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Worried about my Dad


Strong Daughter

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Good Morning!

I found this website this morning and wanted to share my dad’s story. He smoked till his late 30s. He is now 76.
 

6 years ago he fell off his bike while biking on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore. They did a scan of his ribs and saw cancer in one of his lung sacks (a cancer that was common for those who had previously smoked). They removed the sack and said it didn’t metastasize. They didn’t feel the need for treatment—just follow-up scans.
 

2 years later (4 years ago). He had pain in his knee. It was the same cancer. They gave him radiation treatments (strong ones) and it shrunk. PET scans were showing nothing else in his body. We were good for 3 years as the bone cancer was stable.
 

1 year ago his leg started hurting around his knee. They did another scan and said the cancer was becoming active in his knee with another small active lesion on his tibia, and a couple (too small to biopsy) lesions in both lungs and both kidneys (these are very stable but did appear). The one on his knee was eating away the bone. Since it was very active, he had surgery to scrape out the cancer and repair the knee with follow-up radiation to knee and leg. PET scan showed the cancer shrunk a bit in both places. They followed it and he received physical therapy this year.

A couple months ago a PET scan and complete MRI showed that the cancer in his leg is becoming more active yet again. They advised that he now start chemo (carboplatin alimta and keytruda). They just did his PET baseline last week and found two more very small glows on his neck bone and his hip bone. His knee-leg cancer is active. However, the lesions in the soft tissue (lungs and kidneys) are stable- and again still too small to biopsy but definitely suspicious of the cancer. He starts chemo this Wednesday. They suggested this trio chemo once every three weeks for 12 weeks. 

I hope you were able to follow me and I made sense. My mom is right by his side (married almost 60 years and still so in love). They are staying positive. This is so hard for me. I can’t believe that it’s my dad fighting this. He’s so sweet and smart (he was a science teacher his whole life). The doctors are saying that if the chemo works that the bones can repair themselves over time. Is this true? Is this scenario alike anyone out there? I am wondering if this trio will shrink bone cancer? Thank you ahead of time for any and all comments and support.

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Hello and Welcome,

I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all of this.  I’m also from NJ (exit 150).   I had cancer on my spine, hip, and rib.  While I’m taking a different type of therapy, my bones did heal with treatment.  
 

I can relate to your distress.  When my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, she never appeared overly worried about it.  Didn’t complain through multiple rounds of chemo even though the side effects were terrible.  I often thought I was more upset about her cancer than she was.  
 

I think our parents who are in their 70s are made of pretty tough stuff.  Eventually I learned to take cues from my Mom.  When she asked for help I was all in- but most of the time she wanted to handle things herself.   
 

You’ve found a great group of people here- ask us anything at anytime. 
 

Michelle

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Hello Strong Daughter,

Welcome to our forum and sorry that you had to be here.  Your dad is sure having a hard time.  Lung cancer is one of the most recurrent cancers there are.  Has the present doctor confirmed that the remote cancers are definitely lung cancer cells?  If so, then it is likely that the chemotherapy will provide a good clearing of those cells throughout the body.  I have not had chemo but others here have and will likely share their experiences with you.  As a group, we have a great collective knowledge of different treatments.  In the meantime I'd like to share one of our forums for you.  It is the "Caregivers Resource Center" and it can be found here.  In the meantime, hang tight as you'll be hearing from the rest of my family soon.

Lou

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35 minutes ago, Rower Michelle said:

Hello and Welcome,

I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all of this.  I’m also from NJ (exit 150).   I had cancer on my spine, hip, and rib.  While I’m taking a different type of therapy, my bones did heal with treatment.  
 

I can relate to your distress.  When my mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, she never appeared overly worried about it.  Didn’t complain through multiple rounds of chemo even though the side effects were terrible.  I often thought I was more upset about her cancer than she was.  
 

I think our parents who are in their 70s are made of pretty tough stuff.  Eventually I learned to take cues from my Mom.  When she asked for help I was all in- but most of the time she wanted to handle things herself.   
 

You’ve found a great group of people here- ask us anything at anytime. 
 

Michelle

Thank you, Michelle. I was tearing up reading your letter. I just read it to my dad. He laughed at you saying they (in their 70s) are made of pretty tough stuff!! You are right. My mom doesn’t want any help. I live in Tampa and she said, “Don’t you dare get on an airplane until I see how this plays out.” Thank God that your bone cancer cleared up. Your body is healthy and strong!!! You are on too of it. I can’t tell you how much you sharing your experience means to me. Yes, my dad was on the Wildwood boardwalk when this all started…. South Jersey:). 

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37 minutes ago, LouT said:

Hello Strong Daughter,

Welcome to our forum and sorry that you had to be here.  Your dad is sure having a hard time.  Lung cancer is one of the most recurrent cancers there are.  Has the present doctor confirmed that the remote cancers are definitely lung cancer cells?  If so, then it is likely that the chemotherapy will provide a good clearing of those cells throughout the body.  I have not had chemo but others here have and will likely share their experiences with you.  As a group, we have a great collective knowledge of different treatments.  In the meantime I'd like to share one of our forums for you.  It is the "Caregivers Resource Center" and it can be found here.  In the meantime, hang tight as you'll be hearing from the rest of my family soon.

Lou

Thank you so much for replying and your kind words. I was tearing up reading your letter too. Having people around listening makes all the difference. I am so touched. I asked my dad about what you said and he said that yes, that all the remote cancers are the same lung cancer cells. I am hopeful  that you are correct and that the chemo works well. My dad said, “I just hope I’m in the right car and on the right road.” 

Thank you for the website information regarding caregivers!! I’ll look at it.

 

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Strong Daughter,

Welcome.

Is it true bones can repair themselves over time after cancer therapy? Can combination chemotherapy (Carboplatin, Alimta and the immunotherapy drug Keytruda) shrink lung cancer tumors and bone metastasis? These are two well-founded questions and the answer to both is a qualified yes.

On bone metastasis repair, my qualification would be age-based. As we get older, it is difficult for bones to heal. But difficult is not impossible. As for the combination chemotherapy, the immunotherapy portion is the miracle drug of lung cancer treatment. When it works, it yields amazing results. Your dad's cancer would stage at IV and many here are living normal lives after receiving Keytruda and similar immunotherapy drugs who staged at IV. Here is some information about immunotherapy you might find useful.

I have fond memories at the shore having grown up spending my summers in Ocean City, NJ. I hope your dad is soon back on the Wildwood board walk.

Stay the course.

Tom

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You are welcome, we are and always will be Jersey Strong! 
 

Can’t tell you how many times the parents have said “don’t jump on a plane” over the years.  Dad calls me his #1 helicopter child. My sister is referred to simply as #2.  Because my sister and I sound alike on the phone Dad’s medical team sometimes asks “which one are you 1 or 2?   
 

Mom never let my sister even speak to her oncologist, not even once.   That’s Jersey parents for ya.  

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5 hours ago, Tom Galli said:

Strong Daughter,

Welcome.

Is it true bones can repair themselves over time after cancer therapy? Can combination chemotherapy (Carboplatin, Alimta and the immunotherapy drug Keytruda) shrink lung cancer tumors and bone metastasis? These are two well-founded questions and the answer to both is a qualified yes.

On bone metastasis repair, my qualification would be age-based. As we get older, it is difficult for bones to heal. But difficult is not impossible. As for the combination chemotherapy, the immunotherapy portion is the miracle drug of lung cancer treatment. When it works, it yields amazing results. Your dad's cancer would stage at IV and many here are living normal lives after receiving Keytruda and similar immunotherapy drugs who staged at IV. Here is some information about immunotherapy you might find useful.

I have fond memories at the shore having grown up spending my summers in Ocean City, NJ. I hope your dad is soon back on the Wildwood board walk.

Stay the course.

Tom

Hi Tom! Thank you! Thank you!! I appreciate your information. I needed to hear that. It made me feel so much better. I shared your information with my siblings this afternoon as well. My dad said that he just hopes he is in the right car and on the right road. I believe he is with Keytruda. He starts on Wednesday and will be there for a while. My mom already has his Gatorade ready in the fridge for hydration.

I am so happy that I registered on this website and gave it a try. Technology is a good thing. Have a nice evening.

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