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New Here - Husband has Lung Cancer - Not handling it


SATo

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Hi folks, I'm SATo.  My husband just did his biopsy. He has a 5x4x3 cm lung mass on the right lung that transverses two lobes.  Doctor said it was highly probable it was cancer and prob. stage 2 or 3.  Biopsy cytology reports we got off the patient portal says it's preliminary positive for malignancy. Lymph nodes are negative for malignancy. MRI/PET reports say there is no other observable metastases so that's also good.  Anyway, I'm here to listen and get/give support as we do this cancer journey.  The shock has worn off but my husband is still roller-coastering emotionally between anxiety, high stress, depression and despair (which isn't surprising), and we're not even at the formal diagnosis/treatment plan yet.  Speaking of which, even though it's great it's localized, the surgery for a tumor spanning the fissure between two lobes seems tricky from what I've read with not always great outcomes for someone my husband's age (79).  However, that's for the surgeon to figure out.  I'm worried for him mostly because he's made a few seemingly joking offhand suicidal comments about 'running into traffic' etc.  I asked the doctor for psychosocial oncology support services and he said he would hook us up once the formal diagnosis is done but it's scary.  I'm afraid to leave him alone for very long. Hopefully this forum will find provide some suggestions etc.  

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Hi SATo, I found out about my cancer this past April and it was really scary thinking I was going to die - my lung cancer was about the same size in my right lower lobe. I had one lymph node that was positive. I was stage 3A. Long story short I had radiation and chemotherapy and was fortunate to get surgery in September(lobectomy) and I am now cancer free. I will have one year of immunotherapy coming up.

Don't despair. He is fortunate there are no lymph nodes involved. We have come a long way in lung cancer research and it is no longer a death sentence that it once was. I am sure there will be others that have been on this forum longer that I that will allot to say to you. Stay positive!

 

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Hi SATo, all of your husband's reactions are normal when getting a shocking diagnosis like lung cancer. When I received my Stage IIIB diagnosis in October 2019 at age 66, I didn't think I'd make it to the end of that year. I knew nothing about this disease or LUNGevity. 

I wasn't a candidate for surgery because I had metastasis to lymph nodes. My main tumor was about 6 cm in my lower left lung. I started chemo and radiation almost exactly 3 years ago, and afterward I began taking a targeted therapy pill for my EGFR mutation. I've had No Evidence of Disease (NED) for a while now and am healthy again. 

You don't say if the biopsied tissue is also being sent for biomarker testing. That's an important part of diagnosis but can add to delay in creating a treatment plan. 

Treatments and management of side effects have come a long way in the last several years. I hope you'll both use this site to learn about our disease. As my primary doctor said when she diagnosed me, lung cancer isn't an automatic death sentence anymore. 

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Thank you for the responses.   They were helpful in giving me some much needed perspective at this time of high stress.

Re Judy's question about biomarkers - His biopsied tissue is still at the lab and they do run biomarker tests on it as part of their protocol.

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SATo

Welcome to our forums.  You've come to a good place for support, knowledge and hope.  One of the first things I'd like you to read (and share with your husband) is a blog titled "10 Steps to Surviving Lung Cancer; From a Survivor" and that can be found here.  You'll learn much about how to handle the disease and some very important things for you to ask for (e.g., getting appropriate testing for possible targeted or immunotherapy).  As the patients wife you may also have questions about taking care of him during treatment.  I would recommend that you check out our caregivers support by clicking on "Caregivers Resource Center".  And finally, you both need to better understand this disease, the testing, treatments, expected outcomes and much of that information can be found at our "Lung Cancer 101" section.

Last point...please don't go and "google" for outcome, and prognosis as the data available it an average over time and does not often reflect the newest treatments and advances being made in the treatment of this tough disease.  Ask any questions you have and know that there is a wide range of experience and knowledge here and our Lungevity Family will freely share what we have with you.

Lou

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When my husband was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia 7 years ago,I remember our shock as a long married couple - a “ this is it” kind of shock. We were both devastated. But, it wasn’t “ it” and he’s still around and doing quite well. My lung cancer diagnosis created the same chaos for a while. I’ve come to believe that cancer often can be treated like a chronic condition - it IS just a part of our lives. I wish all the best for both of you. There is a national suicide hotline that you might want to check out for your own peace of mind. Just dial 988. They can help you with your own worry and will be able to inform about preventative measures. Love to both of you. Suzan

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