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Rick F
Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2012

Hello all, I found this site and recently registered.. What a wonderful site full of compassion and information. My wife of 44 (65) years was diagnosed in July with Stage IV lung cancer that spread to her brain, adrenal gland, and femur. She has just finished her 4th round of carbo/taxol, 3 on 1 off. He has planned on 6 rounds prior to maintenance of 3 off, 1 on. Her PET scan last Friday was described by her DR as stable/slightly progressive. Growth of the leison on her adrenal gland and additional "spots" on the liver. He is planning on changing her chemo to a recently FDA approved Abraxane/Gemzar for lung cancer in hopes that the progression ceases. Does anyone have any experience with the protocol?? As her care giver, I am especially interested in side effects and quality of life which I rate as poor now.

ColoradoDani's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

you're going through this. I know how devasting this diagnosis is to the whole family. I have no experience with the chemo regimen you're asking about, so I can't help you there. I do, however, have two really different experiences with lung cancer. My husband was diagnosed almost 2 years ago with stage 3b lung cancer. He is and was very healthy (despite the lung cancer) and tolerated chemo and radiation quite well and lived well and easily for about 8 months, then it recurred. He's on Tarceva now and doing well. Aside from some bumps in the road, he's doing great, exercising (he's on a soccer team, runs, hikes, etc.). You would never know this is going on if you weren't told. About 18 months ago, my mother-in-law at age 75 had lung cancer with mets to the brain, tried one session of chemo, suffered from that to the point of compromising her quality of life and quit. She passed away a couple of months later and never fully regained any quality of life. I don't know that it had to with chemo or the cancer.

I guess my point is that quality of life probably has a lot to do with the quality of health prior to the cancer, but each patient is different, so some stage iv patients can respond and do well on maintenance chemo for months or even years (my mother-in-law's doc told us about a woman he worked with that had chemo once a month for 5 years and had good quality of life with stage 4 cancer). Also, this question might be worth disucussing with your MD since he/she may be waiting for you to broach the subject and can present some good information. What does your wife think? What does she want? Her opinion obviously would be the most significant determinant (at least in my opinion). She may need to know she tried everything to combat the cancer, or is ready to try something less aggressive or nothng at all. Good luck with this decision and fact finding. These are difficult, painful decisions. I have found that getting all the facts laid out makes the decision making much easier, though. Usually, there is a fairly obvious path.

Rick F
Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2012

Thank you for your reply. I am glad your husband is doing well & wish you both the best, at the same time feel for your family regarding mother-in-law. My wife's oncologist is excited about the trial results of the new treatment. My wife was a little sad that after 4 months of chemo that she was basicaly the same which in a way is a good thing, not growing or spreading. She does want to change to the new meds. So we are going forward in hopes that the cancer responds positively.

ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

I also want to thank you for your reply. I am a refugee from Head and Neck Cancer. I have had my vocal cords removed. Now a PET found stuff in my lungs. I need to wait a couple of weeks to find out what the stuff is. There is a good chance that I'm a traveler on this road.

The history you provided about your husband and mother-in-law gives a lot of balance for the journey in front of me. I must remember there are some better than average outcomes. Rick.

Posts: 793
Joined: Mar 2011

Welcome to one of the most supportive places you can be. There are many survivors and caretakers here with an amazing quantity of experience and they are generous in sharing what they have learned. Someone may check in soon who had been a part of the clinical trial. In the meantime, the oncologists who monitor the website at cancergrace.org may be able to help you. I would be very interested in hearing about your experience as I expect that this will be an option for me in the future (far distant future).

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