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Thread: Hello...Mother-in-law with Stage IIIa NSCLC

  1. #1
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    Hello...Mother-in-law with Stage IIIa NSCLC

    Hi Everyone,

    I have been reading up for a couple weeks and figured it was time to chime in.

    First, it's been a refuge for me to get information and stories about what happens to real people who have cancer. Thank you everyone!

    I'm no stranger to cancer. My Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was 14. When it came back a year later (and was in his liver too) I was his care giver for the last 4 months of his life. I have read a few posts today that I identify with: "didn't know who I was" without my Dad. I didn't take care of myself during that period and recovering was tough. As with any difficult experience, it made me the person I am today. Talking and sharing made a big difference.

    My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Stage IIIa NSCLC in April. She did 33 radiations treatments, along with Cistplatin and Etoposide. The day after the final radiation treatment she was in so much pain she went to urgent care, had a CT and found out it had spread to her liver - 2 masses. Since then I have read the CT report and see it's in her kidneys as well. The tumor in her lung which is around her pulmonary artery has shrunk.

    Tomorrow we visit her Medical Oncologist and find out the results of her PET scan (one week after the CT). We are also seeing an interventional radiologist.

    We don't know if she will be strong enough to be in a clinical trial - she's weak, nauseous and doesn't like how the oxycodone makes her feel so she is in at least some pain from the liver all day.

    We have so many questions....will she choose treatment? How do we support that? We live in Canada, she is in NYC, how much can we care for her? How much can we expect her wonderful and loving friends to do? What happens with hospice? ......

    I know there are answers coming soon. It's good to be able to get this out - I am doing my best to support my husband and not unload all my stuff on him.

    So much more to say but my flight is early. Thank you for being out there. And again, thank you for your posts.

    Sugar

  2. #2
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    Hi Sugar,

    Welcome to our Forum but so very sorry thst you need to be here. You MIL has really been through a lot already. Good news on the lung tumor shrinkage...bad news on the spread. This disease is never simple. After all the treatment she's been through...feeling weak and nauseous is to be expected. Please let us know how this goes. Looks like you still need some answers and must be struggling to work out the logistics of it all. How old is she? God bless

    Irish
    Last edited by irish; 08-31-2013 at 10:42 AM.
    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.

  3. #3
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    Hi Irish,

    My MIL is 74. Up until April she was an active woman who went to the gym 5 days a week, watched everything she ate and participated in her vibrant community of friends. She was a heavy smoker for 30 years.

    I ready some posts about your Dad. I'm very sorry to hear how he went and how traumatic it was for him and for you. I know that it's not common but I worry that the tumor around her pulmonary artery makes things more dramatic. Should they do something that will make that less likely?

    Part of the challenge is that she doesn't want details and I don't want to scare her. I do want to be prepared and also to make sure something isn't missed at the hospital. I can always call the nurse to ask more pointed questions later.

    Thanks,
    Sugar

  4. #4
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
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    So very sorry about your mother in law. This disease can be very unpredictable. Your mother in law hopefully will have support of friends where she lives. At this point, you can only take things one day at a time until you have more answers from her medical team. There are many treatments out there that many tolerate very well. This will be a difficult journey for everyone bit just know you have the support and caring support of everyone here on this forum. I lost my mom six months ago today to this horrible disease and the support I received during my mom's journey to even now is priceless. Please keep us posted so we can help guide you and support you anyway we can.

  5. #5
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
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    Sugar

    One more thing, you may want to ask if your thread can be moved to the LC forum. That forum is very active and will be more visible if moved.

  6. #6
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    Hi Sugar,

    I have moved your thread over to the Lung Cancer area of the Forum...you will find that it is indeed a busy area of the forum and you will likely get more responses and support. I wouldn't worry too much about pulmonary bleeds...they are very rare but as your MIL's tumor is wrapped around the pulmonary artery she is at slightly higher risk. Should it become a problem, they can generally control it with radiation. It seems like your MIL's main tumor has already shrunk from radiation so that's a good thing. The one thing I found when dealing with LC is that you can worry about a million things that COULD happen down the line....most of them don't and you've wasted a lot of valuable energy worrying. Best to take this one day at a time. As each new challenge or symptom comes up you deal with it. Anything else becomes too much to handle.

    You may find that as her body recuperates from the chemo and radiation, she may bounce back. Sending prayers that that will be the case with her. 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.

  7. #7
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    Update

    Hi Irish and Lisa,

    I have thought of writing 20 times but I have been too exhausted, distraught or without a computer.

    We arrived in NYC to find my MIL yellow with jaundice and VERY lethargic. That afternoon we met with our oncologist. The nurse always does a preliminary and when she came in she was visibly shaken. Never in 16 years of nursing had she seen this. During the most intense chemo, the liver cancer grew exponentially, it's in the kidney, the bones and lymph nodes.

    The oncologist came in and said the chemo did not work at all. The lung tumor shrunk because of the radiation but not as they expected.

    My MIL said "so I now have a terminal disease". The oncologist said yes. And because the bilirubin levels were 7.9, she had to send us to the hospital to put in a stent if possible.

    How many months do I have? 6, 3, 2?

    Not months.

    Will it be painful?

    No, with the liver you will go into a natural coma. Like going to sleep.

    She hugged and kissed my MIL and then called an ambulance.

    Fast forward to today. ROLLERCOASTER!!!! The stent is in but may not be working. We have hospice set up. We are set to be hear for the next few weeks - the consensus for how long she has is 3 - 6 weeks.

    She is at peace. We are talking frankly. I might write more later but it's been remarkable to talk so frankly.

    The other part is that I thought I was stronger because I did this with my dad. The truth is, I was 15 years old when I cared for my dad and I am having a lot of feelings and memories come up. It's harder than I thought, than I think it should be and I feel guilty and embarrassed that I am not stronger.

    Now I know logically none of that is true. I know I am doing a great job now and I did so then. Besides all the logistics, being tenacious, asking millions of questions etc, my husband has made it very clear that I give him access to experiencing deeper emotions and subtleties that he doesn't pick up on. That's my job in life and it's what I do best.

    When the 15 year old girl pops up I am being compassionate with myself. I am asking myself what I would say to a client who was experiencing this. The answer is to keep talking. Keep taking care of myself: breaks, food, water, walks, etc.

    I will share more later but this is the big picture.

    Thank you again for being out there.

    Sugar



    Quote Originally Posted by irish View Post
    Hi Sugar,

    I have moved your thread over to the Lung Cancer area of the Forum...you will find that it is indeed a busy area of the forum and you will likely get more responses and support. I wouldn't worry too much about pulmonary bleeds...they are very rare but as your MIL's tumor is wrapped around the pulmonary artery she is at slightly higher risk. Should it become a problem, they can generally control it with radiation. It seems like your MIL's main tumor has already shrunk from radiation so that's a good thing. The one thing I found when dealing with LC is that you can worry about a million things that COULD happen down the line....most of them don't and you've wasted a lot of valuable energy worrying. Best to take this one day at a time. As each new challenge or symptom comes up you deal with it. Anything else becomes too much to handle.

    You may find that as her body recuperates from the chemo and radiation, she may bounce back. Sending prayers that that will be the case with her. God Bless.

    Irish

  8. #8
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    Hi Sugar,

    So very sorry that she has declined so quickly. The spread has moved quickly. That's the truly awful thing about lung cancer. It's so damned unpredictable. Some folks do respond well to chemo and radiation and sadly the other end is that others do not. I know how you are feeling...my Dad's decline was quick too. They guessed 6 months and we lost him in 10 weeks.

    Time to stop beating yourself up. You are there for her and your husband, that in itself takes a lot of strength and love. I'm sure that walking this journey with your MIL is bringing back all those memories of your Dad.. It's hard.....damn hard so be gentle with yourself. We're here anytime you need to talk. 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.

  9. #9
    Sugar, this is such an unpredictable disease, I am so sorry you have to be here. Losing your dad at 15 is such a blow, I can well imagine the emotions that must be surfacing. I lost my dad as an adult to prostate cancer and thought I had come to a very good place with that loss but when I started dealing with my mom's lung cancer I realized we never truly get past these things. I lost my mom to lung cancer in July. All you can do now is be with your MIL and let hospice do their thing. We only had them for 5 days, mom declined very rapidly once it started but they were a godsend. Again, I am so sorry and will keep you all in my thoughts.
    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.

  10. #10
    Senior User
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    Hi Sugar,

    So sorry that you have to be here. Know that because you are here, you will receive comfort and many prayers for strength. Stay with her, help whenever you can but also take a bit of a breather each day...even if it is only to go a get a coffee or something for a few minutes to just think of something else. It is a very aggressive, demeaning disease...that I have such hatred for. You are doing great, try to stay strong, your husband will need you to lean on.

    Hugs,
    Maria
    73 y/o MIL- dx Ex Stage SCLC 4/30/12
    Liver biopsy 06/21/12
    Mets to lymph nodes & spine
    July 4, 5, 6. Chemo
    July 16, in hospital for pain
    July 18. CAT scan.Brain ok,Spine has mets
    July 23-27 radiation to prevent fracture
    Chemo Aug 8, 9, 10
    Chemo Aug 29, 30, 31
    Chemo Sept 26,27,28
    Cat Scan Oct 3, Oncologist Oct 15
    More mets, no further treatment
    Jan 8/13- CT confirmed large brain mets
    Hospitalized...declining.
    Feb 19, 2013 Carol passed away with all of us at her side.

 

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