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Thread: Dad has Stage IV Lung Cancer

  1. #1
    Senior User
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    Dad has Stage IV Lung Cancer

    My dad was diagnosed 2/2/2012 with Stage IV Lung Cancer with METS to the Brain, Spine, Bones, Adrenal Glands, Lymph Nodes, Omentum, ribs (pretty much all over). He is scheduled to begin Whole Brain Radiation on Monday 2/27. His Ondologist gave him a prognosis of 1 - 3 months without Chemo and suggested radiation to reduce complications from the tumors in his brain. The radiologist told us that he has 10 tumors in his brain the size of marbles and a very large mass in his neck (Brain Stem/top of spine). My concern is the radiologist told my father he had 7 months. He told us that the oncologist told us 1 - 3 months to scare my father into doing radiation. He said Oncologists do this a lot to scare patients into treatment. My father is refusing Chemo because he does not want to endure the side effects. His mother passed from Lung Cancer 21 years ago and he does not want to endure what she did so he has made peace with the 1 - 3 months. I found my fathers Oncologist to be very supportive of my dad's decisions and due to the METS thru his body said Radiation to his brain would give him a better quality of life but would not prolong at all. This Radiologist upset me because my father was OK with the 1 - 3 month prognosis. When he heard the 7 months he panicked. Has anyone ever heard of a radiologist changing the prognosis? This guy will not be administering the WBR, he was sitting in for another Radiologist that was out on vacation. On top of all of this my dad had a Heart attack on Sunday 2/19 and refused all life saving measures. He survived it and is now staying with me while he goes thru radiation. He is nervous for radiation because he does not know what to expect. His main hope is to avoid nausea and vomiting. He is ok with losing his hair, but does not want to spend his final months with nausea and vomiting.

    I know I'm rambling, but this is new to me and I'm trying to learn as much as I can to help my father thru the next few weeks.

  2. #2
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    Hello lalle,

    I am so sorry that your Dad is so sick. I am angry that this radiologist was such a *&*(. Your oncologist is correct in his assessment of your Dad's prognosis. I hated being feeling fooled by the treatment team into thinking that my mom had longer than she did. My family doctor was honest with me and I appreciated that. That being said, surviving a heart attacke at this point - he is one tough guy. Expect the worse ad hope for the best - whatever that looks like.

    There really is nothing you need to learn that you don't already know how to do. Be there for him, support his choices, live every day that you have left together. Let your dad know that you are happy to do anything he needs, that he is never being a burden because you feel so helpless that any little thing you can do is better than nothing. That you will be okay and that you love him. You can't be his doctor or his nurse, you can be his daughter - the best one you got.

    Hopefully the radiation will help with the brain mets, but keep an eye out for nausea and vomiting. I suppose it can be a side effect of the rads but, in my experience, it will be the tumours that can cause this. Take it seriously and take your dad in for a check if it happens. It never hurts to make sure.

    Never worry about rambling, I do it all the time and I am almost 2 years out. We are here to listen and help as much as we can. None of us can tell you how long you have left with your dad we can only hope along with you that it is quality time and reassure you that you will, in time, find peace.

    Hugs and hope,

    Lori

  3. #3
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    Hi lalle,

    So so sorry to read about your Dad, Dad's are great (most of the time ))) and they are meant to always be there no matter what. Sounds like you Dad means alot to you and it's sad you have had to come here for answers, bless all your hearts.


    There are lots of lovely people on here to offer you answers to your questions but in all honesty speaking with your Dad's oncologist is the best thing ever. Your Dad can get tablets to control the vomiting if this occurs and also for heart burn as my Mum had heart burn through having radiotherapy. I guess and you no doubt have or are doing, will be sat at your laptop searching through different sites for answers, have been there myself as my Mum also has stage 4 lung cancer. The most important thing now is to be there for your Dad, stop reading and searching and God I know its hard as I have done it too, but it makes no difference really it doesn't. You never ever imagine your Mum or Dad not being there anymore and when things like this happen you panic, you will sit and search, read, look up till all hours of the morning learning about things you should never need to know and for what.......yes knowledge and that's not a bad thing and beacuse you want to help.

    The best thing you can do for your Dad is to be there and spend as much time together. By what you have written your Dad sounds like a great strong man, it will be tough on all of you and I send you my love xxx

  4. #4
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    Hi lalle, Welcome to our Forum but very sorry that you need to be here. I'm sorry to hear about your Dad. I just wanted you and your Dad to know that the side effects from whole brain radiation are not bad. My Dad was also diagnosed with stage 4 and also had mets to the brain. He had 5 whole brain radiation treatments as well as radiation to his right lung. He also did not want chemo, nor was it offered. He wanted to ensure that his time left had some quality. Anyhow...the radiation to his brain caused him to lose about half his hair...it didn't look bad just a little thinned out. About a week after the radiation he found himself more tired and a little weaker. The steroids that they put him on to offset any brain swelling increased his appetite and gave him a little more energy. All in all, he did not regret having the radiation done. It's pretty successful in shrinking brain tumors and having his brain impaired. I know you've travelled this road with your Mother before, but this can't be easy on you or your Dad. I'm sorry that you are once again facing this beast. My Dad stayed with me after he was diagnosed and although it was tough, I wouldn't have traded that time with him for anything in the world. This forum helped me alot and gave me support and advice when I needed it the most. Try to remember that the prognosis a doctor gives is just based on outdated statistical averages and his best guess... everyone responds differently to lung cancer and you just never know how much time is left. Only God knows that for sure. My Dad was given 6 months and we only had 10 weeks with him after he was diagnosed. It's a sad sad journey but we're here if you need to lean on someone. Let us know how he's doing ....God Bless.
    Irish
    Irish,
    Caregiver to my Dad, who was diagnosed in June 2010 with Stage 1V NSCLC with single met to brain,
    He sadly lost his battle in August 2010 and we miss his smiling Irish blue eyes terribly.
    My Dad's story:
    http://www.cancerforums.net/threads/...th-how-he-died.

  5. #5
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    Thank you all for your responses. I have found my fathers Oncologist to be very open and honest with us. Unfortunately my dad did live 2 hours away from my home so I need to find another Oncologist. I'm waiting on an appt with him. I needed to have all his records and path reports sent to me to bring with to the new doc and I just finished reading those reports. We've seen the PET scan on CD and saw how much the cancer has spread. It's quite shocking to see all the spots thru out his body. In reading the report, I see more areas that his cancer has spread to. He has mets to his pelvis, liver and pancreas as well as many other areas in his upper body. I don't know how he is not in any more pain now. He really is one tough man. He is currently taking morphine 30mg 2 times a day (time release) Vicodin and also the steroids to control the swelling in the brain. I have noticed that he is confused a lot more and does have some memory problems now. But I swear to look at him and talk with him you would never know what was going on. I do plan on contacting Hospice today to discuss the future. I fear that this will all happen rather quickly, since 2/2 he has lost 20lbs so he is losing weight drastically. The steroids are giving him his appetite back and he is hoping to gain weight back, but I don't think that will happen for him. Again, his biggest fear is pain and burdening his kids. I tell him constantly not to worry about us, we will be fine and that I am happy to take care of him while he goes thru this.

    Today is his first WBR treatment so he is understandably nervous about that. Again, than you all for your kind words.

  6. #6
    Senior User breannishome's Avatar
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    Lalle09,

    I am new to this as well. My mom was diagnosed 2 weeks ago. This will actually be my first reply to someone. I wish you all the best today with your dad and his WBR treatment, hopefully things will go smoothly. Let us know how it goes.
    Breann

  7. #7
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    Well, my father had his first whole brain radiation treatment. Radiologist told him he could eat when he got home, he had a very small bowl of beef stew and within 15 min vomited it all up. Doc told him there would be no vomiting and after 1st treatment he vomits. Is this normal?

  8. #8
    Top User emilyloveslime's Avatar
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    IMO vomiting and nausea could be a side effect of the radiation. I feel like the doctor shouldn't make blanket statements like that. The internet seems to say that nausea is a less common side effect, but not unheard of. My boyfriend got WBR but didn't get any nausea...but again, he hasn't any nausea with any of his treatments.

    http://www.oncolink.org/experts/arti...?id=2368&ss=21
    Boyfriend, 25, dx'ed Stage IV NSCLC 6/29/11. Malignant pleural effusion, liver/spine/lymph mets. Adenocarcinoma w/unknown primary! So confusing.

    Jul '11: 2 cycles Carboplatin/Alimta (failed)
    Oct '11: Docetaxol/ramucirumab/Xgeva/Neulasta
    Dec '12: Liver met growth
    Jan '13: 10+ brain mets, 2 wks of WBR
    Mar '13: CDK 4/6 inhibitor trial (failed)
    May '13: Tested ROS1+
    June '13: Xalkori clinical trial for ROS1+
    Aug '13: Liver mets gone, lung spots gone. Doing great so far!
    Mar '14: Leptomeningeal progression. Ommaya reservoir put in for intrathecal methotrexate.
    May '14: Tolerating chemo, hoping for good news...

    Blog: http://ros1positive.wordpress.com/

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Top User
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    Hi lalle, hard to say if the radiation caused the vomiting. It is not usual but it is possible. I could also be a stomach bug or even nerves from all this stress. Mention it to the doctor and they can get him on some anti nausea medication that should work. My Dad never had any nausea. How is he feeling now?
    Irish
    Irish,
    Caregiver to my Dad, who was diagnosed in June 2010 with Stage 1V NSCLC with single met to brain,
    He sadly lost his battle in August 2010 and we miss his smiling Irish blue eyes terribly.
    My Dad's story:
    http://www.cancerforums.net/threads/...th-how-he-died.

  10. #10
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    Irish, he is doing better. He did have some toast about 4 hours after the treatment and was fine. My brother is taking him to his treatment today and will ask about the anti nausea meds for him. He's also going to eat a little a few hours before treatment today. He showed me where they did the radiation which was in 3 areas. Whole Brain, middle of spine and tail bone area. My father told me that he told the docs last week when they were doing the planning session that he wasn't sure if he wanted to do the spine at all, but then when he went yesterday he decided to do those areas too. So, the spot for the middle of the spine is right above his stomach. I'm thinking that is what caused the vomiting. I thought they would go thru the back, but they are going from the top of his stomach so I wonder if that's the issue. They also changed his sessions from 10 to 15 total sessions.

 

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