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Whelp....it's stage 4


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Got the official stage yesterday. The doctor said it was stage 4. I was thinking 3B. But.......this is the hand I've been dealt. He said it is 4 because it is in both lungs and the lymph nodes. I am going in Monday for another CT scan, a MRI, a bone scan and an EKG. He wants to make sure that it has not spread to my brain or bones. Right now I am scheduled for clinical trial treatment of either: Taxol + Carboplatin every 3 weeks for 6 treatments "OR" Taxol, Gemzar and Avastin once a week, 3 weeks on, one week off. I don't have the number of treatments in my notes so I'm not sure how long it would last. The nurse said they are agressive treatments. I am going to UAB in Birmingham Alabama, at the Kirkland Center. My Doctor is Francisco Robert (Vizcarrondo). Has anyone ever heard of him?? He not the warmest person I've ever met but he spent all the time I felt I needed and answered all my questions so that I understood everything (at least I think I did) my family got pretty much the same impression. As he was leaving he turned to my sister and told her that because of all the cancer in my family (fathers side) and in particular we've had several family members with lung cancer that it appears that we may be genecially pre-disposed to it. (sorry for the bad spelling) My sister is the smart one in the family. She is the oldest (by 5 years for me) and never smoked like me and my brother did. Well..anyway has anyone heard of these chemo combos?? This Doctor?? Any advice? UAB Kirkland Center is suspose to be a pretty good place, is a "Comprehensive Cancer Center" ranked in the Top 100 by US News and World Report. I'm kind of scared and still very hopeful. Right now I am taking a deep breath, drinking a glass of wine and searching, searching for info. Thanks for all the support you guys have given me so far.....I don't know if I would be so hopeful without it. I hope everyone is well.

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Oh damn. There, I said it, again.

I am sorry to hear that your diagnosis is Stage IV. I guess the good part is that you can skip surgery. It's probably too early for the sick sense of humor that develops around here. I don't know your medical facility or doctor, or even that particular chemo combo.

Great time to check out GRACE - Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education. Here's the link to a post on chemo by one of the oncologist that offers their expertise. Dr. Weiss is travelling at this time, but if you have questions, one or two of the other doctors are amazing at responding quickly - often within hours, but it depends on the time difference and their schedules.

http://cancergrace.org/lung/2010/04/16/ ... ced-nsclc/

There was also a Discovery Channel continuing medical education program last Saturday - and this - and the program is available on line.

Be kind to yourself, it sounds like you have some family and friends you can rely on? Get your support ready - and I hope you are one of those excellent responders who don't even slow down thru chemotherapy.


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Don't know the doctor or facility as I'm from Michigan. But I do know about being pre-disposed to getting cancer. Same in my family. Four with lung cancer, three with breast cancer, and two with brain cancer. So I understand.

It is common to combine chemo treatments. I did the carbo/taxol combo. Be ready to fight for you have a challenge ahead of you. Make sure they give you plenty anti-nausea meds, and pain meds. And stay on top of the constipation! That can be a problem. Don't let it get to that point.

Hugs. Wishing you the best.

Judy in MI

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Steff, I can relate to when you got that 4. A pulmonologist with a nice so great bedside manner responded to a comment I made pre dx. I said I was sure it was probably a 1 or 2 and he blurted, of course not, with a pleural effusion, it's at least a 3 or 4. Just flattened me right out.

Don't know what to tell you but I started on 6 rounds of Carboplatin, Taxol and Avastin. That was almost three years ago that I started them. At the time, one chemo nurse said "They are giving you the big guns." It's not walk in the park but the anti-naseau meds they have now are good. I'm prone to bouts of naseau and still had some. They gave me a pill for "as needed" that started with a "P." If I had to do it now, I'd ask for a script for Zofran. It really kicks naseau without putting me to sleep.

Hang in there. There are many of us 3s and 4s still around. I started a thread of just us "advanced" survivors awhile back. If you haven't seen it already, I'll try to dig it up.

Judy in KW

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Thank you all so much for the support. I am scared but also ready to fight harder than I ever have before. My family needs me around, at least for a couple more years :lol: I have been joining several groups and posting all over the place. I am even on at lunch time from work!!!!! I do have a strong support network and am so grateful for all my blessings. Ned, I just read your update to your story and am so happy for your good news!! I checked out the GRACE site, joined and even posted a bit about my self, looking for more input. Cyber hugs!!!

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always fight back and the cancer can never win that way!!! IF Ya sit back and let it take control you lose and thats bad place to be! We never really knew what stage and did not really worry about it that much we just kept fighting and living each day to the fullest!!

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Steph--those chemo combinations are both standard first line treatments. Mom did the carbo/taxol (one treatment every three weeks) for her first line and handled it very well. Her primary shrunk significantly and went to sleep for 18 months! She did four threatments and didn't have any more chemo for 18 months. She felt great on the day of the treatment and pratty good the day after. Then days 3,4,5, would be the days she felt very tired and achy. She didn't have any problems with nausea, but did lose her hair (that's the taxol). That was probably harder on her than the physical effects of the chemo. It's a good idea to get a wig before you lose your hair so you can have the best chance at matching color and style. Most people had no idea she was wearing a wig until she told them.

One thing you might want to explore, especially if you do the weekly treatments. It is possible to see the doctors at UAB for your scans and follow-ups but have the chemo treatments in Montgomery.

Let us know what you find from the additional scans.


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