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Uncle in Stage IV


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Hello, I am really pleased I found this board. I've been reading posts the last couple days whenever I can and thought it was time to introduce myself to this wonderful group of informed, supportive, courageous people.

I am posting because my 52 yr. old uncle, who my husband and I are very close to, was diagnosed with Stage IV LC a few wks. ago. It was found because it metastisized to his thumb (squamous cells?), discovered after he had surgery to remove a mysterious growth. At the same time this was going on he started having chest pain and a CT showed a tumor in his lung. He has had two unsuccessful attempted biopsies and they now say they cannot biopsy the tumor because it is in the middle of the chest and entwined with lymph system. Nor can they remove it. Bone scan and abdominal scan were both negative. He started 3 days of chemo on Monday, the objective of which is to shrink the tumor and reduce his severe pain. They plan to do radiation on his thumb. I think they still plan to do a brain scan too.

I have so many questions and really want to get some info. and support. I have referred my aunt to this group but I don't know if she will join because she is trying to work to keep up her health insurance and take care of my uncle. In the meantime, since I can find some time, I will pass on to her any valuable info., inspirational stories, etc.

I have been feeling so heart broken, afraid and helpless. My husband went to be with them last week to provide support and company; I couldn't go because it's a thousand miles away and we have a baby (we are in Canada and they are in the US). I talk to them by phone and email and they are struggling so much with this, understandably. My uncle is losing weight like crazy, taking strong meds for pain (oxycodone?), severely depressed, sleeping all the time, and seems to have no hope. No wonder ... the surgeon who removed the tumor from his thumb told him the chances of living past a year are very low. I love him and my aunt so much I just want to protect them and make this all go away ... but I can't.

Thank you for 'listening',


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Guest DaveG


First off, depression is treatable with medication and antidepressants. Most of here, who are survivors, live on antidepressants. It is common to go through depression, but it is very easily treated. Therefore I would recommend that your uncle talk to his doctors about antidepressants. They work and there is no use for having to go through this depressed.

Next numbers and time are just that, numbers and time. Forget the numbers and talk to your uncle about HIM setting his time, rather than a doctor dictating that. When I was restaged to Stage IV in April, the first thing the oncologist did was ask me for my intention, not what her intention was, but my intention. I told her to live out my life in as much a normal manner as is possible. My wife wants me here for our 50th wedding anniversary in less than 18 years. I WILL make that.

No one will say that having lung cancer is easy, we all have our bad days along with the very many good days. It is not without pain or downtime, but as our name, Lung Cancer Survivors for Change, implies, we are about suviving lung cancer. We offer you hope, love, support, and tons of faith. We have been where your uncle is now and we understand. Being a Stage I, as I was for 18 months, was great, but now I am a Stage IV and it has afforded me another opportunity to have another experience with lung cancer. I will beat this, as will your uncle, once he realizes that he is not alone in his journey. He is amongst many survivors, numbering in the 10's of thousands. We may have only 420+ members here, but we are forever growing day by day. Soon we will be 500 strong and will still be growing, sad to say. We all pray that there will be a cure, but until then we will find the means to survive this wretched disease.

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Tara -

Take heart, and welcome!! I was so sorry to read about your uncle, but as Dave said - you are at the right place!! We have all been where your uncle is and, believe me, those doctors don't know EVERYTHING (especially not our future)!!!!

Perhaps an antidepressant would help - many of us have found that helps with the depression. Perhaps a second opinion is in order - sounds like that dr. is one of those that doesn't give much hope. However, as the one heading on these boards says --- someone has survived every cancer - at every stage - so why not your uncle.

I will keep you in my prayers - as I do so many on this board daily. God bless -


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tara so sorry to hear about your uncle. and doctors are awful when it come to the "time frame" they are honestly jerks. OK even if so, say he did have a year to live...exactly what should he do with this info???? um, i be utterly depressed too. Numbers are just numbers, tell you uncle there are people on here he can talk to too, it made my dad feel a whole hell of a lot better!!!

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Tara-welcome to the board. I hope this board can offer help and comfort for you.

I'm so sorry about your uncle. I will pray he can pull out of the depression. Like Dave said there is medication for that, and he should really research it. It helps tremendously.

Keep us posted.


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Hi Tara,

Welcome to the boards.

I'm sorry to hear about your uncle's diagnosis...but please have faith that things do get better..and easier to deal with

A cancer diagnosis is very frightening and overwhelming for all those that it affects.

Let me share my story briefly with you...

My 45 year old mother was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC as well. At the time of her diagnosis..she too was in unbearable pain and reeling from a YEAR of debilitating physical problems (all related to the cancer that more than a few doctors misdiagnosed). We all wanted to believe that it was something else...but when they did give us the diagnosis..it was like a bombed dropped..The days following were nearly unbearable..So many questions with few answers..unbelievable depression took hold..despair..pain. She slept constantly...and was on tons of pain killers

BUT..then we started to take things one day at a time..put one foot in front of the other.

We got radiation therapy..chemo..and treatment going..and things turned around. We are fighting this thing now..she is sick (of course) but much much much better! Know that your uncle will get better too!!

Don't listen to those numbers...Believe that the strength of his spirit means more.

Keep up your research....and your support..

Come back often..


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Hi Tara, welcome to the board. I am a caregiver for my husband who has stage IV nsclc. I can tell you that this board has really changed my mind on cancer surviving. I thought just the word meant instant death, but now from hearing from all these fine survivors and their caregivers a person this day has a chance for time. I do however believe in one day at a time. If my spouse is having a bad day i can now except that because he does have good days also. on the good days we go out to lunch, take a ride, anything to just enjoy being together for what ever time the Lord gives us.

Your uncle's cancer sounds like what the old TV personality Arthur Godfrey had. His as I was told years ago by another dr was wrapped about the center of his body like a snake. He lived many years after the cancer was found and treatment given.

The treatments that they give are very hard on the cancer patient and there are times when as a caregiver, you don't think it will work because they can get really sick and down, loose a lot of weight, etc. Then one day, all of a sudden, they start feeling a tad better and each day thereafter. Tell you aunt to take a day at a time, things will hopefully get bettter but at first it will be he///////. Hang in there and God Bless all of you.

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Guest pepperpike

Welcome. I agree with Dave on getting the antidepressants as soon as possible. The other med I use regularly is Ambien for sleep. I do not allow my mind to wonder aimlessly to negative thoughts at night. I hope that your Aunt and Uncle can check out this site and hear the HOPE that resounds from each of the survivors. There is alot of experience here to draw from and surviving is what we are all about. Please keep us informed on your Uncle's progress. He and his family will be in my prayers. God Bless you all.

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I just wanted to say a big thank you to all who posted in response to my message. I forwarded each reply to my aunt and she said she really appreciated receiving them.

My uncle's spirits are a bit better the last couple of days. He has a med appointment tomorrow and my aunt will inquire about anti-depressants.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to respond.


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