to get results of bronch. Pulmonologist apologizes that lab messed up testing, staining of cells. Must redo bronchoscopy.

March 9, 2009-Second bronch.

March 10, 2009-PET scan.

March 11, 2009- Pulmonologist calls at 7pm to tell me in advance of appt with oncologist that it is NSCLC adenocarcinoma, and it is in my chest, stomach, neck and liver. Didn't sleep at all that night. Definitely won't be seeing that doctor again.

March 12, 2009-Met with oncologist. Showed us PET scan, areas lighting up in right lung, lymph nodes in chest, stomach, neck. He tells us that surgery is not an option, he will treat with chemotherapy. He spent 1-1/2 hours with us, diagramming the whole situation and repeating everything 3 times. Explains different chemos, biological Avastin, and thereafter treatment with biological Tarceva. He says we will reassess after 2 years. I really trust and like him from this first appointment.

March 20, 2009- First treatment with Carboplatin/Alimta plus Avastin. First received Aloxi and Dexamethazone via IV. Side effects first two nights I felt like something inside my chest was popping. Couldn't sleep. Bit the inside of my mouth. Queasiness on morning of 4 and 5th days. Took Compazine and it went away. I was late to work for 2 days but continued to work each day. Mouth sores were pretty bad. My gums were very sore too.

April 10, 2009- second treatment. Advised to take Ativan before bed on first and second nights. It does the trick to help me stay asleep. No mouth sores this time. Queasiness only on 4th and 5th days.

April 28, 2009- chest xray

May 1, 2009- reviewed xray with onc. Substantial shrinkage. I can actually see my diaphragm instead of a cloud of black. I can now sleep on my side and back without feeling like air is blocked. Third treatment. Same as before. By the 10th day, I feel fabulous.

May 21- tomorrow will be 4th treatment, if all looks good, this may be the last treatment. Will see onc at the same time for CBC. CT scan and PET scan scheduled for May 26. Will see onc on June 1st for results.

I feel like I have come to terms with my diagnosis, but I am not giving up by any means. I have a lot of faith in my Father in Heaven that he is aware of me and my struggle and is there to help me with my burden. I don't believe this disease will shorten my life by one day of the time he and I agreed upon before I left his presence. I continue to work each day, and being busy is good for me.

All the best to all of you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Joyce, It's 4 am in the morning and I've been up for hours. Didn't take that Ativan late enough last night and the fourth day of steroids around my Monday treatment got to me.

I saw your May 21 post that was not responded to. It's been a slow couple of weeks on the site. Glad to hear you've come to terms with your dx and your treatments are going fairly well. Hope you continue to feel o.k. Stay on the boards or pm me. Things will pick up again. They always do.

Judy in Key West

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Hi Joyce. I'm glad Judy caught your post and responded because I had missed it earlier myself. It seems that it took a while for you to finally get your dx and to where youare today. Many of us have been in that exact same place, so we understand are are here to listen, help, and prop you up if needed.

I just wanted to say 'hello' and encourage you to stick around with us here. We 'get' it and sometimes it's just a good feeling knowing there are folks out 'there' somewhere for us all.


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Hi Joyce - your nickname from your dad made me smile - my husband and I always call our daughter (13) Missy Moo (not quite as endearing as Sister Sue) and while she sometimes gives us the eyeball roll when we say it, we know deep down she doesn't mind at all.

Wow, what a journey you have had. It all seemed so benign - who doesn't have acid reflux at one time or another. I am so sorry that it brought you to a lung cancer diagnosis. I am glad you got rid of the insensitive clod who gave you your diagnosis and then didn't have the decency to let the oncologist give you the details - grrr!!

It sounds as though you have much to fight for (future grandchildren) and your own family. Welcome to this "family" and I look forward to getting to know you.


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Hi, Joyce, I responded to your first post a few weeks ago. I'm glad you're finding this group to be helpful, and especially glad you're doing so well on treatment.

You've developed an excellent chronological history of your cancer journey, and much of that would be handy to have in a "signature/profile" which automatically attaches to the bottom of every message you post. Here's how to do that:

Click on Profile above, scroll down to the Signature block, enter/update (or copy-paste) your information, scroll down further, ensure Always attach my signature is marked Yes, and click Submit at the very bottom.


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Hi Joyce. I must have missed your earlier post as well. I want to wish you a warm welcome to this site. I have found many friends, support and information here. I wish you the best with treatments and hope to get to know you better on the boards. Take care


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  • 1 month later...

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