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Mom's cancer is AGRESSIVE and we need help!

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I'm Beth and this is my first posting to this site. My Mom, Myrna was diagnosed on 10/02 with NSCLC Stage IV, inoperable, with mets to the liver. The Oncologist told us this was an agressive "non-descript" cancer and within 1 week (11/02) she was in treatment.

The protocol was Cisplatin/VP16, 3 days-on, 3 weeks-off for 3 months. This protocol was intense and landed her in the hospital ER 3 times. At that time a scan was done. To our horror, the chemo was ineffectual.

In fact, the tumors had grown. Markers showed 4.0 for tumor on the bronchia/lung and just a bit smaller for the two on her liver.

The protocol was changed in Feb 2003 to Taxotere/Gemzar, 1 day-on, every other week. We went to a nutritionist for guidance as well. With some adjustments to her diet, she was making remarkable progress! Another scan was done at the end of April 2003. The tumor markers went from a 4.0 to a .9! We were beyond words! The protocol and change in diet were working and we felt good.

Two weeks later (at her next chemo session), the Doc felt he needed to

ADJUST THE DRUGS - Said that she would be fine.

The something changed...

A few weeks ago (mid May 2003) Mom was having shortness of breath & began coughing again. Her appetite was depressed and she stated how "fatigued" she was feeling. She said her legs felt like lead. This continued for 2 weeks. That week she went in for chemo and they gave her a shot of Epogin. Although her reds were going back up, the fatigue and coughing worstened. The nausea had also returned.

Last Wednesday, when she went in for bloodwork & chemo, The Doc refused it, saying she looked "too weak" and gave her Hydration only.

He ordered brain & chest SCANS for last Saturday.

Today, I got the news. Mom's tumors have grown again. The Doctor said he was not giving her any more chemo, as it was not working now. He gave her a few options: 1-Iressa, 2-Possible clinical trials with experimental drugs or 3-TO DO NOTHING.

OK. So here's where we are. I'm flying back East this Sunday to help sort all this out. If our story is familiar to anyone here, I'd be grateful for some input. There must be an Oncologist out there somewhere who's seen this before and may be able to help.

Thank you for giving me this time.


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Hi Beth,

So sorry you have the need to find this site but am glad that you are reaching out.

My husband was offered the same three choices as your mom when the chemo didn't work. We chose to try Iressa and will find out Friday if it is working or not. If it isn't we will go the clinical trial route unless something else looks better.

Please keep us updated on your mom's condition and come here for support. These are wonderful loving people who care about everyone.

God bless you,


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Guest Rocky

Beth, please make sure you continue to post as you move along with your decisions. Your experiences will help others in the same position.

Iressa has made my husband feel much better. Don't know yet if it is stopping the cancer, but it has given him a better quality of life. Best wishes.

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We had the same options 6 weeks ago. We decided hospice was thre best for now while we searched for other treatments. At least with hospice he can get all his meds on time and he doesnt have to go to the ER again. I have searched for some clinical trials and some look promising. In the meantime we are giving dad a lot of supplements like l-arginine and genestein. He also drinks noni juice and try to eat as much as he can.

I dont know about iressa, i know there is some side effects, let us know if it is working for you all. Bottom line is not to give up. Good things can still happen. Even when things look bad they can still turn around.

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