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Left Lobe brain cancer metastasized from small cell lung cancer--prognosis?

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2010

My wife was treated for small cell lung cancer for six months beginning in January, 2008.
She had a combination of chemo and radiation therapy that finished off with brain radiation.
Last week, a brain MRI revealed a 1.5 cm tumor. The neurosurgeon says it is operable, easily accessible, and can be fully removed. Operation scheduled in Pensaclola Sacred Heart Hospital for May 11
The doc has made it sound like a walk in the park. Four days post op in hospital, some unspecified recovery time, and then back to the new normal.
I would appreciate more specific information on what to expect the impact of the operation will be on her ability to function as she does now, before the operation.
Thank you.

Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2010

i found out that it went to my brain two weeks ago. I have been getting radiation. I have four more treatments. I meet with my doctor tomorrow. I will ask him. Brain surgry sounds scary to me.Keep me posted as I will You. God Bless

Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2010


Hello. First, let me say that outcomes are highly dependent on patient characteristics, tumor characteristics, and luck.

That said, brain surgery is less scary than it sounds. My mom has just turned 61 when she two brain surgeries within 10 days of each other in late January. By the second day after each surgery, she was taking a few steps. A week after the second surgery, she was back at home and walking without support. She's had no deficits (i.e., no motor problems). I do know of individuals who have emerged from surgery with motor deficits, and they all recuperated to most or some extent.

Three months after surgery and only a few weeks after finishing radio/chemo, my mom is back to her old routine. She is working, goes to the gym for two hours four times a week, goes grocery shopping, throws dinner parties, etc... Her only limitation is that she has not been given permission to drive yet.

No one can guarantee what your wife's progression will be. But, there is reason to be hopeful that life can go back to near-normal afterward in some cases, at least for some time.

I also found that it really helped my mom that I knew what the do's and dont's were for each week of post-op recovery. And, I made sure she kept to the schedule. When she was supposed to start walking a mile, she started walking a mile. When she was supposed to bathe alone, she started bathing alone. I would tell her that she at least had to try. If she tried something and she could not do it, then I or her caregivers would agree do it for her. But, she had to at least try to meet the benchmarks for post-op progression.

I also insisted that she start building her motor and cognitive skills as soon as possible. I think this was a key step in her recovery. For example, the day after her surgery, while she was still in the ICU, I insisted that she try to feed herself. I would cut the meat for her, but she would grab the fork and feed herself. Doing things for herself not only helped her brain rebuild pathways and coordination, but it also gave her some self-esteem. I also bought her tons of logic puzzle, math elementary school workbooks and memory puzzle books, and I encouraged her to play games like Tetris, for example etc...

And, don't listen to nay-saying doctors. According to my mom's doctors, she would never get her old life back. Well, except for the driving bit, she has her old life back, at least for now.

Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2010

Also, resist the urge to be overprotective. Boost your wife's confidence, be there for her, reassure her. But, make sure you let her know she is still a grownup, she is still self-sufficient.

When I returned home (I live in the US, and she lives overseas), my mom was left in the care of overprotective aunts and family members for about a month. She began to feel that since they could not leave her unsupervised for one second, that there was something seriously wrong with her. She started having terrible panic attacks.

I found that it was really important to show the her that she could become independent again. But, to do that, we could not be overprotective. (Later on, I found an article in a medical journal that argued that one of the problems glioblastoma patients face is that they lose their independence and self-confidence because caregivers refuse to leave them unsupervised.) So, as it becomes possible, give your wife her space, resist the urge to overprotect.

Good luck!

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007

I had brain mets from NSCLC - the neurosurgeon removed the largest tumor, I was home two days later, no pain. Had to take steroids to prevent swelling, and Keppra, to stave off seizures, and Pepcid to deal with the effect of the steroids on my stomach...:P A couple of weeks later I went to the neurosurgeon's office to have the staples taken out, with a staple remover!

The surgery was easy, it really was. If you are not having whole brain radiation afterwards, then it pretty much is, as your Dr portrayed it, a walk in the park :)

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