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feeling fine then BAM! Stage 3 lung cancer

dawnsfight
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2011

Last week I was busy keeping up with my kids 10 and 12, making long term plans, etc. Next thing I know my dr is telling me I have stage 3 LC (inoperable)! WHAT?! I immediately asked for a do-over. I am truly frightened and feel like everyone is dragging their feet. I had to push to get the Bronch next Monday. My dr told me that a couple of weeks won't make a difference...to him! Yes, I smoked for years, quit many times then quit 6m ago. My doc was a little judgemental in the delivery of this devastating news. I've been reading a lot about the LC stigma on this site. Makes me want to ask rude people if sun worshipers deserve stage 4 melanoma. Sorry I'm all over the place-I'm still in shock. By the way...why aren't we throwing all of those tobacco people in jail for pushing drugs?. This whole stigma thing irks me from the lowest funding of all cancers (stigma?) to the rude people (definately stigma)who are bound to make hurtful comments to my daughter and son. I need to focus my anger as I suspect that I will need my energy to beat this thing...I choose life with Hannah and Matthew.

kado4
Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2011

Hello. I read your post yesterday...I thought about how shocked and hurt you are.I think that as you obtain more infomation about your condition, your thoughts will be concentrated on your fight with this beast,rather than about what rude people think.Don't waste your mind/body energy on this.I wish you good luck with your procedure.

You have found a very supportive site.Caring people who understand and you'll learn alot here too.Learn as much as you can.We are here to help. My dad was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer in june of this year stage 3a.very difficult 6 months.He is doing ok for now.He went through chemo and radiation and got through it..He is 77 now will be 78 in april.My mom is doing a great job with him.I am their only child.I am worried alot for him, my mother, and me.its easily to let depression set in. I try not to fall too deep.
So get more infomation and we will help you fight!

Kado.

dawnsfight
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2011

I wish I knew all of you under better conditions but I feel very fortunate to have found you!
I had a bronch yesterday-eeewwww. Dr said my tumor was smaller than he thought (2cm vs 3cm) and the two enlarged lymph nobes showed no cancer but further testing required. Is this good news? I still have pet and mri to get through next week.
I can't believe the strength I hear in all of you. Truly inspirational!!!

dawnsfight

z's picture
z
Posts: 1257
Joined: May 2009

Yes this is good news. If it is operable that is the best way to get a cure. I had a lower right lobe removed on 9-23-10. The cancer was found after having a follow up scan for anal cancer. I quit smoking after 35 years on 5-4-09 before beginning my anal cancer treatment. The best news is that you have found the cancer very early, and any cancers found early is a good thing. I wish you well and keep us posted. Lori

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

Your case sounds like mine, except I never smoked. Feeling great and then "bam" seems pretty much the rule with this condition, or a lot more of us would be caught a lot earlier (3B here, approx. 1.5 years beyond the end of treatment).

I suspect both the stigma and the lack of funding have to do with the pure stats of the matter, sad though it is. If something like 85% of the cases of a cancer could be eliminated by a behavior change on the part of the people at risk, how much money are they going to pour into it? Crass, but that's how life works. Of course, offsetting that is the fact that LC kills more people than all of the other "popular" cancers combined, so you'd think it would rate more dollars than it's getting. I also don't quite comprehend why some kind of screening isn't standard, especially for people who do smoke or have a family history.

The tobacco companies aren't in jail because they're selling a legal product. How we can justify keeping that product legal, however, is totally beyond me. I think if a food or drug were correlated with an illness as deadly as lung cancer, as strongly as is tobacco, that food or drug would be off the market in a NY minute. That it's still being sold is a crime, in my not-so-humble opinion.

You look at that, and you see one thing only: money in the pockets of people with power.

Meanwhile, like kado says, try not to dwell on the negative, and wrap your head around fighting this thing. You will find a lot of support here.

medi_2's picture
medi_2
Posts: 506
Joined: Aug 2009

I would have to disagree with making it illegal. Price would just go up and it would be harder to get. Remind you of something?
Cheers
Medi

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

... to $150 per pack, and put the proceeds to LC research. No, it doesn't remind of prohibition for at least two reasons:

(1) It's a lot harder to hide tobacco barns and fields than it is to hide a still;
(2) You can consume alcohol in moderation. As far as I know, there is no established safe amount of tobacco smoke you should be inhaling.

mybravemom
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

I love reading your comments to others, you are such a brave man! My mom has 3b non small cell as well and for me to read your postings, it makes me feel so comforted. You are so strong and positive! You do not know, but you have helped me tremendously throughout my moms treatment. She is has 6 treatments (radiation) left and then we are done, however another waiting game!

If you do not mind me asking where was your tumor(s)? My moms was behind her left chest cavity attached to a couple of lymphnodes on the same side. She has no Mets anywhere else (thank god for that everyday)

Keep up the positive attitude, you are truly an inspiration for all :)

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

... but in case, thanks for the props! I don't believe in sugar-coating anything, but by golly, if there's any positive to be found, I'm going to pass it on!

My main tumor was on my left main stem bronchus, and was just about asymptomatic (in retrospect, a few things both I and my PCP should have checked into) for a long time, and then got really obvious when 99% of the airflow was blocked off to that side. Still less obvious than you might have thought, because I was a fitness freak at the time (able to blow normal numbers on that funny machine, with 100% blood oxygen saturation). 3B because I had a met to one lymph node on the right side.

It's not always easy to chase away the anxiety, but every scan since end of treatment has shown the bad stuff killed in place, and they recently kicked me out to 6-month scans, so I'm going with it.

Healing mojo to all! We can do this!

mybravemom
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

Yes Ex Rock n Roller,
I was talking to you..LOL sorry not real sure how this site works just yet!I love your attitude, you are correct, why sugar coat the inevitable??? I totally agree. My mom was a symptomatic as well, not a damn thing wrong until she got sick in August and they thought she had Phunemonia (oops not sure of the spelling). which she did, later found out of the mass in her left side (3cmx2.8cm), along with a couple of lymphnodes that were enlarged as well.It all went to hell in a handbasket from that point on! As we all unfortunately know.

Wow, sounds like you had it rough there for a while......well you sound wonderful now, keep up the good work and the positive attitude, like I said before you are an inspiration to all. my mom is 79 and really has never been sick, so I roll with it thinking that it will help her beat this horrible thing they call cancer!!!!

We will beat it we can do it you are right. What kind of cancer did you have? My mom has Sarcotomous Carcinoma!

Thank you for your brave words of wisdom I only wish you a long and healthy life :):) Hope to talk again

medi_2's picture
medi_2
Posts: 506
Joined: Aug 2009

Don't worry about it being inoperable. Mine was too, ust because of it's proximity to my heart. I also was a smoker, but as a lab tech and tartist I have worked with toxic chemicals all my life. My onco man would not put a cause on the tumor. So to others I say PHOOEY. What is done is done, it is what it is and start your new life right now. Don't worry what others think about your previous habit; you need support now, not negative energy.
I wish you much luck in your journey!
Medi

medi_2's picture
medi_2
Posts: 506
Joined: Aug 2009

I wasn't talking aobut prohibition...

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

My mind-reader is busted again!

medi_2's picture
medi_2
Posts: 506
Joined: Aug 2009

Don't feel bad, I just realized that I called myself a 'Tartist' in the above post! Suprised Soccerfreaks didn't pick up on that one!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Medi

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

Got me laughing, Medi. I was thinking tartist??? Oh, she must mean she a TATTOO artist! Of course I know you are just a plain ol' artist :)

AlanRinHBG
Posts: 120
Joined: May 2011

I was also a smoker but quit 4 years prior to my dx. I was also in construction all through the 70's and on. At 58, I was dxd. with stage 4 nsclc, also inoperable because of spine mets. To be honest, I wasn't even surprised. I was asked a million times if I was a smoker. Given my past lifestyle, I shrugged it all off. I knew that what came next was way more important than dwelling on how I got here. I've learned so much in the past 3 years that I've been in remission. One is that 60% of lung cancer is in never smokers. You will get through this, it is a life changer, but you're going to be OK. Stick around here and you'll find plenty of fine people who will offer you hope and encouragement. Never give up the fight. Looking back plus knowing what the options are, I'm actually glad about not having surgery.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

I think I had every single risk factor OTHER than smoking (and maybe some of that, if you take it to the extreme):

(1) Family history (grandmother with LC; mother with BC)
(2) Autoimmune disease causing me to be on steroids for years
(3) Persistent allergies
(4) A job with exposure to particulates (plastics injection molding)
(5) A job with exposure to chemical fumes (spray paint booth for a short time)
(6) Second-hand smoke (rock-and-rollin' in dive bars before indoor smoking was banned)
(7) Exposure to particulates and smoke during off-work activities (cleaning out at least one 180-year-old house, woodworking, some heating via fireplace with mediocre venting)
(8) Probably five other things that slip my mind at the moment.

Other people totally shrug this kind of stuff off, and the docs of course wouldn't even begin to guess, nor did they ever ask me about potential risk factors other than smoking.

Bottom line, you can't relive your life, and there's no profit in trying. The only thing to do is redirect that energy into kicking cancer's butt!

trspaw's picture
trspaw
Posts: 73
Joined: Jun 2011

I agree also, the hardest thing for me outside the fear of dying and leaving my teenage son, was letting go of the old life. The best thing that has happened to me is learning I have a new normal, it is what it is, you have to make peace with it, decide you are not giving up and get on with the business of living, really living, not standing there with one foot in anymore.

God Bless
Teresa

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

We will be rooting for you Dawn. Try, try, try to have a positive attitude, it makes all the difference in the world. Are you up to yoga? I found that to be an immensely helpful thing to do for myself. A chose a VERY gentle form of yoga that was good for easy stretches and relaxation.

grannylove
Posts: 183
Joined: Apr 2011

Dawn, I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with this! But you do have a great support board here, that's for sure. Everyone on this board has been an inspiration and a source of strength to myself. Please don't beat yourself up because you smoked, today is a new day and like others have said, you need to focus your energies on getting educated on your type of cancer and finding the best treatment options you can. It is a tough road to go but have a good support system of family and friends in place. You are going to need people to go with you to doc visits etc. Your mind is going a million directions right now and having someone go with you to take notes is a good idea. Alot of info at one time! You can do this Dawn, as others before you have. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion if you do not feel comfortable with what you are hearing. Getting educated with research and questions are a very powerful tool. Stay positive and know that we are here for you and we understand what you are going thru. Prayers and positive thoughts to you and hoping for more good news on future tests. Cheryl

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

I too was a smoker, but the type of lc I had was the kind most common to women and non smokers. Like you my dr will only say environmental. But don't worry about rude people, they are just that rude. Focus your energy on being strong to fight this awful thing. And don't pay any attention to the uninformed people out there. I know it is hard but try.

cathy

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