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randii

My loved one has lung cancer

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Hello everyone,

I'm randi, and I found out that someone I care about with all my heart has lung cancer and he doesn't have the money to get treatment. I can't lose him. The idea of anything happening to him is unbearable. What do I do? How can I support that person? How should I feel towards his disease? I'm lost. I need someone to tell me what to do.

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Randi,

 

I am not sure exactly what to say...  I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer several weeks ago, which was a BIG shock.

 

For me, I've done a lot of reading, reflecting and most of all prayer.  Through that God has given me a unbelievable peace.  An unexplainable peace.  I am believing the God who made the heaven and the earth can also heal my body and make me whole again.

 

In addition, I've tried to "control the controllable".  I changed my lifestyle dramatically.  I have always been relatively healthy.  I was (and will be again) a marathon runner.  But I didn't eat like I should.  So, I have made dramatic changes in my diet.  I have gone to almost being a vegetarian with the exception of small amounts of chicken and fish.  I cut out the coffee, tea, sodas, etc.  I am trying to exercise as much as possible.  I can't run right now, but I am taking 2 - 3 mile walks a few times a week.  I feel much better since I changed my eating behaviors.

 

As for money to get treatment.  That's one area I have been blessed (at least at this point).  I am not sure what to tell you there, however this is a great place to get advice from others who might have a similar experience.  You might also want to reach out to local faith based organizations, which might be able to provide some kind of monetary/financial support.

 

With that said...  Know I am praying for you and your friend along with many other people who will read your post.  Encourage him to keep his head up and stay focused on the fight, whatever that fight might look like for him. 

 

Sincerely,

Marc

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I really appreciate the time you put in to write back. How did you deal with it? The fact that you have cancer? And how did you feel about it? Did you feel angry and like the world is turning against you?

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I wasn't angry...  It was a BIG (ok HUGE) shock.  I was a marathon runner and a husband and dad of 2 teenagers, so for where I am in life it was a bit of a reality check.

 

The morning after I was diagnosed I was laying in bed praying (probably crying a little) and I heard God's voice.  Some people might think that sounds crazy, but I did.  He said 3 words...  "Peace, Be Still".  I knew it was in the bible, but didn't know where and didn't really remember the story.  So, I jumped up, grabbed a bible and looked it up.  It was Mark 4:39.  Mark...  That was awesome.

 

I thought when Jesus said "Peace, be Still" he was telling the people to chill out, but no...  He was talking to the situation.  Jesus was on the water with the disciples and a bad storm had come up.  Jesus was sleeping and the disciples came and got him and said "do you not care we are about to die".  Jesus got up and said "do you have no faith?".  He then commanded the wind and the waves to stop and they did.  The disciples where in amazement.

 

At that point a BIG smile came on my face and a peace like I have never experienced before.  I knew I was going to be ok no matter the outcome.

 

I made a decision right then to live and live to the fullest.  I stopped researching Lung Cancer and started reading Stage 4 Lung Cancer Survivor stories.  By the way, there are ALOT of amazing stories out there of people who are living and have overcome their cancer. 

 

So, no...  I haven't had a bad minute.  I think I get on my wife's nerves a little as she can't figure out why I am walking on sunshine everyday considering my situation.  I just say "its a God thing" and smile.

 

In addition to how I feel, there have been many doors opened in this very short period.  I've had the opportunity to partner with an old friend from high school to work social media for cancer patient care package donation.  We will be making a HUGE donation the end of July to Texas Oncology.  I can't wait to overwhelm them with the care package.  They better find some storage :-).  I've also had the opportunity to share my story with a hundreds/thousands of people across the US.  I have a lot of great friends who attend large churches in a number of cities from Dallas to Charlotte to Cleveland to Minneapolis and beyond.  My story is getting out and people our reaching out for support, prayer, inspiration, to help and everything in between.

 

All I can say is...  Pick up your head...  Think BIG...  Get moving...  Life is short and there is a lot do...

 

On the medical side, I was found to have the ALK mutation.  I will begin taking Oral Chemo this week and I am believing (I have faith) it is going to work and work for a very long time.  I can't wait to post on this site I am NED (no evidence of disease).  And yes, I firmly believe I will get to post that.  I believe...

 

I am praying for you and your friend...  Let me know what I can do for you...

 

Marc

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You surely know how to make a person have faith again. Indeed faith is important. I am an atheist but I do have faith in the better good, and I do have faith that he's going to survive this, that we're going to get through this together and I have faith that the both of us are going to gain very important life long lessons from them. Thank you so much for replying and I can't wait to see the day you post that you are NED. I am an atheist, however if there is a God may he be with you all the way through out your treatment and make this easy on you. Again thank you very much.

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Hello Randii.....I am sorry to hear about your friend.  You said he doesn't have money for treatment.  Has he checked into some type of Medicaide perhaps?  There must be some type of resources that can help.  No treatment at all is not good.  Please keep us updated!

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Hi Randi...So very sorry to read of your loved one's diagnosis; I know what a shock that is. I wish I had some magic words to make it all better, but I haven't found them yet myself! As far as finances for treatment, my advice would to be to consult with his health care provider; they should have a social worker who can help with this part. I wish you all the best; a lot of people have beat this awful disease. I was diagnosed in August of last year & honestly thought I'd be dead by now, but I'm still alive & kicking! Take care of yourself, pace yourself...this will be a marathon & a rollercoaster. Best wishes & peaceful thoughts!

 

Ruthie

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Thank you so much for your kind words.

I'm trying as much as possible to make it better, but most of the time he's either in pain or coughing blood and and in a very bad mood and it makes me feel useless and hopeless at times. It sometimes make me think that he might not come out of it alive.

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I actually believe that this process is harder on the patient's loved ones than it is on the patient.It is a terrible feeling to want so badly to do something to fix this for them and to feel absolutely helpless and at a loss of what to do or where to start. It sounds to me as if you are doing all that is humanly possible; caring for and loving him. I don't know how you feel about support groups, but some find it helpful to talk to others in the same position. It breaks my heart to sense the terror & confusion in your words and I think it's natural for your mind to go to the worst case scenario at times, but there are many treatments available & more on the horizon. After the initial shock kind of wears off, it does get better. I also think that people react differently and you feel how you feel; I don't know that there is a "normal" way to deal with cancer. My family & I have found it helpful to try to be as open & honest about our feelings, which vary at times from terror to anger to determination to even laughter about things most people wouldn't find funny. I hope you have some supportive people in your life with which to share your feelings...this is always a good place to find people who really do understand. Cancer sucks for sure...please keep us posted and I hope you find your peace...don't be so hard on yourself;we are all only human, after all. You'll be in my thoughts. Hang in there, you'll find your way.

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I'm trying my best...I really am. However sharing my feelings about the matter isn't an option, I don't talk to him about it because I don't want him to feel that I'm getting hurt because of his condition or that it's causing me pain and confusion. On top of that no one knows about his condition and the 2 other people who know, it's like a taboo to talk about his condition and our feelings about it. That's the reason I came here. To find people who understand and to find people who can actually tell me what to do, and till now it's been a huge help. So thank you all very much I'm very grateful to you all.

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Hi Randii,

 

I'm very sorry to hear about your loved one's diagnosis. From the way you talk about him, it is clear that he will be receiving unconditional love and support from you. While medicine is important, love and support can also make a tremendous impact. As Marc mentioned above, faith and hope and a positive attitude can also make a world of difference.

 

You've come to the right place to connect with other survivors and caregivers. My family went through a similar situation when my uncle (who is also my godfather) was diagnosed with Stage IV ALK in September 2011. We were stunned and didn't see it coming. The best thing for us was finding LUNGevity Foundation, gaining access to invaluable resources so that we could learn what we dealing with, and connecting with others who were on a similar journey. My uncle is still with us, and he's been taking targeted therapy drugs to fight his specific mutation for over three years.

 

Here is a list of Caregiving Tips from LUNGevity's Caregiver Resource Center:

 

  1. A lung cancer diagnosis is a shock to everyone involved, and it takes time to adjust. Keep that in mind as you and your loved one settle into your new relationship.
  2. Learn as much as you can about your loved one's diagnosis and treatment options. The more you know, the more effective you'll be. See Lung Cancer 101 to get started—but take it slowly. You don't need to know everything at once.
  3. Try to keep a positive attitude and a sense of humor—it's beneficial to both you and the person you're caring for.

  4. Plan to spend time together outside of the illness, like going to a movie or spending time outdoors; it will remind both of you that you have a relationship separate from lung cancer.
  5. Have hope for the future; don't be afraid to talk about future plans.
  6. Participate actively in clinic visits. Take notes and ask questions. See Asking the Right Questions for printable lists you can bring with you to doctor visits.
  7. Encourage your loved one to engage in his or her usual activities as much as possible.
  8. Ask other people to help. Make up a list of activities that others can sign up for. You may find that friends and family members are eager to pitch in once you tell them specifically what you need.
  9. Seek out other lung cancer caregivers. It helps to talk to people who know first-hand what you're going through. LUNGevity's LifeLine Program can match you with a volunteer support partner.
  10. Know your limits and be realistic about how much of your time and energy you can give.

Please know that we are here for you!

 

Lauren

--

Digital Community Manager

LUNGevity Foundation

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Randi,

 

Checking in...  How is your loved one doing?  Was he able to get medical treatment?  Anything I can do for you?

 

I am still praying for the two of you...

 

Marc

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Thank you for asking, he's trying to get the money however things aren't looking so good. And I'm trying to support him whenever I can. He's not getting any better though which is a bummer.

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Hello,

I'm very sorry for the late reply. However, I've been a bit busy lately. 

We're doing great! He finally got the finances to start his treatment and he's not in pain as much as he used to be. And I feel like him and I were able to connect on a whole new level which was great for the both of us. Things are looking good and I hope it only gets better. 

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Hello Randii, I've read through your posts and I'm so happy to see that things are going better and your friend was able to get the help he needed!  I wish the very best for both of you and hope your friend continues to improve.

 

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Hi Randi

I was so happy to read your latest post that your loved one is getting the care he needs in terms of medicine. He obviously is getting invaluable love & support from you, and is very lucky to have someone like you in his corner.

Here's hoping that things continue to get better for both of you. Please take care of yourself. Wishing you all the best!

Ruthie

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