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Thread: Father dx'd Stage IV - no treatment

  1. #1
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Father dx'd Stage IV - no treatment

    My first post, but looking for support, tips, etc. In July my dad started with a cough that he thought was allergies. In October, he was so short of breath, I took him to the ER. They treated him for pneumonia...antibiotics and sent home. A week later he wasn't better so we were back in the ER. This time they did a CT scan and found a large mass in his right lung. Petscan showed it was also in his left lung and lymph nodes. In the past 2 weeks, my Dad's decline has been extreme. He's barely eating (drinks an Ensure when he can stomach it, but that's about it) and the fatigue is debilitating. He rarely leaves his bed. His cough is nonstop. He's out of breath all the time. The oncologist told us Friday he is too weak to handle chemo (which would have been his only option) We have started hospice care. It's been so hard. The rapid decline makes me think he can't possibly have much time left. He's not the same person he was just a couple months ago. He's 86.

    Thanks for reading. My heart's breaking!

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    So sorry to hear of your dear Dad's diagnosis and rapid decline. In reading your post, it reminded me of exactly what happened with my own Mother.

    This is without a doubt, one of the most heartbreaking things one can endure as both a patient and you as a loving family member. At this point, he is in good hands with Hospice. They will make sure he is comfortable. Know by just being there for him, as difficult it is witnessing his decline, is truly a gift. Talk to him, tell him how much you love him and I know just those comforting words of love will ease his struggle.


  3. #3
    Moderator Senior User IndyLou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Hello, carmenrae-

    I'm sorry you had to come here so suddenly, and with not good news about your father. At 86, he's live a long life, and what appears as a simple cough or cold when we're younger, can turn south very quickly when we're elderly. We never plan--or we certainly never plan well--in preparation for the passing of a loved one. At your dad's advance stage of lung cancer, I can certainly understand the decline. Is he on oxygen? My advice would be to work with the oncologist or the hospice to ensure he's comfortable, and make the most of your remaining time together.

    While you're dealing with this, I would encourage you to come to this forum when you can, and ask questions or vent. There are some very supportive people around who give great advice. Many of them have been in your shoes. Take care.
    Age 52 Male
    early Feb, 2013 - Noticed almond-sized lump in shaving area, right side of neck. No other "classic" cancer symptoms
    late Feb, 2013 - Visited PCP for check-up, PCP advised as lymphoma. Did blood work, orders for CT-scan, referred to ENT
    3/7/13 - CT-scan inconclusive, endoscopy negative
    3/9/13 - FNA of neck mass
    3/14/13 - Received dx of squamous-cell carcinoma, unknown primary
    3/25/13 - CT-PET scan reveals no other active tumors
    3/26/13 - work/up for IMRT
    4/1/13 - W1, D1 of weekly cetuximab
    4/8/13 - W1, D1 of IMRT
    5/20/13 - complete 8 week regimen of weekly cetuximab
    5/24/13 - Complete 35-day regimen of daily IMRT
    mid-July 2013 - CT-PET scan reveals no active tumors, but shows necrotic tissue at site of original tumor
    early Sept 2013 - partial neck dissection to remove necrotic tissue. Assay shows no cancer present.
    Spring 2014 - No signs of cancer
    Spring 2015 - NED
    Spring 2016 - NED
    Spring 2017 - NED
    Spring 2018 - NED

  4. #4
    Moderator Top User jorola's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    My thoughts are with your dad, you and your family. Lung cancer sadly is often not discovered until the later stages as there is almost no symptoms until then. Sometimes this leaves people in situations like your dad's. It is hard enough to wrap your mind around the diagnosis and then to see them decline so rapidly one wonders if they will ever even catch up on all that is happening let alone adjust to it.

    Spend your time with him. Love and support him the best you can. Let Hospice do the rest so your focus can just be on being with him.

    We are here to support you and answer any questions to the best of our ability.
    Wife to husband with squamous lung cancer stage 3 b
    dx - April 20/14
    tx started May 20/14 - radiation and chemo
    June 23 - chemo finished
    June 24 - tumor 1/3 the original size
    July 4 - radiation finished
    July 8 - PET scan shows tumor almost gone, lymph nodes back to normal
    Married July 19/14
    Sept 9/14 - repeat can shows tumor continues to shrink more, no new spots. New coughing and pain due to chest infection or side effect of radiation.
    Sept 19/14 - not infection but pneumonitis, place on dex for 4 weeks
    Oct 22/14 - now off of dex and facing even more symptoms of withdrawal
    Dec 16/14 - pretty much nothing left but a scar
    April 7/15 - ditto scan and screw you stats
    Oct 6/15 - more scarring but still cancer still gone
    Feb 2016 -scan the same
    Aug 2016 - more of the same
    Aug 2017 - and ditto
    Aug 2018 - 4 yrs NED


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