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My Friend has Stage IV NSCLC


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Hello. My friend was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC in August of this year and I'm a little baffled by his overall complacency. Also, he doesn't seem to take much interest in his current treatment and I'm worried that he's going to hinder any chance he might have at extending his life. I'm trying my best to understand my friend's attitude, but, I'm also trying to stay on top of his current condition in case he wakes up one of these mornings feeling inspired to put up a good fight. This way, I could help him to get moving in the right direction a little faster.

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Sometimes newly diagnosed patients can be in shock.  Hard to believe, especially if you did not smoke.  Also, myself included, we don't want to be treated any differently.

The thought of being the "sick person" is depressing so we like to be as normal as possible.  It is okay.  I would not pressure your friend, they are most likely taking this very seriously and you have nothing to worry about.  Just treat them as you normally would and let them guide you.

Hope I was on the right track and all goes well for you and your friend.

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It's difficult to be the patient, but I'm guessing it's equally as difficult to be the friend who is powerless to fix or change anything.  My closest friend has had great difficulty with my diagnosis; she collapsed at the hospital after she got the news.  She has armed herself with information and is a constant source of support.  But I know it's a challenge for her.  We were chatting about something one day and she apologized for complaining about something in her life.that seemed so trivial at the time.  I told her that I needed her to be the same person she was before my diagnosis - fussing about her husband, cracking jokes, etc.  My friends and I just spent a week in Florida - first time we've all been able to get away for an entire week in years.  My only request?  Don't turn it into a Make-A-Wish Trip!

As Sunshine mentioned, be armed with knowledge and research resources (like this site, ACS, cancer facilities) and be prepared if your friend is ready to move forward.  I would also say that if your friend has decided he doesn't want to fight - and it can be an ugly, painful, terrible fight - he will still need your love and support. Regardless of his choice, he's lucky to have a friend who cares so much.  

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Welcome here.  Baffled by complacency, I well understand.  My first several weeks experience with lung cancer could be summed as ignore it and it will go away!  My wife didn't allow me to ignore it and took charge and steered me to diagnosis, then treatment, and then became the decider in chief of during treatment.  Why?  I was overwhelmed by fear.  I was a deer in the headlights staring at a 18-wheeler barreling hell-bent to run me over.  I was paralyzed into inaction.

I don't know what is going through your friend's mind but over my long years of association with lung cancer survivors, suggest he may be that same deer in the headlights.  What do you do with a reluctant patient?  Granted every situation is different but what worked for me was someone who stepped up to be large and in charge.

Is that you?  Is it someone in his immediate family?  You might try a summit with his family and close friends to nominate one or several to spur him to action.  Volunteering to go with him to a doctor's consultation might be a good way to apply the spur.

Having said all of this, there are some of us, even after application of the spur, who decide against treatment.  If that is an informed decision that includes complete understanding of the consequences, then so be it.  I think support efforts are no longer effective once someone reaches the plateau of an informed decision.

Stay the course.


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