Linking you to resources and support in the lung cancer community!
Today marks exactly two months since I sat with my mom and my sister, Sally, in the PCP's office when she came in to tell my mother that she had adenocarcinoma. The doc remained very positive during her "speech" and told us not to be too alarmed until we met with the oncologist. I often wonder, not that it matters but wonder nonetheless, whether or not Dr. G knew how serious things were and about to get. I am amazed that it has only been two months because it feels like a lot longer.
My mother suffered from a pleural effusion which landed her in the hospital after the diagnosis was given. It was during this hospitalization that we were informed she had stage IV lung cancer which had spread to her brain. She underwent numerous studies during this time as well as a pleuradesis. This was extremely painful for her. Needless to say, she was happy when she was allowed to go home.
In addition to the hospitalization, she has also undergone 4 weeks of radiation to the brain. This was tough and she barely survived it emotionally - physically it was fine, but emotionally and psychologically, it was tough. She began the cancer treatment Tarceva this past Saturday so we are now dealing with the side effects of that treatment in addition to trying to get her clotting issues under control.
Can anyone tell me if this is "normal" - the clotting issues with lung cancer? She has regular PT/INR levels checked and has had the Warfarin dosage changed several times. Today, we found blood in the stool so I will be contacting the doctor in the morning.
This 2-month journey has been a difficult one for my mom (goes without saying, I know) as well as for my sisters and I. We laugh, we cry, we complain, we hurt, we laugh, we cry, we complain, we hurt and it doesn't seem to end - at least not now. Personally, I find myself too busy trying to keep track of medications, doctor appointments, home health appointments, church visitors, DME companies, and the hundred other things we need to do to keep my mom healthy and well that I haven't had time to grieve the situation, or haven't allowed myself the time to "break down". I know my time is coming and I fear it. I have no doubt others have felt the same and I welcome anyone's insight and experience. I know I am in need of it.
Thanks in advance for your help and support!
Morning Hope: First, I'll say as I have before.........you and all our caregivers have the toughest job in this race..........we just have to lie back and take treatments and try to stay whole........you all need to see we do that and then take over everything else for us in addition to your own lives/needs. The Lord surely sent each of you as our guardian angels.........
Clotting (DVT) is not unusual. I found out about it after having had an unltrasound on my leg following experienceing a rapid swelling one day while headed to rads.........am now on Arixtra (injection thinner) every day for the rest of my life following a second clot...........I opted not to take warfarin (coumadin) due to the constant monitoring reauirement and possible liver damage.........you might want to check w/the docs about it.
As far as 'your time coming'...........let it come, and when it does, let it all out..............you need to so you can keep yourself going.......suggest maybe you and your siblings actually schedule time away from the situation to rest and vent in your own fashion........maybe ask Amy here at LCA as she has some great resources for folks needing a little outside assistance. Just DON'T keep it all inside............
It's rough, but keep your faith strong..........
Thanks, Sarge. I appreciate your words! My mom has had the Warfarin changed about 4 times already and they still have not been able to find the right dose for her. She did Arixtra for 4 days when the DVT was first diagnosed - she woke up one day with the left leg twice the size of her right leg. I will definitely check with the docs about the medicine. She began the Tarceva on Saturday so now I am concerned as well since a side effect (based on the pharmaceutical website) is clotting issues as well so now I wonder if she is on too much stuff. Somehow it feels like I have to make sure that all of the providers involved are aware of what she is on and what is going on. I put in a call to her PCP since we found blood in her stool - has had bad diarrhea due to the Tarceva. It seems as if it isn't one thing it is another!
I will try not to keep it all inside. Finding this site and one other one has already helped...more with the simply knowledge that I am not alone and that this is nothing new! Thanks again. I appreciate it.
Welcome to this site- and unfortunately, to the world of cancer. My mom was diagnosed at age 59 over 6 years ago with stage IV and I remember it like it was yesterday. The first full year, I was literally SO busy that I didn't have time to do anything not cancer-related. The next couple of years were still extremely hectic, but my mom and her cancer were still my main focus. I, too, was waiting to really "process" it and have my break down. I still haven't had a breakdown per se, but I have processed it slowly, over time, and with a grief therapist. I learned one of my ways to deal with everything and cope is to stay busy. Maybe I'm just delaying the inevitable, but for now it makes me feel useful and helps me cope. Hang in there and don't be too hard on yourself!
Hi Hope, My sister developed a blood clot in her neck after chemo & was also on blood thinners (Lovenox - injectable). The second round of chemo destroyed her blood clotting factor so she had to have transfusions/pletelets, etc. every day or every other day. She was on Prednisone so she could breathe & that caused Diabetes. Unfortunately, it does seem like it's one thing after another & very overwhelming. Hang tough when you have to but do give yourself some time to absorb what is happening & break down & let it out when you need to. It's not good for you to keep it all in. I found this site very helpful. It's nice to get information, try to get better educated and just talk openly with those who understand & support you :) I'm sorry for what you are going through. Sending hugs & prayers!
I will pray for your mom, you, and your siblings. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for all of you. As the patient (2 times) it did feel like it was all consuming. All I can say is keep going - keep up the laughing, crying, complaining, hurting, and over again - it keeps you human and feeling. Try to slip in a non-cancer event once in awhile if possible - go to a movie, concert, somewhere that helps you and your family "forget" for a time - go someplace where you won't talk about the cancer for some time. When I was diagnosed I told my husband that my cancer may take my future but I totally refused to allow it to take all of my present time.
Love each other - be together - and keep going - it won't be forever and you really don't know where this journey is going to take you!
I asked god for strength - and not a surprise received exactly what I needed!