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Stage 3b Lung Cancer

JudyStark's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2005

I am 46 and was just told in Feb. that I had inoperable stage 3b non small cell lung cancer. They started me on Tarceva and I go back for blood work and x-rays on the 11th of April to see how well the Tarceva is working. I have never smoked, and I do not have any of the symptoms of lung cancer. No cough, no shortness of breath, and no pain. I have sarcoidsosis a lung and joint condition for 15 years. The sarcoid has never effected my breathing it has only effected my joints. But it had been in remission for about 6 years. I have had cheast x-rays every 6 to 12 months for the past 15 years and I go in for the flu and they tell me I have lung cancer I don't know why they have not been able to find it before it was stage 3b. To look at me you would never be able to tell I had anything wrong with me. I am very active I ride horses, swim, and snorkel dive. Please tell me that there is someone out their who has beat this type of cancer. What I am reading on the internet is very scary. But I do have one Big thing in my favor... I have a Awesome and Powerful God and I know that this cancer will be defeated in me.
God Bless,

Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Judy,
My name is Andy and i'm 47 years old
Back in Oct 2001, I was diagnose with Stage 3a inoperable Limited Small Cell Lung Cancer that was a size of Grape fruit. I received Chemo and Radiation for the first round for 6 month. After my treatment was over, my Oncologist thought I have beaten the cancer. But 4 month later the cancer grew back and was told the cancer was terminal. I went back for round two of chemo in July of 2002. After 6 month the tumor started to shrink again and have been stable since. Like you i'm a runner and I don't look like I have terminal cancer. I ran my fourth Marathon last Oct. and my fifth one on Mar. of this years. Don't always believed what you read in the internet. Every person is difference. You are very active and that good as it will help you through your treatment. Always stay postive as you will have good days and bad days.
Just remember you are not alone in this fight.
There are many of us out there who's fighting this disease and surviving.

God Bless,


Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2003

I'm a 43 year old stage 3b non small cell lung cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in December 2002. After chemo and radiation they removed my right lung. Now it would appear I'm cured (technically in remission). I'm coming up on 2 years 4 months post op and still cancer free. Life is great. I don't run marathons but I can certainly run for a few minutes and then walk briskly when I run short of lung capacity. It doesn't stop me from camping once a month with my son's Boy Scout Troop. Hang in there, they say a positive attitude is half the battle. It sure helped me. Keep laughing and if you need some encouragement e-mail me at jsaindy@comcast.net. Stay Happy!!! John Alexander.

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2005

hi john,
just dx.'d and i wanted to know, about your surgury? what did they do did the crack you chest open? and time of recovery?
thanks i have lots to think about with your help

Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2003

Hi there Diana,

I check the Cancer Survivor's Network a couple times a week. I'm posting this on the network too.

I can tell you a lot, but I've learned that cases can be very different. For my surgery the surgeon cut a smiley face smile on my right side about 6 inches below my arm pit. It's about a 12 inch long scar that runs from the outer edge of my breast area to the middle right third of my back area. They super glued it so there aren't any stitches and it's not overly unattractive. My entire right lung was removed, so I'm left with the left lung, which is the smaller of the two. I feel like I'm blessed to be alive, so appearance is not that important.

Anyway, recovery was a little rough at first, but I was walking the halls of the hospital with assistance the day after surgery. When they took the oxygen off me I kind of panicked, but recovered quickly. 3 days after surgery I was home and began walking the local mall with my parents' help within a week. It just got better and better, and I was back to work in about 9 weeks. I didn't even take the full 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave that was available.

Now I'm back to normal. Running marathons is not in my future, but I just walked in a 5K Susan Komen Breast Cancer walk and was ahead of 80% of the crowd!!! In June of this year I'll be joining my 13 year old son on a Boy Scout canoe trip to the Canadian boundary waters where we paddle up to 10 miles a day and portage 1/4 to 2 mile portages carrying 80 pound packs or canoes. I'm hoping to carry the light weight canoes!!!! (I'm paying a little extra for light weight canoes).

I could go on and on and I will if I can help anyone else to deal with a similar problem.

I attend a pulmonary rehabilitation excercise program (Phase 3 for you official folks) twice a week which has helped tremendously. This program and the resperatory therapists and nurses involved, as well as the comeradery of the other patients, have really been the backbone of my recovery. My employer has been kind enough to let me attend during normal business hours.

My left lung has expanded enough to push my guts around a little and caused a little stomach problem, but it's no big deal considering what I've been through. In January 2006 the chance of recurrance will be drastically reduced according to my oncologist. In January 2007 I will be considered cured, which just means that any new cancer will be considered unrelated to what I've had so far. I can't wait!!!!

I've talked, or typed, enough. If I can help anymore please let me know. I'm willing to talk as much as anyone wants when it comes to helping to survive this disease.

God Bless You,
John Alexander

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Diana,
I had surgery on my right lung. The surgeon went in through my back, just below the shoulder blade. He cut just one rib, and did it all through that incision. The resulting scar is about eight inches, from just under the shoulder blade to my right armpit. I had stitches, so my scar is a little more noticeable, and I have two small scars below that, from the drainage tubes. You know what? I'll be seventy one years old next month, and I couldn't care less what the scar looks like. My beauty pageant days are long over! Seriously, talk it over with your surgeon and I'm sure that he'll make every effort to minimize any scar you may have. Recovery for me was slow, but I was sixty seven at the time. And being a heavy smoker right up til my dx didn't help my recovery. I recently met a friend who had the same surgery and he looked like a million dollars after only seven weeks.
Your main concern is to get rid of the cancer. Deal with the cosmetics later. Best wishes. Keep us posted. Ernie

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Judy,
In May, '01 I was diagnosed with nsclc, stage 3a. I was "inoperable/incurable". Long story short, I had neoadjuvent treatment, meaning concurrent chemo and radiation. After the teatments, the tumor has shrunk by 75% and surgery took care of the rest. I m 3 1/2 years out, with no signs of cancer. The doctor told me that I would have one more six month checkup and one more at a year. Then there would probably be "no point" in seeing me any more. Don't believe everything you read. Have faith, both in God and in your doctors. Believe that you will beat this. Try to have a positive attitude. There are many of us here with stories of survival. You are in my prayers. Please keep us posted. (My personal profile is on this site, titled "Grateful Survivor".) Ernie

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2005

Hi Ernie, My father has nsclc in both lungs and he also has been told that it is inoperable/incurable. He has undergone three chemo and we would know the results of them on Apr 20-21. Your mail instills a lot of hope in me that he will be fine. Sid

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2005

Hello Judy I am 29 and was diagn with stage 3B non small cell lung cancer in May 2003. I have had chemo/rad then they tried surgery and i am now on Iressa. I have been stable disease since May last year.
I felt the same that i was not able to know I had this disease until it was neally advanced?

I too wanted to hear about other people who have beaten lung cancer at stage 3 or 4. There are not many but there are people out there. You just have to believe it will be you too,
Good luck,

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2005


My husband was just diagnosed in April, 2005. Never a smoker and we are on four rounds of chemo, his third will be tomorrow and we are also on daily Tarceva.

The fluid on his lungs has decreased, but we do not yet know about the cancer tumors. They cannot operate.

We, too, have a strong faith in the Lord. We are taking immune builders and drinking more juices and eating more fresh veggies to keep his immunity built up. So far, Praise the Lord, his blood work has all been positive.

Like you, the more I read on the net, the sicker I get to my stomach. My husband is positive and a man of faith.

Tarceva has given him a rash that is tolerable. The chemo (cisplatin and taxotere) has been hard, especially on the fifth day after. And then it gets better, and by then, it is time to go back. We only have one more after tomorrow.

Please let us know how you are.

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