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Mom diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer a Year Ago - Now 8 Lesions Found in her Brain

AmyKorn
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2009

Hello All:
Boy am I glad I found this site! My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer about a year and a half ago. She has had chemo and each visit and scan the tumors continue to shrink and no new growth.
Unfortunately last week she was sent for a brain MRI- for a totally different development and thank god- they found 8 lesions on her brain. She goes to Sloan Kettering and they told her these lesions are very small- the size of the tip of a pen.
My mother is 71 yrs old and is a fighter. She is still working part time and runs errands for my ill grandmother etc. She is amazing. I am in awe of her courage and strength. Today she starts her 1st whole brain radiation at Sloan Kettering in NJ. What can we expect? I am in upstate NY, my siblings in Colorado and my parents in NJ. She was told she may lose her memory and will definitely lose her hair. She is more concerned with losing her memory. Does anyone know will these lesions react to the radiation well? She was told she will have between 11-15 treatments. The doctor at Sloan opted for whole brain radiation. This past July she had micro vascular decompression surgery from Trigeminal Neuralgia and did wonderfully with that surgery. Any help or advice is appreciated. Are these considered relatively small? She is a fighter and said she has her gloves on and ready to fight.

doug2112
Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2009

My mom is 75 and she just completed 15 treatments. It has made her very weak and has affected her sense of taste. She seems to be doing fairly well though all things considered.

AmyKorn
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2009

Were her treatments full brain or whole brain? Does she have lesions/tumors anywhere else? Thank you for the update.

doug2112
Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2009

Pretty sure they were whole brain. They have not found the source of the cancer yet. They c/t scanned everything but the neck. They did the neck yesterday. Doc thinks its in a gland or node in her neck. This just came out of the blue . She went to the Doc. for some blurred vision in her left eye and WHAM ! this . Keep fighting...

AmyKorn
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks Doug. Keep your chin up and keeep fighting also. We have amazing mothers! Yes my mother also a brain MRI due to something else and they found this.. totally sucks but we are there for support for them!

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi, Amy,

I had whole brain radiation for brain mets from lung cancer just about a year ago, 20 doses. About two weeks in I began to lose my hair, and rather than fuss with it I just shaved it off :) I became pretty fatigued much of the time, and the steroids I was given to keep brain swelling down made my face and ankles swell instead! It took me at least a month to get some energy back.

A year later, I have to admit to having some memory problems; my short term memory has suffered quite a bit, but I compensate by writing things down (when I remember to!), and I finally broke down and attached a lanyard to my glasses so I won't lose them :) I believe it's the radiation that has affected my hearing, too - I have moderate hearing loss in both ears and need to get a hearing aid soon - people get tired of having to speak loudly to me, and I get tired of feeling "yelled at."

On the whole, none of the side effects seem to be as severe as I expected from reading the boards and the literature and all, and the tiny tumors I had shrank still more. I'm also taking Tarceva which may be partly responsible for the shrinkage.

Your mother sounds like a really strong person, she'll do great - my best wishes to her and to you, just as important!

doug2112
Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks for the info stayingcalm . I told my mom its going to take some time to get some strength back. Glad your doing well ...

WingnPrayer's picture
WingnPrayer
Posts: 27
Joined: Nov 2009

Both Amy & Doug's Moms are excellent encouragements to me, speaking a little selfishly, of course, as I have 2 tumors, 1 at brain stem (a Maintenance thing) and 1 at back of brain. They combine to affect my vision (double) and my balance, respectively.
I am not sure what to expect next either. I am curently doing brain radiation but I don't know if they're "whole brain" or "full brain" treatments. At the end of the treatments, the "RAD" Doctor may not even perform an assessment other than ask me how I feel. I don't know if I am qualified to give a self-assessment. I feel like some other sort of assessment should be in order. I still feel a little off balance but the double-vision is starting to become intermittant, so that is an improvement, at least. I am becoming aware of a sort of fatigue and numbing of my legs, though.
Please keep posting so I can check in, ok?

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