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Nine More Days...


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Nine more days of radiation and one more day of chemo. Just had chemo today after radiation. It's been taking seven hours all together.

The way it's been going is that after a long tiring day of chemo on Thursday, I feel fine on Friday and part of Saturday, but then I start to crash and each weekend it's been getting tougher. Sunday thru Monday I had a bag packed to go to the hospital because apon rising from a chair or doing anything mildly active, I got this pounding pain in my bronchial center region as my heart beat. After waiting it out, the pain began to moderate and got a few hours sleep Monday morning before radiation treatment. The pain went on, not as bad, but cancelleled radiation on Tuesday. By Wednesday I was feeling better.

Now it's Thursday after chemo and a nap! I surmise the pounding pain may be linked to an interaction with my COPD inhaller which has a cortiostreroid (sp?) and the streroid used to prop me up for the taxol and carboplatin chemo drugs. And /or it may be the radiation that plays havoc on the throat and esophagus. My heart tests to date have been sound.

The good news is that the tumor is shrinking. Certainly my reservations before going ahead with treatment were based on concerns with side effects. But Tom, thank you Tom for your perspective. As you said, without treatment I could only look forward to 6-12 months of declining health and Hospice care. And with treatment, regardless of side effects, I could fight it and come out with possibly years, good years, ahead. I might have chosen only alternative treatments, but now I may have time to practice them as well.

But wait, there's more. The proposed treatment to follow is Keytruda immunotherapy for a year.

It's good to hear from survivors here on this forum, since rarely will any doctor give documented patient references. I don't think any one of us going into treatment has a clear understanding, especially with so many different forms of this disease. We all must see there is hope, not just for survival but for a good quality of life and keep striving for it.

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Hi Steve: Your story is really inspiring. Kudos to you for hanging in there with the pain and misery but hand it to you because you cancer is shrinking. At the end that's the only measurable that counts. I hope one day soon we read that you are totally cancer free.  As for Tom and other experienced survivors we are blessed with their presence. They keep  giving and make dealing with cancer tolerable . Please keep telling your story we all need a lift every now and then. 

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Hey, Steve,

I'm so glad you went ahead with the treatments. None of us has a guarantee that our treatments will work, or that we won't have some kind of horrendous response, but when we go with the standard treatments we should feel some degree of confidence that they will do the job and not leave us worse off than before. That's certainly how it works for most people, but it's sure easy to get scared by the worst-case scenarios. 

I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't have gone with the concurrent radiation (all my docs felt that given the size/location of the radiation field it would be too debilitating and essentially destroy my quality of life). I decided to follow their recommendation and we'll look at radiation when my four initial rounds of chemo are done. It may not be quite as effective as the concurrent radiation but I'm choosing to be hopeful about it. 

When my initial chemo (and any radiation) is done, apparently the plan for me is INDEFINITE maintenance on chemo (Alimta) and Keytruda--at least you can look forward to an end point in a year!

Keep on keepin' on...

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In my first line therapy (chemo/radiation), I remember phantom pains that would arch across my chest. Then in my back and side coupled with muscle cramps and fear. As I reflect on that time, now many years ago, I wonder where my soldier's courage went to. I was often on the brink of calling 911 to rush to the hospital also!

When in battle (and you are engaged in a brutal battle), one needs to take measure of the enemy, devise a plan, and then engage ruthlessly. But, there was no taking measure of my lung cancer. I couldn't see it, map it, fix it with artillery fire, fire and maneuver against it. My soldier's approach to countering lung cancer was akin to emptying magazine after magazine into a dark closet while blindfolded. There are no tactics, techniques or procedures that define an engagement strategy with lung cancer.

Your battle strategy is formed by reading what we write about treatment, withstanding it and continued life, here, on this forum. This place is your field manual for beating the beast! Your comfort can be found by recognizing that many of us thrive during treatment and for long periods after. I counsel to declare the past gone, the future irrelevant, and set your life to live in the day. If you don't see an expiration date stamped on your forehead in the morning while shaving, enjoy the day.

Stay the course Steve. The long march is made by repeating series of first steps in the same direction.



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@SteveD, now that you mention it, I recall having severe chest pains during radiation and chemo where I thought I was having a heart attack. Turned out to be one of 3 pains from esophagitis:  the constant pain, pain from swallowing and that heart attack level pain (which, although it came in brief episodes, was alarming).

Please let your radiation oncologist know about your pain and if they aren't helpful (mine wasn't), look for a pain management doctor who can help. It took me months to recover from esophagitis.

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Good for you for hanging in there! And I'm glad to hear it's working.  Judy's suggestion of a pain management doctor is a good one.

You can do this for 9 more days.

Bridget O

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Thank you all for your support and suggestions.

My radiation oncologist has given me prescriptions for liquid lidocaine to ease the pain of swallowing food and orange sherbet helps too. She also gave me

a pain killer presciption I haven't used yet. Last weekend's episode with the heart-pounding pain was bad enough to make me want to experience it's possble

progression unmasked without pain pills.

This last weekend's chemo crash went much better, miraculously without the heart pounding chest pains. I'm  just very tired.

She also said drinking a lot of water actually helps the heart circulate under less stress  and to drink less coffee. I didn't know that being potentially dehydrated

might have such an effect. I also cut my steroid COPD inhaler doses in half for a few days. I believe the steroid drugs I get with chemo may interact. 

One good thing as I go along is the reaction I get from the nurses when my labs come back excellent before chemo. It might have something to do with the

vitamins and herbs, including powdered ginger I have with my juice in the morning.




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