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Dad diagnosed stageIV lung cancer won't start chemo for 2 weeks?

legendsdaughter
Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2009

My dad was diagnosed with stage IV nsc lung cancer last week w/ mets to the other lung & adrenal gland. He has constant pain in his side & stabbing pain in his chest. Dr. gave him percocet, ambien & folic acid. Gave him a prescription to get a brain mri, just in case & an appt to start chemo in 2 weeks. We live in upstate NY & thought we should go to MSKCC, Manhattan but was told an appt would be 3-6 weeks away.
I guess my question is why aren't they starting chemo NOW? How important are 2nd opinions & isn't the first chemo the most important. I feel we should be completely confident in whatever path he should follow. My dad asked the Onc. to be honest with him & she told him he has about 1 1/2 yrs, more or less.
My dad hasn't told me or my sister yet & has only told our mom, who told us. Mom said he was sobbing last night discussing my children & my nephew's future & that he won't be around for it. He plans to tell us right before he starts chemo. It is very frustrating when I'm on the outside when I want to help sooo much.Please help us I think I know time is of the essence.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

First, let me express my sorrow for your dad and his family following this dismal diagnosis. Then, let me suggest that unless dad has an expiration date stamped on his forehead by some omniscient being, he does not have an expiration date: his doctor has given him an idea, based on the statistics that she knows of (probably quite well, I admit), but there are any number of folks on this site who have outlived the dates provided and, in some cases, defied and mystified the doctors altogether.

As to your first concern, the 'wait' for two weeks prior to commencing chemotherapy, please know that cancer happens to be one of those quiet fads that way too many of us are getting into and so those Chemo Palaces are pretty busy. Additionally, it seems from personal experience that the professionals are not so concerned about what cancer might do in the matter of just a couple of weeks.

In my own case (nsclc in lowest right lung lobe) I was diagnosed originally in June of '07 and did not receive my first treatment (a lobectomy) until the end of January '08. It is true that in my case they needed to let it grow, apparently, in order to deal with it effectively (which sounds counter-intuitive to you and me, I know).

Two weeks, to be brief, is a relatively short window, and one you and dad and his family should probably be very happy with.

Me, I would normally encourage you to talk to mom in an effort to get dad to open up about what is going on ... NOW. I am sure it is tearing you (and other family members) up to pretend that you do not know. I cannot even imagine how that is impacting the density of the air when you get together.

But, in this case, if dad has already decided that he will 'announce' upon his first chemo treatment, I would advise that you do your best to hang in there (even though it is probably made harder by the holidays) and let him handle this in the way he thinks best. (I am already changing my mind on this one: tough call!)

I wish your dad and his family and friends the best in what have to be troubling times.

Take care,

Joe

legendsdaughter
Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you for your speedy response!
I guess you're right about 2 weeks not being such a long time to wait but I'm sure it will feel like an eternity.I cry evertime someone says Merry Christmas to me, b/c I know my best present would be to hear that this was all a mistake. Becausse of his mood,I didn't want to buy dad Christmas gifts that would be for sports or the like. I bought him warm up suits so that he can be comfortable for treatment. Is that horrible. He is very depressed. It IS a tough call on whether or not he should tell us now. I see both sides.
Memorial Sloane Kettering ( a mjr. cancer facility here, in case you're not familiar)called my dad & scheduled an appt. w/him to see their Oncologists &/or lung cancer specialist as a 2nd opinion. The problem is that the appt. is for Jan. 13th, 8 days after his 1st chemo treatment is scheduled. I know that the first line treatment is very important so I'm wondering if he should postpone the 1st treatment until after he gets the 2nd opinion(?). I don't think it makes sense to start treatment & then go for a 2nd opinion.
As for my mom, she is a wreck, but so am I for that matter. I keep telling her that we have to be positive. I told her what you said about the dr's. prognosis & she felt comfort in that. I also told her about all of the beautiful survivor stories who have passed "their expiration dates". This is such a wonderful outlet for survivors & their families. You are truly an inspiration!

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

Your dad will be in good hands at Memorial Sloan Kettering, it's an excellent treatment center! I would probably have chosen it myself if it weren't for travel concerns - currently I'm across the river and my Oncology group in Nyack is also wonderful.

Chemosabbi
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2009

Hang in there! There is so much they can do now for your Dad. I was diag. a year ago with stage 4 lung cancer. 2 tumors in my lung then 5 on my brain and one on my spine. In less than one year all eight are gone and I am NED. I take chemo every three weeks and now im on just a small amount. I have already beat the Drs stats. The 2 week period wait is ok. If you like I can get the chemo list of what I took. I do know that when they stopped shrinking they gave me Avastin with the chemo and that cleared them out of my body. My children are what really kept me going. Son 24 and daughter 21. Please stay strong, its a crazy ride at times but so is life. Let me know if there is anything I can do or send you. I will add your Dad and YOU to my prayers.

CCAOG
Posts: 31
Joined: Dec 2009

From what I am learning, the battle with cancer is a lot like a boxing match. There can be several rounds in the fight. Some are able to knock out the cancer in the first round, while others like chemosabbi have many rounds to fight. I am in my second round and hope it will be my last, but am prepared to go more if need be. I am 52, you didn't mention your fathers age. My father, the "LEGEND" was given 2 years. He made it for 6. He told me that if he could have gotten even 1 extra day to be with his family, he would. It's not about how tough the fight is, its about the amount of fight left in the fighter. I'm sure your father will give it everything he has, and with Gods help he will come out on top. I am honoring my father in a relay for life that is coming up in my area. I would like to wish your father, mother, you and your family all the best.

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