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help or advice

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

My fifty-year old brother was diagnosed with stage three-B lung cancer approximately three weeks ago. He started his chemotherapy treatment last Thursday (once a week) along with daily radiation therapy. His health problems include a major heart-attack ten years ago, and he also has AIDS. He became so ill from the chemotherapy he has decided to stop all treatments (after five days) to let the cancer run its course. This site has given me hope, but my brother seems to have given-up. Am I being disrespectful if I try to get him to continue treatment?

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

I only see a guy (or girl!) caring about his brother!
Well, here I go feeling like a shill for Genentech, but has he tried Tarceva? It's a daily pill and the side effects are very manageable, not at all like the chemo that has apparently turned him off. Just make a gentle suggestion to him to speak to his oncologist about it. Good luck, Deb

(edited because I assumed the 69Camaro nickname belonged to a guy. How quickly I've forgotten my own roots, hanging out in garages!)

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

Dear Staying Calm,

Thank you so much for the response. My brother has had a change of heart and is continuing his therapy. I will mention the Tarceva if he stops his treatment. I'll mention it anyway.

As far as the 69Camaro username, my name, Danielle, was already used. I also used to hang out in the garage with my Dad...nice memeories.

Take care.

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

Well, in my case it was my boyfriend's garage, where I learned more than I ever wanted to know about rebuilding old VW engines. My Dad was not much of a mechanic, just a wizard with plants and gardens. I'll be thinking of him tomorrow...

Good luck to your brother.

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

Thank you for sharing your story. Isn't it miraculous where memories are made? I love to garden. Hopefully a house is in my future so I can make my entire yard a garden. I have promised my brother we will turn the garage into an art studio for our future projects.

I just returned from taking my brother to the hospital for his daily Radiation Therapy. He regained eleven pounds since last week! I have been making him lasagna, banana bread, and fruit salad. It is still painful for him to swallow, but I have been trying to get him to visualize himself as Rocky. His cancer is Apollo Creed and my brother needs to have "the eye of the tiger" and keep fighting regardless of the pain. So he is starting to say: "push through the pain."

Now I am looking on Craig's list for a small freezer so he can store the food for longer times.

I hope the person affected by cancer in your life is doing well.

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

Lung cancer diagnosed 2005 (various chemos and a clinical trial drug), brain mets discovered late in 2008 (surgery, WBR), then Tarceva waltzed into my life with a burst of song and sunlight :) In remission since early this year, and my scans last week say I still am.

I never inherited my dad's green thumb, unfortunately, I have one spindly little tomato plant in a big pot on the back porch. But it has tomatoes!

Deb

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

May God bless you forever and a day.

My brother is developing sores and rashes from the chemotherapy and the radiation. I don't even want to imagine his pain. He is half-way through his radiation treatments.

Congratulations on your five-year anniversary and your clear scans!

Good job with the tomato plant!

Danielle

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks for your advice. I feel a little strange being the person talking about cancer on this website when I am healthy. My brother finished his radiation therapy and four out of six chemotherapy treatments. The last chemo put him in the hospital for four days. I will keep the advice you gave me about Tarceva.

Good luck

Danielle

MrBeck
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2010

I was diag'd 3B as well... three and 1/2 yrs ago... and they just let me OFF treatment for three months (this is the second time I've been off!) soo..... you CAN get thru it, you CAN win!

Get your bro's docs to get out the GOOD pain relievers, and tell them not to be "stingy" with it! I took (and continue to take) Morphine AND Oxycodone several times a day. Your brother should be doing something of the like... my oncolo says "no extra points for being a PAIN HERO!" and he is right. If it will help your brother then he ought to have it.

Tell your brother to FIGHT HARD and I'm sure he'll make it thru just like me... and please tell him that my best chemo was prayer.

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks, Mr. Beck. My brother is using the morphine and other pain killers. I am a little concerned, however. his last threee chemotherapies have been cnacelled because of shingle, or dehydration, or low hemoglobin levels. They are continuing his radiation therapy, so I don't know if they will add his chemo on to the end or if he is out of luck. I hope they give him the full treatment so he can wipe-out the cancer.

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soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Interruption of chemotherapy cycles is not uncommon. Reasons include the ones you mention, plus low white blood cell counts, low platelets and I'm rather confident a bunch I didn't experience myself.

In my own experience, I considered those lapses to be minor vacations and relished them. Your bro's OncoMan may want to add any missed sessions at the end. On the other hand, if he feels that they are not getting the job done, or if he feels that your bro is doing super well, he may choose to omit them.

It IS common to miss them. I also suspect, though I am only a survivor and not a professional OncoMan, that these treatments are not exact science, so missing one now and again is probably not as critical as most of us might think.

Best wishes to your brother and his family and friends.

Take care,

Joe

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks for the information. Good luck in your journey.

Danielle

69Camaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2010

Well my brother has had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach. The doctors watched him lose 110 pounds in six months despite our asking at what point will they intervene. I am mortified and grieving for my brother. I don't think he is going to make it. I can't help but think he got second-rate treatment because he is poor.

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stayingcalm
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

I'm sorry to hear this Danielle. Don't go giving up on him though! Is he just unable to keep anything down? Or unable to eat at all? The feeding tube might be a good thing for him. He may yet surprise you.
Hoping for only the best for your brother and for you,
stayingcalm

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