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bunny slave
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Just four months after I lost an uncle to lung cancer, here it comes again...my MIL this time.

She's a wreck health-wise to start with, 100 pounds soaking wet, and on round-the-clock oxygen for bad emphysema. She was taken to the hospital on Saturday after a bad bout of heart arrhythmia, and while she was there, an X-ray revealed what looks to be a 2-3" lump in one lung. She smoked for 50 years, so this shouldn't really have come as a surprise to her, but it did.

She's such a mess that I'm pretty sure chemo is out of the question, and I doubt she's up to any kind of surgery either. I suspect even the biopsy that will be performed soon will be risky for her. My uncle went downhill incredibly fast, dying a month or so after his diagnosis. What is your own experience with people you've known who had lung tumors? I know we'll find out more as she sees her oncologist and after they do the biopsy, but I'd like whatever wisdom on the subject that you all have between you. Thanks!
 

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A friend of mines mother died within 4 months of her diagnosis of ling cancer (clear cell carcinoma...very aggressive form) yet a brother and sister of another friend have lived for 5 & 6 years post-diagnosis......certainly any hope should be tempered with the reality of the aggressive nature of most lung cancers.....if there is anything in life that the MIL wishes to do sooner is probably better than later.......best wishes for strength and courage as your family deals and copes with this diagnosis.....
 

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Our experience was in 2000. My Mil went in to have a hysterectomy 12yrs prior. They found a tumor on her lung. They removed that tumor. She lived another 12 yrs before she was diagnosed with cancer. From the time they told us Mother's day weekend 2000 she passed away Oct 6th, 2000. They tried chemo which just put her down. She was on oxygen the whole time. I think there was 1 day where she went without. Near the end she ended up in a wheel chair. Our family moved in as we were in the process of selling our house and was planning on buying another house once it sold. She was given until the end of summer *maybe* Christmas. We helped out my FIL in taking care of her. There was no way he could of done it by himself. She was on so many medications that I made a chart for her so if anyone was with her they knew what was due next so we didn't overdose her or forget.

Now my BIL was just diagnosed with mesolitheomia this past week and has been given 6 mos to 1 yr to live. Right now it's in his one lung. Not sure if it is anywhere else. He will be going on a drug that is still in the experimental phase. There is no cure for this cancer :(

Will be praying.

Michele
Crew mom to 11
 

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I'm so sorry to hear this. Steel yourself, so that you can support your husband and MIL.
 

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Have they already diagnosed this as cancer after only a chest x-ray?

I'm asking because just last week they saw a 6 mm spot on my husband's lung via x-ray.....then he had a ct-scan and it was ruled a calcification. Of course, I understand there might be a huge difference between the terms, 6 mm spot, and 2-3 inch lump. But if all she had was an x-ray so far, there might be some hope.

I don't know anyone who has had lung cancer. My FIL and a friend died of emphysema in their 60s....pretty sad, slow deaths.

And then you have those who smoke like chimneys all their life and never have a problem. My smoker grandpa lived to be 98. My father is in his early 70s now, though he doesn't smoke anymore.

My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
 

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USMC can't fix stupid(s)
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my mom was diagnosed with 'stage 4' lung cancer in sep-2004.
given 6 mths.
she signed up for hospice immediately, yet didn't need it for another 18 mths!
she refused chemo, but did radiation and it shrunk it.
she had a better than excellent year..
then in october 2005, she had a seizure, it went to her brain.
again, radiation... but she was not quite herself after that... but was pretty good, considering and enjoyed her family, flowers and birds, etc.
she died in sept of 2006.
she had "Waltz across Texas" played as they carried her out of the church... LOL
i miss her, but am so glad i had the time with her!!
(a lot of details not posted as to meds, the morphine pump, etc... however, it wasn't a horrible death, she wasn't allowed to suffer and she didn't have ANY bedsores when they took her to the funeral home.... i can think of much worse ways to die..)
 

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My Aunt had it and then lived for many years, but I know that this is remarkable. She was an active, strong, and otherwise healthy person.

Your MIL sounds very frail. I would not pressure her to do anything: let it be as she decides.
 

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Suburban Homesteader
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My father was diagnosed in early Feb. of this year with lung cancer and died six weeks later. He had only recently begun chemo & radiation therapy.

As far as tempering hope with reality... well, all we had WAS hope and although we all knew the prospects were grim (the tumor was quite large and inoperable), we decided that concentrating on a favorable outcome was the best course of action for us. It is what kept the family sane.
 

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I'm sorry you have to deal with this. My Grandfather died from lung cancer in 1994. His started as kidney cancer and he had his kidney removed, but it had spread to his lungs, then his brainstem and he had a tumor on his heart. He didn't do any chemo or radiation-- he said he was 84 and not going to go through all of that. It was not pretty and he did suffer. Hospice came in and we took care of him at home. He lost 100 pounds and in the end was in a coma for 10 days. Even with the morphine he was in pain, which was really hard to see.

Michelle
 

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bunny slave
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Discussion Starter #11
PinkBat said:
Have they already diagnosed this as cancer after only a chest x-ray?
No, not quite, though they have determined that it is indeed a lump. A biopsy is the next step, though I think the odds are very much against it being noncancerous. We'll see.

She is so weak right now that she can do almost nothing by herself, though if the arrhythmia gets under control, that might help a little. Her lungs are pretty well collapsed from the emphysema, so breathing is increasingly difficult. And, of course, she's on 350 different meds, and she's prone to side effects to start with, so she's a challenge to treat.

It's a bad lookout, and I think this is very likely the beginning of the end. She's scared out of her wits, though whether of suffering or of death I'm not sure. I've never personally met anyone who enjoyed life less than she does, so it's even tough to think of ways to make her happier in her last months. At least with my uncle, even when he was on morphine and somewhat out of it mentally, you could still bring him a Frosty and get a smile out of him. MIl is miserable and hyper-depressive at the best of times - add on the pain and fear from this ordeal, and I just can't imagine.

DH is an only child, and that doesn't help.
 

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Honestly, with the condition her lungs are already in I would not suggest a biopsy. If her lungs are ready to collapse and she is dying from COPD/emphysema there will be no treatment that will prolong her life regardless of what the lump is. If anything, the surgery will put her at risk of dying sooner-- anesthesia is risky to those with impaired lung function and add in the heart rhythm problems-- it's not a good choice IMO. Her overall frail condition also heightens the risk of infection. Often, we must consider the fact that doctors will do anything to make more money off a patient. I'm not being negative really, it is true. Endless surgeries, treatment etc. to prolong the inevitable while at the same time intensifying the pain and trauma she is already experiencing.

I'm kinda dealing with a similar situation-- my dad has COPD/emphysema and is going downhill pretty fast. He has never smoked-- he worked as heavy equipment operator at the mines for 35+ years. He still is not using oxygen, but I think he should be-- he's stubborn. His lungs are on the verge of collapse and last winter was very hard on him. I'm not looking forward to watching him waste away dying a slow painful death.

Michelle
 

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mwhit said:
I'm sorry you have to deal with this. My Grandfather died from lung cancer in 1994. His started as kidney cancer and he had his kidney removed, but it had spread to his lungs, then his brainstem and he had a tumor on his heart. He didn't do any chemo or radiation-- he said he was 84 and not going to go through all of that. It was not pretty and he did suffer. Hospice came in and we took care of him at home. He lost 100 pounds and in the end was in a coma for 10 days. Even with the morphine he was in pain, which was really hard to see.

Michelle

chemo and radiaiton have little to no effect on renal cell carcinomas and they are an aggresive and highly metastatic cancer....although radiation is sometimes used to treat bone mets from this disease and at times biological therapies (interleukin 2) can slow progress.

There has been remarkable progress and success with using the patients own tumor cells to create a vaccine tailored to the individual....with stage 3 kidney tumors 5 year survival increases from 50% (untreated) to over 80% (vaccine treated)....and this therapy is non-toxic.....great hope on the horizon for this type of cancer....

trixiwick, it does sound grim given how compromised her lungs and health situation sounds......all I can do is wish you the best in dealing with a bad situation....

for what it's worth in the misery loves company scenario....out here we are dealing with my very best friend's diagnosis of sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma.....this is a case of the original cancer getting cancer and as you can guess represents a very grim diagnosis......
 

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Übernerd
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My father was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was a sophomore in high school. He was only coming up on his 44th birthday- statistically, he was very, very young to be diagnosed with it. He had smoked for a long time, but quit; in retrospect, we think the onset of lung cancer may have been hastened by a consulting job he did at a yacht company, where he was in fiberglass workshops and such, breathing in who knows what. Anyway, he was diagnosed around Thanksgiving of that year. Five weeks later, my mom and I came home from looking for Christmas wreaths to find Dad unconscious of the floor of their bedroom. The ambulance came, took him to the hospital, et cetera. It turned out that he'd suffered a massive stroke- this was just the most severe of several he'd already had (the symptoms of which we'd noticed, but had been dismissed by the residents, interns and doctors working on my father's case). Five days later, he died. It was about four days before Christmas.

In doing research after all of this happened, we discovered that spontaneous blood clotting isn't unusual with the kind of cancer my father had (I actually saw this referenced once on ER, even). The doctors should have caught it, but didn't. This was confirmed by a letter we got from Dad's oncologist, who basically acknowledged that he screwed up big time and all but invited us to sue him for malpractice. We didn't opt to do that, for various reasons (mostly not wanting to deal with the emotional upheaval of a trial). Anyway, I'd be very aware of that, and if the loved one who was diagnosed starts exhibiting what seem like unexplained bouts of confusion, blanking out and the like, get them checked out and don't take "no" for an answer.

In addition to my dad, my mother's father also died of lung cancer. I was really young when it happened, though (eight or nine), and don't remember a whole lot of how it went down. I do remember that Pop-pop's decline was much longer and much more drawn out. I was told by Dad's oncologist that because there are genetic predispositions to lung cancer, I should be very careful about taking jobs that would involve breathing in a lot of dust and other junk (no coal mining for me, I guess), and definitely not take up smoking (not that I was planning on it anyway).

I'm sorry to hear about your MIL- I'll be praying for you guys. Cancer really sucks. Wish someone could hurry up and find some kind of a cure.
 

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So sorry to hear of about your MIL. Lung cancer isn't pleasant and it has taken alot of my family.

My mom had a car wreck on Dec 31, 2001, stroke like symptoms caused it but tests revealed a tumor in her brain. More tests revealed she had stage 4 lung/brain cancer. She started radiation, then chemo but tumors only grew so she stopped and hospice was called. In less than 6 months she was gone. I was going back and forth from here to MO to help my dad and we eventually moved back to MO for 2 years to help my family heal/recover. Because 2 months after my mom's diagnosis my grandfather died (dad's father) and he had alot to deal with, not just with my mom but my grandmother(his mom) as well. No siblings, just my dad and I.

Lung cancer also took my grandparents, (mom's parents), 2 of my mom's uncles, her cousin(lung/brain) and many more.

It is very hard to watch your loved one decline very rapidly, it shocked my hubby, who saw my mom 2 months before she died. We thought it was the end and I called him to come out but she rallied, she couldn't swallow medication or eat and was barely awake. All the medications made her that way and once they were out of her system she rallied.

When my grandmother died I was living in England and they called me to tell me to come home but it was a week before I could fly out due to surgery I had just had. She died while I was in the air. My dad warned me before we went to the funeral about how she would look because she had been diagnosed while I was away.

So sorry you and your spouse will be dealing with this and all that comes with it. We have been there.
 

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my best friend died two years ago from lung cancer. i belonged to an online support group for lunch cancer. they had lots of good advice. just search for lung cancer online support groups"
 

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My father died one year ago from Mesothelioma (cancer on the sack around the lungs) and my FIL died of the same cancer a number of years ago. Both of my grandparents died of emphysema and were told that there was evidence of beginning lung cancer. All of these can be very aggressive cancers but they can also be treated.

Check out: www.cancercenter.com

Ken in Glassboro, NJ :)
 

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My ex-partner/long-time friend died a few months ago from cancer. Primary cancer was of the bowel, and it spread to liver, lungs and brain.

He died only 5 weeks after diagnosis. He opted to have no treatment apart from palliative care (mainly pain-relief and oxygen). There was no hope of his survival, so he decided there was no point in having treatment. I think he did the right thing. Treatment is not pleasant, and when it gets to a certain point, it's futile anyway.

It's hard to bear, for everyone concerned, but the end usually comes fairly quickly, which is a blessing. My thoughts are with you.
 

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woolgathering
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MIL

heres what i remember

started in lung so its called lung cancer no matter where it spreads

hers wasnt found untill it spread to hip joint and was causing pain( already stage four at that point)

it was also in her neck and glands as well

she opted for radiation to shrink tumors for pain managment

no chemo

extreme pain, could not eat or drink nothing tasted right to her

she lived a year after stage four diagnosis

it spread from her neck to her brain and effected her mind somewhat which bothered her.

her sister was diagnosed later and had large portions of both lungs removed and is fine, but it was a different form of lung cancer
 

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bunny slave
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Discussion Starter #20
Further news...it's inoperable Stage Four cancer, which has spread to her bone. Her oncologist said she's looking at "months, not years." There's hope that the bone cancer can be stopped with a course of radiation, but there will be no treatment apart from that. Now it's a matter of choosing either an assisted living facility or a hospice for her last months, and managing the pain she will soon be in. Sigh.

Thanks for all of your good information and wishes. So many sad stories out there...you'd almost think people would stop smoking. :Bawling:
 
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