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Katum31

Mom newly diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC

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Hey everyone! My mom had the pleural effusion drained from her lungs on April 26th, and she immediately felt better! They biopsied the effusion and said that it was malignant (which is basically what we figured).  Things had been going great since then, she has completed 2 rounds of chemo (the second one was 2 days ago), and so far she felt fine. She said she felt a little tired for a few days after the treatments, but other than that she felt good! We were feeling very positive about everything until this morning when she suddenly felt like she couldn't breathe again. Turns out she probably has pleural effusion again. She did a CT scan this morning and meets with the oncologist tomorrow. They are going to put her on the schedule to have the fluid drained again, hopefully within the next few days.

After this, I'm beginning to become discouraged again.  Is that fact that the pleural effusion back again a really bad sign?  Can people have malignant pleural effusion and still end up coming out of this with NED?  I was just feeling so hopeful, but I'm starting to become really discouraged that she is continuing to have the effusion.  Is this very common?  Is it a really bad sign? Does this indicate that things are progressing and getting worse?

Any wise words or words of encouragement (or truth) would be appreciated! Thank you!!

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Katum,

Unfortunately, multiple pleural effusions are a common occurrence in lung cancer. 

I corresponded with a guy who was drained about once a week. His chemo finally took hold and that stopped the effusions. The important take away is the pressure can be relieved and treatment can stop the effusions. 

Stay the course. 

Tom

 

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Katum I can’t offer any personal input on your questions.  Others may be able to.  I can tell you that cancer is an up and down battle.   There will be times when things are going well and there will be others, like now, where it feels like everything is going wrong.  That pendulum can swing very far in each direction pretty quickly.  I don’t have any words of wisdom on how to manage that.  Just know that we all go through it with this disease.  I’m hoping things improve for your mom soon. 

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Thank you @Tom Galli and @Curt for the responses and encouraging words.  I really appreciate them!

The CT scan showed moderate pleural effusion in the left lung (which we knew) and now small effusion in the right lung - which is new. There were no issues with the right lung at the start of treatment, which now has me worried that the cancer may have spread to her right lung.  She still has 2 more chemo treatments, and then they will do another scan at the end of July, so I guess we will sit tight until then.

I never thought of the experience being like a pendulum, but you are so right. It really is amazing how far it can swing.  She's getting the fluid drained from her left lung later on today, so at least she will be feeling better soon. Hopefully now the pendulum will swing towards the good side again.

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