Ive been doing a lot of research and came across this forum; this is my first time posting. My Dad, 59, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that spread to the brain. Yesterday we found out it is terminal. Im feeling a little lost as the doctors are literally not moving forward with any sort of chemo treatments. When we was first diagnosed the doctors said the tumor(s) in the brain were more important to deal with because he was having seizures from them. He had 10 radiation treatments in 10 days to try and reduce the size of these tumors. During the time of his radiation treatments he had a biopsy done of the tumor in the lung. A week later the results came back and they hadn't actually gotten any of the tumor, just scar tissue that had grown around it. A week later he went back in for another biopsy and then yesterday we got the news of it being terminal. They told him to resume life as is, keep working and doing what he is doing, including smoking the cigarettes that got him where he is in the first place.
I guess I just don't know what I am supposed to do? I live 4 hours away from my family so its hard to see them. My dad acts like nothing is wrong, and thinks it strange that I now want to come home and spend as much time with him as I can. And on top of this all my fiance, who is in the army, is deploying to Afghanistan in two weeks for a year. We are set to get married September 6, 2014 when he returns from overseas. My worst fear is that my dad will die while my fiance is at war, and he won't be there to walk me down the isle. Its hard to take control of your life when everything is out of control.
Couple of things. 1) sorry that you find yourself here. 2) thank you/finance for the service to our country 3) has your dad gone for a second opinion? Preferably at a National cancer center?
At the time - 46 yo male, non-smoker
Sept 2012 - DX - One tumor NSCLC Squamous Cell Right Upper Lung
Oct 2012 - TX - Treatment similar to Pancoast Tumor - Pre-operation radiation and chemo (5.5 weeks of IGRT and 3 cycles of Cisplatin and Etoposide)
Dec 2012 - Surgery - Remove RUL, Surgical Pathology Report Adenocarcinoma T2N0M0
Now - Wait, watch, & pray
I am sorry that you find yourself in this forum, but it is a great place for support in your situation. I agree with Mike, get a 2nd opinion, it never hurts to see what someone at a major cancer center will say. My mom was initially told 6 months, go home and die. That was 23 months ago, she passed away this past Monday and her cancer was small cell, it was very extensive and is a very aggressive cancer. When we saw the Onc here at the University of Chicago, his first words to us were that he could give her several months with good quality of life and he did just that.
My heart goes out to you, I do know what it feels like and I will be sending lots of positive thoughts your way.
Mom's xray July 2011 looks suspicious, CAT scan July 2011 SCLC ES diagnosed August 2011
Etoposide Carboplatin begins august 24th 2011
CAT December 2011 lung tumors gone or greatly reduced, liver tumor not detectable PCR January 2012 CAT March 2012 more shrinkage
CAT July 2012 tumors growing July 2012 Topotecan CAT October 2012 Liver tumor has grown October 2012 Taxotere begins CT scan - no growth - brain mets, WBRT in February, CT Scan in March 2013 shows more growth, begin Gemzar.
Mom passed away July 8, 2013.
Please "vent" away! The folks here will understand and support you through all this.
I hope that your Dad has a local caregiver (wife or significant other). Trying to do 4 hour "hug trips" will be very taxing on you and your Dad.
I'm sure that your Dad understands what is happening and is trying to live his life as normally as possible. Parents always try to take care of their children and acting 'normal' is one way to ease YOUR burden.
As you drift through this Forum, you will notice that advance Stage IV LC is almost as hard on love ones as it is on the patient; (well except for the outcome). BUT, Remember 'terminal' may take years!
I hope your Dad last as long as he can and that you and he enjoy your time together.
Make Memories not Tears!!
Oh, and please don't beat him up over smoking. I'm sure he is aware.
We are all 'terminal'. Birth is the beginning, death the destination, and in-between a treasured journey.
You Dad is coping. Living his life the way he wants to at this stage, is very important. And, certainly, if your Dad agrees, get a second opinion.
I feel that all of us, when faced with our own mortality, will deal with it in a very personal way. Most folks deal with their death, as they dealt with their life.
No matter what the outcome, your Dad will be with you, as you walk down the aisle... in your heart, in your soul, and in your memories.
Prayers for your Dad and family.
Caregiver for Mom, age 89 with Adenocarcinoma Stage IV Lung Cancer
Diagnosed: March 8, 2013
Symptoms: Back ache, fatigue, weight loss, painful chest lump
Treatment: Palliative Care to relieve symptoms; Referred to Pain Specialist on May 3
Meds: (Update May 27, 2013) Fentanyl Patch, Oxycodene, Folic Acid, Dexamethasone, Decadron IV, Zofran IV, Cymbalta
April 12, May 3, May 24: Chemo Alimata (Pemetrexed)
June 17, Re-evaluation: Mets tumors 'stable', primary tumor slightly grown; new round of chemo Gemcitabine (Trade Name: Gemzar) prescribed; moderate right pleural effusion has developed.
July 2-8, Hospitalized with edema, water on the lung; Discharged to Hospice care.
August 2, 2013, Mom slipped quietly into a coma at the end of July and passed on August 2nd. My Story
Sorry that you need to be here, but welcome to our Forum. My Dad too had Stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to the brain. He had already decided that he would not comprimise his quality of life with chemo only to buy some more time. His doctors were of the same mind. He did however have radiation to his brain and lung.
Feeling good enough to hold onto his independence and quality of life were the biggest priority for my Dad, he also felt very strongly about being a burden to his family by prolonging his life if he became dependent on us for his care. (We assured him that he would never be a burden) Nonetheless, that's how he felt. Everyone has to decide for themselves how they choose to fight this battle. Our job is to support that decision as hard as that might be.
My Dad tried to quit smoking shortly after his diagnosis but only lasted a week. I'm sure the stress of it all played a big part in it. He felt like he had disappointed us when he started again and he was worried that my brothers and I would start smoking again too (we quit when he did). I told Dad that I was sure that at stage 4 it would not make any difference if he quit or not. If it brought him any degree of comfort in his final days to go ahead without feeling guilty...afterall, the damage had already been done. Sort of like closing the barn door after the horse got out.
You've got alot on your plate right now....with your Dad sick and fiance leaving. I'm sure your stress level is off the wall. I know everything seems out of control right now and you are probably right. All I can suggest is to take this one day at a time. None of us really know what the future will bring and if you let your mind drift too far into the future you will lose the beauty in today. Make the most of the time you have with your Dad. Spend whatever time you can with him. Follow his lead on how he chooses to handle this and accept that this is out of your control.
We're here any time you need to talk. God Bless.
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.