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My dad has SMALL cell lung cancer - Please please read

jasamarenumberone
Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi everyone, my name's Marianna and I just joined this site today. My dad is a 7 month survivor of SCLC.

In June, he was having shortness of breath problems, they did a biopsy and said it was small cell lung cancer. They said it was one of the lungs only. He went through four cycles of chemotherapy - carboplatin and etoposide. After the third cycle of chemo, they did a CT scan of his chest and there was no evidence of cancer found. But the doctor still gave him the fourth round of chemo. After that, my dad received chest radiation - this was hard for him because he had difficulty swallowing and painful. So his doctor gave him a break, and he continued chest radiation. Then my dad was having eye problems, and headaches. So they did an MRI of the brain, and saw that there is cancer in the brain. They were spending so much time on his chest radiation when there was cancer moving to the brain. I'm just thinking - why couldn't they have treated the brain sooner, before the cancer had spread there instead of focusing on chest radiation when the scan revealed no more cancer in his lung. So they did brain radiation daily.

A week ago we took him to the ER because my dad wasn't able to walk well, he wasn't breathing well. Well, once you go the E.R you are stuck there. They do so many tests and blood work that you get stuck. They did numerous stress tests, chest x rays, ct scans, you name it. The heart doctor said there is blockage in his heart, so he did an angiogram. He put a stent in my dad's heart. As soon as my dad was recovering from the angiogram procedure, his temperature went up and they said he has an infection. He somehow caught pneumonia in the hospital. Now, I realize that treating pneumonia isn't a big deal for any old person that catches it, but for a lung-cancer patient, curing it isn't so simple. My dad got stuck in the hospital fighting pneumonia for over a week. They gave him antibiotics but he's not able to walk or stand because he can't breathe well. His lungs are already damaged due to the cancer and this pneumonia is the last thing he needed. Before he went to the E.R. he was able to walk, and now he can't even walk at all. :( And he refuses to eat. We visited his heart doctor today and he said the heart is good. His oncologist said he wants to do a PET scan in two weeks. My poor dad, he was doing well and now he's so weak. All he wants is to get his strength back and walk. That's all. If anyone has any comments or advice, I would love to hear it.

And, If anyone could please give me links to SCLC survivor stories I would appreciate it. I read the "Johnny the Razor" survivor story someone posted here and found it so inspiring and uplifting. I am 23 years old, and I just want my dad to get his strength back and be a survivor! He is only 65 years old and this is so difficult for him and it's killing me as well. This is such a great site, where we could give each other hope and love and share positive stories.

bradygirl
Posts: 31
Joined: Aug 2010

I try and take it one day at a time. Your dad seems to be a fighter.It may take some time to get his strenghth back but slow progress is key.Positive outlook and good support have helped me thru this journey.Will keep your family in my prayers.MaryAnn

jasamarenumberone
Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2011

Thank you so much for responding, MaryAnn. I appreciate your kind words. Yes, my dad is a fighter - all he wants is to live. You will be in my prayers as well.

dmcl11
Posts: 22
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Marianna my name is dave. Oct. 09 i was diagnosed with lung cancer, had radiation and chemo at the same time.Had cat scan all was good but dr gave me another round of chemo anyhow.All was good until Sept 2010 awful headaches went to hosp had mri they found what they called lesions in 2 spots. They did conventional surgery on my brain to remove one and gamma surgery to remove the other. I came home and a month later had chills and fever back to hosp but got lucky was able to shake virus after 3 day stay. Aside from a nagging cough everything has been good since.Going for cat scan and mri in about 3 weeks for latest check-up. Hope this may have helped your dad is not alone. Best of luck to you both. Dave

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Best wishes, buddy.

I would personally have that nagging cough checked out (that is how we discovered my lung cancer to begin with, a persistent, and in my case little, cough that would not go away).

Enjoyed meeting you and look forward to continued conversations.

Take care,

Joe

Happyjack50
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Maryanne,

Your story makes me sad....I hate to hear of anyone suffering from this devil of a disease..I have stage 3 B diagnosed in Nov 2009....I had two types of chemo and 35 days of radiation...6 months later pulminary embolism...that is finally getting a bit better...extremely painful...BUT....I heard very early on....that the only statistic that matters is mine...and with that I was told to NEVER>>>EVER >>NEVER>>>give up... I am a spiritual man...and love my God...I know that I am in his hands..today and everyday. I am 60 years young...and am pretty sure that I am cancer free at this time...

So I say...look for God's will...pray that God be merciful...and that your dad doesn't suffer much...and know that when God says our time is up...it is time...and not a minute before...Have your dad shave , shower and dress like a healed man every day in the hospital and out...Pray for God's will and direction...This is a terrible disease..but I assure you that there are survivors...

your friend

Jack

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Sad to say, when someone gets cancer in the lungs (among other places) the first place they typically visit with an MRI is the brain. Some types of lung cancer (and there are more than one) find a trip to the brain rather inviting and take the first opportunity to do so.

When cancer was discovered in my right lung (lower right lobe) before they did much of anything else they did a brain MRI. If it was there, you can be sure, my days were likely numbered, or to put it less harshly, they were not going to operate but instead work with rads and chemo to try to keep it in check. This they do, by the way, with some success.

Treatment is typically based on not just the extent of the cancer, but also the health, weight, and age of the patient. In some cases, frankly, the chances that treatment will kill the patient outweigh any advantages of giving it a shot. In other cases, the extremely difficult job of balancing quality of life versus quantity of life weighs against treatment.

As for the ER, I would suggest that they had to treat the immediate problem, which had nothing to do with cancer, at least as far as they were concerned. Myself, I am a survivor of non-small cell lung cancer, and on the night before I was to leave, I went over the edge pain-wise, and it was eventually determined that I had a staph infection (MSSA). They first treated for a pulmonary embolism while waiting for the doctor, because that is their job: treat what you see. Do your best to save the patient for THIS condition. It sounds like that is what they did. You can fault them now, but it sounds as though they saved your dad's life.

For that moment.

That there are subsequent problems is a shame, and I commiserate with your dad and his family, but the medical folks have to deal with the moment (my wife is a nurse, so I am probably biased, but also somewhat knowledgeable about the choices they have to make).

I wish the very best for your dad and his family. You are clearly a special daughter who cares greatly for her dad. I am lucky to have such a daughter myself.

Take care,

Joe

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