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Mother diagnosed with brain mets

JulieBee
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2005

Hello
I've just joined tonight. My mother was diagnosed with Non small cell lung cancer stage IV in March of 04. She has been through two chemos now, radiation-- and I just learned today that mets have been discovered to the brain. (3 spots- largest 2 cm) She- I- the whole family is just beside ourselves in grief. The immediate recommendation is whole brain radiation- 5 sessions. I have so many questions....and as a breast cancer survivor (for now- 5 years in remission), I know I learned more from others going through this than from any doctor or website. So, so many questions.
*What side effects can she expect from 5 sessions? Everything I read references 10+
*Does it make sense to pursue Gamma knife radiation- even with multiple lesions? Her life expectancy is not terribly long at this point as it is-- wouldn't it provide better quality of life at this point?
*How, as a daughter, can I support my mother through this. She is in British Columbia and I'm in the US-Midwest. I'm so lost right now.
Any thoughts, recommendations, honest replies sought....

gssweetpea
Posts: 5
Joined: May 2005

My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (non-small cell also)with mets to her bone. Her prognosis (told to the family) was 3-6 months. She went thru chemo and radiation to her hip and thoracic spine and suffered terribly from all of that. It turned her bone to mush. Her hip bone broke and had she had to have a hip replacement. They called that surgery and the chemo and radiation palliative care. She lived 7 months and her quality of life during that time was very poor though she tried so hard not to be cheerful. She would not talk about her illness or end of life issues, that was hard to deal with.
I felt like the Dr's in a way lied to us because the treatment did nothing but make her very ill. I wish she had not gone thru all the chemo and radiation that she did. It did no good in my eyes.
I cried the whole 7 months she lived (privately ofcourse) and then for about 2 years I was morbidly depressed. I know where you are and I'm so sorry. My mom was 55 when she died.
I prayed to let me take her place. Don't do that.
Five yrs later I had a metastatic brain tumor which was later found to be from the lung. My brain and lung ca type was adenocarcinoma. I had 12total brain irradiation treatments after the brain tumor was removed. I think the treatments affected my short term memory terribly and scar tissue from it worsens it. Having radiation to my head was unpleasant due to smelling my brain "cook" mostly but it was also extremely fatiging. I don't know anything about gamma ray radiation.
I'm 5 yr survivor of brain cancer, a 4 yr survivor of stage 1 lung cancer and both sites were operable.
In my father's cancer case he had lung cancer with brain mets(6 tumors)--small cell carcinoma. His Dr's were doing chemo and radiation on him and he lived about 2 months........didn't even finish the course of treatment.
If her prognosis is poor an honest answer from the Dr. re' the benefits to be expected from whole brain radiation is needed. I had radiation to my brain after surgery. Ask them about gamma knife also.
I hope this helps you some. God Bless

lrrabatt128180
Posts: 23
Joined: Sep 2004

I totally feel for you. My mom had tumor on the lung, and a few months later, 6 brain mets. They told us 3-6 mos. too. Well, I dont take stuff lying down, nor do I take the word of a lazy, uninformed oncologist. We took my mom to have a procedure called Cyberknife. It is not really new, but it is in that only recently are hospitals recognizing it's value over GammaKnife and other treatments and investing in the machine and software. Please, please find your mom a CyberKnife center and have her come to you. There are none currently in Canada. I'm from outside Chicago. We took my mom to CyberKnife in NW Indiana (St. Catherine's Hospital in East Chicago, IN). This is a non-invasive radiation surgery that is painless, accurate and better than GammaKnife in that there are no frames required, it's more accurate, and other technical stuff I can't really re-explain, but you can research it yourself. It will work on her brain mets, and tumors elsewhere if any. At some point, I do agree, treating to be treating, as in the reply you rec'd is sometimes worse than letting the person live a quality life. But this treatment will not cause side-effects like described. Only side-effect was that it caused my mom to get really tired every day after the treatment and the other side-effect was improvement in her symptoms. Go to www.cksociety.org for more info and to find a location near you. Please dont give up right now. I agree Whole Brain Radiation caused memory loss and confusion in my mom. But CyberKnife is a blessing and an answer to my and many others' prayers who have been told to go home and die. Good Luck.

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