Jump to content

New, and have questions!


Recommended Posts

Hi. My Dad just had a Bronchoscopy today. The doctor who did it said it is cancer, but we won't know what type of lung cancer or what stage until the biopsy is complete. He is having a PET scan on Friday. We met with a pulmonologist last week who ordered the scope and scan. Dad went to the ER in January because he was having trouble breathing. After a CAT scan, they said he had a blood clot in each lung. Never found a cause for the clots. After 1 week in the hospital on Coumadin, they sent him home.

All was great until this summer. Dad coughed up a little muscus with a tiny bit of blood in it. It happened twice in a week. He had a little trouble breathing and went to the ER. The doctor said his coughing up blood was from his Coumadin and that it was normal. After his breathing was fine, they sent him home.

I told my parents that coughing up blood isn't normal under any circumstances, and told them to get him checked out. They are older and trusted the doctors even though I asked them to get a third opinion.

A few weeks later, he began to cough up blood again, more and more often. His family doctor sent him for a CAT scan on August 27th and said "It could be cancer." I got a copy of the scan and had a friend, who is a radiologist, read it. He said it's cancer. He has a mass in his lower lung on one side that is under one inch and a mass in the other lung in the upper lobe. This mass is just over one inch and is squeezing the blood vessel right at his airway. This is the cause of the blood in the mucus.

On September 9th we met the pulmonologist and went over his CAT scan from January and the newest one. He said it was cancer, but we wouldn't know what type or stage until he has his scope and PET scan. Dad has enlarged lymph nodes which could be from an illness he had years ago that left calcium in the nodes, or something like that.

We'll meet with the pulmonologist on Sept. 21st to go over the biopsy and PET scan results.

I did a lot of research before we met with Dad's pulmonologist and knew what tests, etc. he would probably order. I understood most of the what was talked about at this appointment. I had a ton of questions and the doctor answered them all. The doctor and I didn most of the talking while my parents sat and listened. I have been trying to prepare for questions to ask when we find out what type of LC and the stage and where we go from there, but I am overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin. Mostly because it depends on if it's SCLC or NSLC or ift's in the lymph nodes, where it's at,etc.

I would be so grateful for any questions you think we need to ask when we find out what we are dealing with. From his stay in the hospital in January, we know he has a strong, good heart and the doc today said other than the two masses, his lungs look great. He is active and is just a positive person. I pray that all of these help with the fight he has ahead of him.

Thank you so much for any advice!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lisa,

It's pretty late tonight and time for some sleep, but welcome. You have already been instrumental in assisting your folks - sorry you had to do that.

With your Dad's history, I might try to hold onto the thought that it isn't cancer until the biopsy says it is cancer (though the doc probably has good reason for his comment.) In the meantime, you are doing a great job becoming informed, advocating (and, no doubt, worrying.)

For some basic, but medically informed, information on the types of lung cancer and the typical treatments, I recommend checking out www.cancergrace.org It is a doctor mediated site - you can ask general and semi-specific questions and get responses from doctors as well as caregivers and survivors. There is also a lot of archival information on what you may be looking for. Don't hesitate to post a general question if you have trouble locating the information. The moderators and docs are pretty great about posting links to the good stuff. Soon, the site will be revised to be more user friendly.

Depending on your Dad's age, performance status (how good of shape he is in, lung capacity, etc.), type of cancer and stage, the treatment will vary from curative to treatable. Treatable can mean years (we have double digit folks here) of living with a good quality of life. Of course, cure is even better!

I imagine your folks are in shock. You may find that they don't really ever understand what you have accomplished on their behalf, they may not thank you, they may be angry, even with you. Don't lose sight of where this is all coming from - your concern is out of love, their anger is out of fear. Or they may snap out of it and be enormously grateful and loving. Families are like that.

Take care of yourself - the road ahead can be strenuous for the caregiver as well as the patient. I'll shut up now. And go get some sleep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lisa--you've already gotten some good advice and from your description it sounds like you are doing all the right things. being informed so you can be an effective advocate for your dad is the single best thing you can do for him right now.

In the beginning it seems like it takes forever to get definitive answers and to decide on a course of treatment. Once you have a treatment plan and you feel like you are doing something it becomes a little better. Once you know what kind of cancer it is and what stage they will have some ideas on how to treat. Don't pay attention to the statistics. Your dad is not a statistic and many, many people significantly outperform the statictics. Many people decide against treatment because they are afraid of it. My mom was terrified of chemo but found it much easier to tolerate than she expected. It's not fun, but it wasn't nearly as bad as she thought it would be. The same was true of radiation. When you have a course of treatment we can help you know what to prepare for and what to expect. Till then, we can just wait with you until you have more information. The waiting part stinks.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lisa, welcome to our home here. I'm with the others. Once you get the stage, type of cancer, and treatment options, come back here and we can help you. You will want to know the type of chemo(s) they recommend. We can then help you with side effects and advice on that.

The cancergrace.org site is a great tool as well. What you'll get here is hands on practical advice from those of us that have gone through this, and those of us that have had to be caregivers. I've been both.

Take care,

Judy in MI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Lisa, welcome to LCSC! I can see you've learned a lot in the past few days and weeks, more than you ever wanted to know about lung cancer. You have a good grasp on the situation, and things should a lot clearer when you get the biopsy and PET results next week. Even if it turns out to be stage IV cancer, for which systemic (whole body) chemo is the indicated treatment, it might be possible to use carefully targeted radiation on the tumor which is pressing on the blood vessel and airway. If so, this could resolve an immediate (and perhaps critical) local problem even though it would have no effect on the overall course of the disease — your dad would need chemo for that.

I second ts's suggestion to visit cancergrace.org (GRACE, Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education). If you use the same username there as here, as most of us "dual citizens" do, we'll recoginize you right away. I suggest you use part of your reading time over the next few days to read some of the excellent (and very current) articles there. From the GRACE home page, use the "Find Info About" dropdown, select "Lung Cancer," then click the "Subject Archives" link in the right column.

Best wishes and Aloha,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

THANK YOU , THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who replied to my post. It gave me so much comfort and a little relief to know I am not alone in this. It's overwheming to say the least. I feel better now going into Dad's appointment on Tuesday.

I am blessed that my Dad is very posititve and not letting this consume him. My mom is anxious, but staying positive as well. They thanked me so many times for coming along to his appointment and for all the research, questions I had for the doctor, and helping them navigate through this. It's not easy for me since I live in another state and have a family of my own, but I only have 1 Dad and wouldn't have it any other way.

Thank you again for making me feel so welcome here! I am very grateful.

Much love, Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.