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What 2 Expect

Brisk
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2011

I was dx with NSCLC Stage 3b and am preparing for treatment. I will be getting 37 rounds of radiation and weekly chemo. I'm really scared on what to expect from this. Will I be able to work? Will I be able to walk my dogs? Will I be able to socialize? When will my hair start falling out? Will I lose weight? Will I get any more depressed than I am right now? I just don't know what to expect and I'm reaching out to anyone who has been through this, going through it or just wanna lend a helping hand.

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

I am sorry to be welcoming you to this site. But it is a wonderful site full of people who have gone through what you will be facing. I have not had chemo,I was an early stage, so I don't know first hand what you should expect. But my 76 year old mother did, and she did surprisingly well with it. She did not lose weight, her hair did fall out,but she got a gorgeous wig. The doctors can give you something for nausea and depression. Stay strong and try to stay positive. Will be sending prays your way.

Brisk
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2011

I am trying so hard to stay positive and keep an upbeat attitude. Finding it real hard to stay focus on my praying. Everyone else seems to be "keeping me in their prayers", but I know I gotta also be strong and faithful.

Thought about getting a wig, but decided to just wear hats and scarves. Visited the TLC site and found many different styles of hats, scarves and head bands.

I'm really not so concerned about losing my hair as I am about the survival rate statistics for NSCLC. Just so bleak, so unnerving, so depressing, so scary, so...

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

There are alot of later stage survivors on this web site. Try not to pay attention to the survival rates because alot of them are out dated. They include elderly patients who have other illnesses. It is very scary. But it will get easier to deal with as time goes on. When I was first dx, I was afraid of everything for a while. I'm still afraid just not of everything, lol. My doctor prescribed something to take the edge off for me. Hope this helps, and remember you are not alone.

Brisk
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2011

Glad to know your still not afraid of everything,:-)!!! Glad to know the statistics are not something to dwell on. I did notice the medium age appeared to be 65 to 68. Thanks for your reassurance. May I add you as a friend and keep you posted?

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Statistics only tell what happened to groups in the past. This is the present and things are different--actually better for folks with cancer. New discoveries are happening all the time. Statistics can't say what will happen to you. You are an individual and your future is as yet unwritten. As I read on this website, while we all have an end to this life on earth, none of us were born with an expiration date stamped on our forehead. So hang in there! Come back to this board as often as you need to with problems and concerns. Someone else has probably been there and may be able to help. Getting diagnosed with cancer is rotten, sure enough. But you don't have to go it alone.

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008
catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008
mamacita5's picture
mamacita5
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2010

Hello Brisk, I know you are super scared right now but you will begin to calm down a bit as your treatment progresses. Your chemo nurses will probably be awesome and informative. They are a good source to help you prepare for how you will feel during chemo. I was dx 3a and had surgery followed by chemo which was then followed by radiation. You can look at my profile for the whole scoop. Most likely you will feel somewhat crummy during your treatments but certainly you should be able socialize. Just stay away from sick people as your immune system will be compromised. I was told I would lose my hair, but did not...I have two beautiful wigs still sitting in their boxes. I did not lose weight, I gained weight. I gained about 10lbs during treatment because the foods that appealed to me during chemo were creamy, fat rich foods for some reason. I also was thrown directly into menopause during chemo and that could be a reason for some of the weight gain. I did not work during chemo but did work during radiation without any problems. I am doing very well, with no evidence of disease(NED)at this time. There are many here that have gone through, or are going through the same thing you are. There will always be someone to answer your questions. Keep us posted on how you are doing. We really do care!

Brisk
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks a bunch for your knowledge. I will take a look at your profile and also would like to keep you informed. I'm new to this and do not have any friends as of yet. I've asked Catcon and now I'm asking you if I may add you as a friend. Again thank you for your insight.

mamacita5's picture
mamacita5
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2010

Please go ahead and add me as a friend! Hope you had a good day!

12431954
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2011

My husband age 56yrs nonsmoker for 15 yrs, was diagnosed with stage 3B NSCLC on Nov 13th symptoms just a simple toothache for 2 months, visited gym daily running on a treadmill. He is being treated at Columbia Pres Hosp in Manhatten and has had 2.5 cycles of chemo with 1 to 2 more cycles to come and 12 rad treatments of scheduled 37 to date. Yes his hair and beard started coming out into the 2nd week which was tramatic for him but fixed that within hours by shaving the remainder off and he looked and felt really good about his new look and wear hats with shamrocks, looks really handsome. Oh yeah you can walk your dog as he walks his beloved beagle Mandy daily, Oh yeah you can socialize on good days which by the way will be many during the month, Oh yeah he goes to work after his treatments which he schedules in the am, weight loss just after the first chemo treatment 10 lbs but regained 10 lbs plus within 2 weeks, nutritionist at hospital gave us a book Eating Well Through Cancer by Holly Clegg and Gerald Miletello, M.D., basically eat lots of small meals daily but a good breakfast, did I mentioned he now thinks he is overweight! Oh yeah there will be fatigue but my husband goes to bed earlier then usual and doesn't overdue it which he found out the hard way, YOU CAN'T SHOVEL SNOW AT LEAST NOT THE ENTIRE DRIVEWAY. Oh yeah that depression thing is a nuisance but if you think positive, remain hopeful and believe me there is HOPE, rely on family, friends, faith and support groups in your area (contact the American Cancer Society, so so helpful) or internet you will get through this. Above all stay away from negative people and their opinions, take one day, one hour, one minute if necessary at a time, disregard statistical numbers as they mean absolutely nothing. There are thousands of cancer survivors out there who had stage IV cancers and are still living their lives years after being diagnosed. Hope this is helpful, God Bles you and may his peace be with you daily.

Brisk
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2011

Your insight was awesome. Thanks for all the information. You know, I never really worried about the hair until I realized I was going to lose my eyebrows and eyelashes. That's when I really got scared and depression tried to sneak up on me.

Did you all have to visit the Palliative Care folks?

Dan620
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 2009

Hello Brisk, I was DX in May 2008 one month before my 66th birthday... NSCLC 3b .... I had chemo (Taxol & Cabolatin) once every 3 weeks and Radiation 5 days a week for 7 weeks all at same time, hair started falling out about 12 days after 1st chemo ( had 4 sessions of chemo) some nausea would hit me the 3rd day after, had medication for it and helped alot. Radiation took less than 15 min. each. My worse side effect was Esophagitis from the rads, made eating very hard, lost 17 lbs. (not every one gets this from the rads) .... Fatigue hit me hard 3 weeks afer last of my tratments that lasted about 5 weeks. I am now in remission and can do just about anything including a lot of snow shoveling lately. Just want you to know it was all worth it and you can do it also. I hope this helps U ... Best wishes and stay postive.... Dan620

Dan620
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 2009

eRROr

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

add me as your friend absolutely. That's why we are here

Greggriggs's picture
Greggriggs
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

Hi Brisk.
All of us are different so I guess you will be able to tell your story also.
I remember almost 5 years ago after the first chemo treatment it was not bad the first day.
But I got sick the next day.
Every time I took the chemo I got a little sicker .
And like you I did not know what to expect.
I got so sick I thought I was going to die .
Then I had a friend who had cancer come an visit me. She told me there was not a spot on her that did not hurt.
That was when I realized I was going to live.
She told me the truth and it helped me a bunch .
My hair came back curly and thicker so you don't have ta worry about that.
you will figure out what is best a wig or scarf . Just because I am a guy I just wore a hat.

I wish you all the best hope you recover fast an you just beat that cancer with all the fight you have.
God bless you and all the people that love you.
Greg

Greggriggs's picture
Greggriggs
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

Hi Brisk.
All of us are different so I guess you will be able to tell your story also.
I remember almost 5 years ago after the first chemo treatment it was not bad the first day.
But I got sick the next day.
Every time I took the chemo I got a little sicker .
And like you I did not know what to expect.
I got so sick I thought I was going to die .
Then I had a friend who had cancer come an visit me. She told me there was not a spot on her that did not hurt.
That was when I realized I was going to live.
She told me the truth and it helped me a bunch .
My hair came back curly and thicker so you don't have ta worry about that.
you will figure out what is best a wig or scarf . Just because I am a guy I just wore a hat.

I wish you all the best hope you recover fast an you just beat that cancer with all the fight you have.
God bless you and all the people that love you.
Greg

Brisk
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2011

I want to thank you all for taking the time out to reassure me, pass on helpful information and make me realize that I DON'T HAVE TO GIVE IN TO THIS THING!!! I'm ready to battle after reading all of your post. I must be just as strong mentally as I am physically.

What I've learned is that everyone's side effect from the treatments are different. I will keep you all posted on how I'm doing. Also, would like to invite you all as friends.

Monday is the big day and I'm ready for battle.

Dapsterd's picture
Dapsterd
Posts: 291
Joined: Jun 2010

Hello --hard to describe the changes forthcoming. I was dx in June 2010 with same condition and exact treatment it looks like. You will get severe burns to chest and back more than likely, you will lose your hair, I gained weight, and yes you can walk dogs, probably not too far, because you will not feel like it. You may dislike coffee even if you were a heavy coffee drinker, you may dispise pizza-even though you loved it a month before, etc....

I took work off and still off, I do not see how I could have worked in my management position, more mentally drained than physically.

I went through chemo and rads ok, but caught strep/pneumonia and laid me up in hosiptal for 3 plus weeks, I am currently on home IV antibiotic infusion for about another two weeks.

Today I was told the surgery that thought was possible now is not as the main tumor is infringing on the main artery, so the whole lung would have to be removed, surgically do-able, but my left lung operates at 1/3 due to COPD so surgery is out.

I am in wait and watch maintenance mode, lymphnodes show no cancer now, and main tumor is down 50% in size......we will see, stay tuned into this site, very informative.

Best wishes...I am here to give you all of my experience!!

ps, my hair is now more soft, salt and pepper and wavy, it was brown and straight!!!!! this is not uncommon. But everybody justs loves it !!

Dave

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