Jul 19, 2013 - 12:17 pm
Sorry I've been so absent the past week or so. We all know what a whirlwind it is between diagnosis and starting treatment, and I've been going through that with Mom. We got the best news we could get under the circumstances. Her PET scan showed only the cancer we already knew about: a lesion in the lung with involvement of a nearby node, and one lesion in the brain. It's good to know it hasn't spread beyond that, since it brightens the progosis just a little and also was something she was really scared of. Her father and brother both died of lung cancer that had progressed much further than hers before it was discovered.
She's had her first 4 whole brain radiation sessions, and she has another 13 scheduled. After she finishes the radiation, she starts on chemo. The medical oncologist will have additional pathology reports by then that will tell us the type of chemo she should have. Lung cancer is so much more common than H&N that it has some of the earliest research and results on targeted and antibody therapies, so if she has a certain mutation she can take chemo by pill rather than IV! So I'm hoping the cancer cells have that mutation.
I was talking to my best friend last night (who I'll get to see while I'm home with Mom) and we're going through something similar. She has a type of MS that causes a lot of pain but goes into remission. Her sister has the kind of MS that, once it starts, moves quickly and never goes into remission. Seeing her sister in such bad shape is rough on her emotionally not just because she doesn't want to see her sister suffer, but also because she's having to deal with her own possible future state. HPV+ SCC had goes to the lungs if you have mets, so it's the same with me and my mom.
I'm really, really glad I'm here though. My mom is really struggling with it emotionally. I think I'm the only one she feels like she can talk to about her fears (and she waits until my dad is downstairs or in bed). I'm able to talk to her about what I learned about living with uncertainty, waiting for scan results, dealing with the treatments, etc. It helps a lot that I can say with 100% honesty that her treatments will not be as rough as mine were. She gets half the radiation (and it's limited to the brain with nothing below the nose), and her chemo is spread out over much longer and at lower doses than mine. It was especially important to explain that survival statistics deal with medians (which means half the patients lived longer... sometimes much longer).
Now that we're settling into the treatment routine, I should be here more often. Glad to see all the posts of folks doing so well, both the people who rode the bus right before or after I did, all the new people doing so well after treatments, and the old timers who show us all the light at the end of the tunnel. :-)