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Stage 4 lung cancer and chemo


marcosmith120

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My Friend was having problems getting enough oxygen. Our PCP put his on 24/7 oxygen and referred his to an EENT after CT showed an enlarged lymph node and a small mass in his right lung. He did a Bronchoscopy and took some cells from the affected lymph node. It was small cell cancer. Went to an Oncologist he did a PET scan and lymph node and lung lit up along with a spot near each kidney and one on the liver. He said he was in Stage 4 and the only treatment available at this point was Chemotherapy. he is on a schedule that is 3 days of Chemo then 18 without and repeat. his first one didn't really make him feel bad at all. #2 he was not feeling really well and super tired for a week. #3 is coming up Tuesday. We are both wonderings will this one make him feel even worse. We are both scared of the unknown? he has a very upbeat attitude about this so far. The doc said there is no cure but without treatment, he would only live months, with, possibly 1 or 2 years. Would like to know how this has affected others and kinda what to expect with #3.

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Marco,

Welcome here.

We shy away from the word cure when used in conjunction with lung cancer. That is because all lung cancer is notorious for recurring after "successful" treatment. I had 4 recurrences after scans showed no evidence of disease (NED) post treatment and my lung cancer flavor is NSCLC.  

I am familiar with chemo for small cell. I recently lost a friend who was a "never smoker" diagnosed with extended stage small cell. His treatment plan mirrored your friend's. He stopped his treatment after his first chemo 3-day series to try alternative (non-science based) methods. Sadly, and likely as a result of his decision, he passed away just 183 days after diagnosis.

There are no lifetime guarantees with any form of lung cancer. Thankfully, conventional treatment often extends life. How long? In my view, how long is irrelevant. I didn't know how long I'd live before my diagnosis. Retrospectively, it seems odd that after diagnosis life tenure became an overwhelming concern, and that concern ballooned into severe depression after each "successful" treatment and recurrence.  I eventually learned life tenure is immaterial if I fail to enjoy each moment of additional life treatment afforded me. 

My reactions to chemo did not worsen over time.  I had the same side effects that occurred with the same timing after each of my 12 infusions. I believe your friend's reaction to the forthcoming treatment on Tuesday will mirror his earlier experiences.  

We all fear the unknown. We yearn for certainty but the only certainty in life is birth and death. We have no memory of being before birth and while living, no way to comprehend existence after death. We have only faith and hope.

Your friend's experience is mirrored by almost everyone on this forum.  Lung cancer is a big lifetime change agent and the scope of change is monumental. The question to be answered is what to do with remaining life and answering that "what" ought to be your overwhelming focus.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Tom

 I like that paragraph

There are no lifetime guarantees with any form of lung cancer. Thankfully, conventional treatment often extends life. How long? In my view, how long is irrelevant. I didn't know how long I'd live before my diagnosis. Retrospectively, it seems odd that after diagnosis life tenure became an overwhelming concern, and that concern ballooned into severe depression after each "successful" treatment and recurrence.  I eventually learned life tenure is immaterial if I fail to enjoy each moment of additional life treatment afforded me.

So true

Bob

 

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Marco,

My mom has had 2 different chemo combinations, 1 for her initial diagnosis and 1 for her recurrence.  Both combos are probably different than what your friend is currently receiving.  But here's my take on the effects of chemo...for the first bout, my mom did not have many severe side effects, mainly felt blah.  Chemo kicked her butt for the 2nd round...the 1st infusion wasn't a big deal and just caused weakness.  After the 2nd infusion, the flu-like symptoms began to occur and continued like clockwork for each infusion.  She would have flu-like symptoms starting on the 3rd day following the infusion and it would last for about 10 days (she was on an infusion every 3 weeks).  As Tom said, your friend's side effects may not get worse than they are now.  And if things drastically change, be sure to report it to his docs because it may not be a side effect from chemo, he might have something else going on...my mom got really sick halfway thru her treatment and it was due to an unrelated infection.  So, not every "bad" feeling is chemo related and should be followed up with.

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Hi, Marco,

Welcome to LCSC. We're glad to see that you've already made some connections in this community. This site is a great place to find information and support. Please feel free to explore the forums, join the conversations, and ask questions. I'm also happy to provide you with additional information about LUNGevity's research, education, and support programs for you and/or your friend.

We're here for you,

Lauren
--
Digital Community Manager
LUNGevity Foundation

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