Jump to content

New to these Boards


Dulcinea

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone - I am newly diagnosed - adenocarcinoma, 1 tumor in the lower lobe of the left lung. Diagnosed on 9/9, I had a thoracotomy on 10/6.

I return to work on 10/31, though working from home for a month, have a follow up with the surgeon on 11/2, meet with the oncologist for some baseline testing on 11/14, and start chemo on 11/17.

They’re putting me on a regimen of Cisplatin and Gemcitabine, in 21 day cycles. Both meds on day 1, and Gemzar on day 8.

I also qualify for a clinical trial of Bevacizumab (also known as Avastin), which prohibits the growth of new blood vessels to any existing tumors.

my oncologist is pretty emphatic that at this moment in time, there is no cancer in my body - that they removed it all.

but i'm one scared puppy. i don't know what to expect (except the worst, of course) with chemo, i'm a single mom, i'm scared of the cancer reappearing... my kids are scared, i'm scared, and it's really hard to have to be brave all the time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Dulcinea!

Welcome here. It sounds like you have a great plan in place! You've already had the surgery. That's a big plus. The fact that they could operate and remove it is huge. Same with me. Upper left lobe, and they removed it and told me the cancer was gone. They did recommend the chemo, "just to make sure" and I willingly took it because I needed to make sure!

Chemo was not easy for me, but I got through it. One treatment at a time. It was okay. I even got to take two weeks off in the middle of treatment to go on a vacation to Alaska. We had a fabulous time.

They are pretty good about making sure you are comfortable with pain medications if needed, nausea meds, and make sure you don't get constipated. Be sure to stay on top of that, as most of us suffered, not knowing about that little issue.

Eat foods that taste good. If they don't taste good, eat them anyway, you need your strength.

I want to assure you that everything is going to be okay. Come here and write when you are scared or having other issues, and we'll be here to encourage you through it.

Judy in MI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi and Welcome - although I am sorry you find yourself here. I certainly agree with JudyMI that it appears you have a really good plan in place. I would not worry too much about the chemo until you see how well you do. We are all different and react differently to the various chemo drugs. This is a great place to come with any questions about side effects, etc. Many of us have been on the same chemo drugs and have figured out ways to deal with the various side effects.

You may also want to check out cancergrace.org. This is a wonderful site. It was started by Dr. Howard West, a Seattle oncologist, and there are a number of doctors, as well as survivors and caregivers, who will answer questions. Of course they cannot give specific medical advice, but can respond in general to many issues and concerns.

Best of luck and please keep us posted on how you are doing.

Diane

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes welcome. I will ask if you know what the staging is for your lung cancer? (Oops - I missed your signature and the 3A.)

There is good reason to go forward with adjuvant chemotherapy.

Avastin is not difficult for most patients. You've shown yourself to be interested in knowing more by posting here (it took me much longer to do that!) and I'd also highly recommend looking at some of the posts on adjuvant (after surgery) chemotherapy on cancergrace.org - it can really help in understanding why and when it is appropriate.

Be well, and take good care of yourself and the kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just added the signature line, once I worked out how to do it.

I've been crawling all over a couple of cancer sites since this whole thing came up - here's what i know, so far:

my cancer was staged as 3A. I had 1 nodule in the lower lobe of my left lung that, at surgery, was slightly larger than the 2.6x2.1 we had estimated from CT scan.

there was also 1 lymph node, in the same lobe, that came up 'hot' on the PET scan, hence the removal of the entire lobe.

Once they were in there, it was determined that the nodule was attached to the chest wall, which moved my staging from 2A to 3A - they removed the entire lobe, the portion of the chest wall, as well as lymph nodes 5, 6, 7, 9 in the mediastinal (?)

while the margins on the chest wall portion were extremely narrow, they were clear, as were all 4 of those central lymph nodes - so the determination was that they 'got it all'.

the chemo, as well as the clinical trial drugs, are to try to keep me cancer free - i get scared when i see 5-year survival rates...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, those statistics are pretty scary. What I can tell you is that they are out of date (not that current ones are incredibly better, but somewhat) and that they describe a huge population, not an individual.

If you are younger (that 70!), in good health, and without other medical conditions, the likelihood is that you will be to the far right on that chart. Think of it, some patients / survivors do very well. Would you bet on the 85 year old with emphysema, poor eating habits, who continues to smoke and has no support community or the young parent who wants to see her kids grow up, takes good care of herself, and has every reason in the world to believe that treatment will make a difference? I'm kind of blunt about all this - and I can't predict how your journey will go - neither can your medical team, but we do know that being able to get treatment is a big part of surviving lung cancer. So staying healthy is important, and so is staying strong. Get the support you need - it sounds like your medical team has a good handle on their part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks - and i do blunt pretty well, too.

reality is that i'm 53, and while i was a smoker for a long time, when i was diagnosed, i quit.

(wanna get a smoker to quit? tell 'em they have lung cancer)

and aside from this little detail of lung cancer, i'm ridiculously healthy - low blood pressure, low cholesterol, not even anemic - when i had the pulmonary function testing, prior to surgery, i came in at 95%.

so i started out really healthy - my dad was diagnosed, at 73, with pancreatic cancer - 5 year survival rate for that one is 4%.

december 1 will be 7 years, and he's still going pretty strong.

i want to be like him when i grow up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi again,

I think you have every reason to be like Dad when you grow up! You are informed and ready for the next steps. I was your age when I was diagnosed, and here I am going on year 5 and healthy.

Stay in touch with us! We have a fun post we do every day in the "Just for Fun - Off Topics" called that day's Air. So today would be Sunday's Air. Some of us post in there to get to know people's every day lives, and just to stay in touch as we've gotten to be pretty good friends here. I invite you to join us there. It's fun, can be a good place to just write, and get to know us.

MI Judy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dulcinea, this is the place to come to when you are scared. We get it! I'm 3b for over 4 yrs now. I was ten years older than you when dx'd but recall how the doctors kept walking around saying (but you are so healthy). I realize the importance of that now. Except for a couple of bumps in the road, I've managed to stay healthy and handle the chemo well. I feel for you being a single parent. How old are your kids? Hope they are an age that can help and support. Doing chemo, working and tending to kids could be a challenge but it sounds like you are strong and come from strong stock.

Keep us posted on how the chemo goes.

Judy in KW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Dulcinea. Welcome. Your case sounds similar to mine, except that mine really was 2A, with just one cancerous lymph node within the lobe they took.

I had the cisplatin and gemcitabine. I didn't tolerate it as well as many, and quit after three rounds.

The good news is that I've been cancer free for just short of four years now. Once you get that far along without a recurrence, your odds of remaining cancer free get a lot better, so hang in there. Here's wishing the best for you too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

i realized i had never followed up!

10/6 - i had the surgery. they removed the lobe with the tumor and the hot lymph node. it was attached with what looked like a string to the chest wall, upping the stage to IIIA. they removed a small portion of the chest wall, as well as mediastinal nodes 5, 7, 9 and 10.

pathology came back good - margins, while extremely narrow, were clear, as were all of the mediastinal lymph nodes.

4 rounds of chemo is next - cisplatin/gemzar, on 21-day cycles, and i qualified for a clinical trial with avastin, for which i was randomized into the group that gets it.

first part of chemo was last week - the 17th. all 3 drugs, 7 hours in the chemo suite. aside from some persistent nausea, for which i have 3 different scripts, i'm mostly ok. gemzar again on Friday, then wait out the rest of the 21 days.

watermelon is my best friend right about now - i can eat, i get fluids, it doesn't trigger the nausea.......

but so far, so good. been working from home since 10/31 (my doc thinks i'm crazy) and i go back into the office on 12/1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there!

I wanted to let you know that I had the same chemo combination you are on, and did ok. The cisplatin treatments got me down, but, like you, I continued to work through chemo. I guess on my days off I didn't do much more than hang out on the couch, but you will get through this.

I also quit smoking when diagnosed-and was in excellent health like you, except for that cancer thing.

I never had avastin but people who are on it don't seem to have major complaints.

Good luck to you, please don't pay attention to the statistics. I worried away too much of my life over them, and the truth is, they don't apply to everyone.

Keep us posted,

Cindy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thank you for this - you seem to be the closest to me in age, diagnosis, treatment and overall health - so this makes me feel better.

i just keep telling myself - i'm 25% of the way through.... i can do this!

yesterday, after chemo, my daughter and i even did some black friday shopping....... it was ok!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You CAN do this, and shopping yesterday is just one small sign that there is life after having been diagnosed with LC.

Keep posting and keep us posted on you. My very best wishes and prayers for your complete success!

KatieB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So glad you connnected with Cindy. It's so important to find similarities in survivors. No similarity in age etc here but that's good news--I'm a young 67 and still here lol. Good for you with the shopping. When I can do it, it always makes me feel like I'm stronger.

Judy in KW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is good the upper lymph nodes are clear.

My mom was IIIa, but she had a "skip" metastasis.

a Higher lymph node was positive (not sure the number but I think it was 5) but lower ones negative

Also good that the margins are clear.

I think that a systematic dissection is done now versus sampling which I think from some studies increased survival

Take care

John

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.

Guest
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.