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Chemo questions

nkern's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: Apr 2003

My mom has been diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC and her oncologist is suggesting a mild type of radiation due to her weakened heart and high blood pressure. The chemo is called "allymptal" I am not sure how to spell it. It is a treatment that takes 15 minutes and is given once every 3 weeks. We know she is terminal and this will only buy her a little more time if it works... my question is: Has anyone used this type of chemo and what were the side effects of it for you or your family member.

Thanks for your quick responses.

Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2006

I think the drug you are referring to is Alimta.
My Dad just finished his first round of Chemo. He is not using it, but I have seen it mentioned on this site several times. You may want to do a search in the message board.

Good Luck to you and your mom.

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

To me, also, it sounds like you are referring to Alimta. I have no experience with the drug, but if you type "Alimta" into your search engine, you will find a lot of information. Best wishes and prayers to your Mom and you.

reinstones1's picture
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Hello-- I would strongly encourage you not to refer to your mother as "terminal". Many people, on this board and off, have survived with Stage 4 lung cancer, for many months and/or years. It's so important in this battle to be upbeat and positive. . . and the word "terminal" is neither. If you go into this with the attitude of "this will only buy her a little more time if it works", then you're already entering into this fight with a self-defeating attitude. I tell you this because others here have had to tell me the same thing. Many fine people on this board can be credited with helping me keep my head above water when my mom was first diagnosed in December.

That said, the previous posters are correct-- your mother must be getting Alimta. Alimta is generally used as a second-line treatment. My mother is currently receiving Alimta, 6 treatments total, 3 weeks apart. Her first line treatment was with carboplatin and taxol.

Everyone experiences different side effects. My mother doesn't feel great about 2-3 days after getting the Alimta, but overall, I'd have to say that she's looking better, feeling better, and DOING MORE on the Alimta than she felt on the carbo/taxol (but the carbo/taxol is a much stronger combination). Her hair is also growing back, which helps! (Alimta doesn't cause total hair loss, from what I know).

The weeks and months immediately following a cancer diagnosis are devastating. Try to be positive, for yourself and especially for your mother. Don't read statistics, because it won't make you feel any better. No one doctor can tell you how long your Mother will live. She, and God, will determine that.

My best to you both.

Posts: 5
Joined: Aug 2006

Love what you said about terminal.
My dad has been diagnosed with stage IV NSCLC and I am forcing myself day and night to be as positive as can be. The word terminal does not enter my daily vocabulary at this point. I am hoping it never will.

nkern's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: Apr 2003

Thank you for your advice. I am a cancer survivor of three years and a former hospice worker. I have not said terminal in front of my mother but at this point it does look pretty dismal. She has decided to refuse all treatment and has become very weak. I had not posted the fact that 3 years ago she had a major stroke and massive heart attack that has left her paralyzed on her right side, home bound and with less than 25% of her heart working. She is an amazing woman who bounced back from her stroke and the heart attack with such vigor that I was shocked. I would love to help her fight the fight but I really believe that she is just exhausted and I feel that I must honor her decision. A PET scan is being done today, they believe that the cancer has spread to her liver and possibly her brain.

I absolutely love this site and visit it often under the cervical cancer subject. It has provided much support at scary times. My thoughts are with all of you as you battle for yourself or your loved ones.


ernrol's picture
Posts: 91
Joined: Apr 2006

Listen to what reinstones1 has said. It is good advice. Many of these newer drugs age having spectacular results and bad side effects are not always the case. I took a different drug called Tarceva. I also took Carboplatin and Taxol at the same time. I was stage IV and I am now approaching one year of being cancer free and I have not had a sick day or lost my hair. My story is posted here. If you have any questions about any of the things I did you can e-mail me. You can read my story on my web page, just type ernrol in the search box above, and then click on ernrol to the right; my diet and supplements are to boost my immune system. It is possible for your mother to have many more years Stay Positive, attitude is everything.

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