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Giving hope a chance?


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 I discovered I have stage 4 SCLC about 3 months ago, Dec of 2016.  I was told without treatment I would have approx. 2 to 4 months to live. With treatment I could live up to a year and if really lucky I could live as much as 2 years. This devastated me!

 I have always had a strong faith in the Lord and so does most all of my family and many of my friends. However when it has come to my cancer I seem to want to rely on facts and not faith. I have gone through depression, which some of you here on this site have helped me with greatly, but now I realize I have had trouble believing in some of my own words. I have said "I know God can heal me if He wants." I had some in my family , who I have since talked to, want to only talk about a healing or an overcoming of this cancer and me living for years. I needed them to see my side of things and acknowledge the possibility that I could die.  It has not been until today after a conversation with my mom that it really hit me that I am currently unable to acknowledge the possibility that I could live.  

 Here is, I believe, my problem. When I was told I had cancer it hit me and my family hard, especially when we just lost my father a year and a half ago and he too had cancer. We knew he was dying of emphysema  already when they discovered his body was covered in cancer. He died a week later. I was able to accept his death fairly easy because there was no hope of him living. In the same manor I can more easily accept my own "inevitable" death from cancer if I don't start, in my own words, "messing around with the idea of hope of being cured or healed." I feel like if I entertain those ideas and I am wrong then I will be devastated again. To me death is less scary then the depression I have gone through and am just now getting out of. The last thing I want to do is to go through it again. I also do not want to give my kids a false hope only to see them go through the devastation of it being wrong. 

 I'm not real sure what to do or how to deal with this right now. I feel better just getting this out but if you have any suggestions those might come in real handy too. 

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Sadly, I completely understand your dilemma.  Here is the way I think about things.  I personally do not hope for a cure; I hope for no evidence of disease (NED).  I had a CT scan on Friday and see my oncologist on Tuesday for results.  I still see him twice a year and its been 13 years since diagnosis, and 9 years NED.  He told me however, that lung cancer is very persistent, hence the twice yearly visit.  He's often seen recurrences even after long periods of NED so he doesn't use the term cure.  Therefore, when I think about my disease and 3 recurrences after NED scans, I need to remain ready to strap on my battle rattle and fight for my life.  So I don't focus on curing or healing, I hope for NED but need to stand ready for further treatment.  That reality suggests I make each NED day enjoyable because of the likelihood of difficult treatment days.

Death is inevitable.  The only uncertainty is when.  But, after diagnosis, death had a certainty about it that I wasn't prepared for.  Death from lung cancer was frightening.  Several of my doctors talked to me about hospice and that alleviated some of my fear, especially the fear of prolonged pain.  After learning I'd be comfortable, my fear waned somewhat.  I was however depressed, especially after each recurrence.  I was severely depressed after my last recurrence and was treated with counseling and medicine.  I needed both.  One mistake I made was not seeking help for my depression earlier.  

My daughter was in her twenties when I was diagnosed.  We were frank with one another about outcomes.  This frankness did not diminish hope but we both understood the reality of cancer, its persistence, and its lethality.  I was fortunate I didn't have to explain these things to a child because the discussion would have been much harder.  

If it makes you feel any better, if Tuesday's consultation is not good news, I'm not sure what I'd do or how I deal with the news.  My wife would engage and start treatment discussions with my oncologist, but I would be depressed and would need to find courage to endure treatment and uncertain outcomes.  I hope I can find courage.

Stay the course.



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Dang, I figured after 13 years you would be a pro at this, have no fear, no worries, all the hope and faith in the world. I assumed all of you who had been at this a while would be like that and give me the great directions to keeping faith and hope and not having fear or worry. Of course I should know what happens when I assume. I make an  "*ss of U and ME" Sorry I learned that when I was young and it's always stuck in my head lol. I'm not calling anyone am *ss. I just have a twisted sence of humor sometimes.  Hmmm, maybe I'm not so hopeless, just maybe. And maybe I'm more like you guys than I think. Maybe it's me just being human. Of course that's a lot of maybes but I do think even I could "hope for  no evidence of disease". I don't expect that right now because I've only had 3 sessions of 3 chemo treatments each. I'll be going for my dye/MRI test on the 7th to find out if the cancer is shrinking or maybe even gone in one of the areas. I then go to the oncologist on the 13th to find out the results of that. I'm just trying not to think about that too much right now. If anyone else has wants to toss their two cents in here I'd sure like to hear it. It helps to finally have people to talk to about this stuff. And Thanks Tom!

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Hi Paula,
When I was first diagnosed, I was in denial about the fact that I had cancer. Lung cancer, with an inoperable, incurable tumor. I went through chemo and radiation certain they were going to work, and they did. The tumor shrank to nothing and I was NED. For 7 months I was sure I was cured.

Then a routine CT in NOV OF 2015 showed a spot on my kidney. A CT, a PET, and a biopsy later I was told the cancer was back. Stage 4 metastatic. This time I was devastated and depression set in. It's been a tough battle with the depression and the treatment. I'm on my 4th type of treatment since the recurrence and, if I were to truly be honest with myself, I'm not too sure it's going to work.

All I'm hoping for right now is stability. After the devastation of the recurrence, I think I am too afraid to hope for NED again, because I don't think I would be able to handle yet another recurrence. Does that make any sense?

I still battle with depression, mainly because the cancer is in my pelvis, hip, and lower spine on my right side and it makes walking and standing for more than a few minutes quite painful. I am on morphine, and most of the pain is managed, but the nerve pain caused by the tumor on my spine is not. So I'm limited in what I can do, and that doesn't help with the depression. But I am doing my best to find the best each day has to offer and to look for reasons to smile.

I'm sorry I haven't been helpful at all. I just wanted to let you know I understand, and the fear, the uncertainty, the sadness, and the depression are all normal and ok. Some days, a little rain is going to fall. Just grab an umbrella and look for the rainbow. The sun will shine again. :)


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

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