About one month ago or a little less, my husband was diagnosed with a
tumor (large cell
carcinoma) in the left lung (about 3 centimeters.) He had no symptoms and
only took an x-ray because 1)he is a smoker and has had a mother who died of
what might have been asbestos-related cancer, she never smoked) and a father
who died of prostate cancer. What
he did have was a great deal of pain in his right shoulder, arm, and
occasionally wrist. This
he attributed to his work (he is a painting contractor), and to a bad fall he
took about 2 and
1/2 years ago and for which he never received proper physical therapy.
At the hospital they did a bone scan in addition to a cat scan and
bronchoscopy. The bone
scan came up with "hot spots" , and so a series of x-rays were done. The
report, to paraphrase, found that "Interestingly," (his word, definitely not
mine) even though he concluded that the cancer had metastasized to the bones
of the shoulder, and the long bones of the arm and thigh, the rest of the
axial skeleton was "atypical for secondary bone cancer." In addition, the
doctor, an internist with a specialty in chest diseases, held out no
hope to my daughter and me foir my husband's survival. He informed me that
his type of tumor does not respond well to chemotherapy, that radiation never
"cured" cancer although
it would help the pain, and that he had never seen anyone live past six
months with this
condition, in fact 9 out of 10 were gone within three months. He advised us
to decide as soon
as possible on a course of treatment, or non-treaatment depending on the
"quality of life"
we wanted. In otheer words, help him with the pain that was sure to come, or
risk I don't
know what - his life? - with whatever.
I got copies of everything and called Sloan-Kettering. The doctor I
requested an appointment with couldn't see us until Sept. Too long.
Actually I was afraid to wait one hour, but cooler heads prevailed, I hope.
An associate could see us on Aug. 16. Too long.
Finally an appointment was granted for August 2, this Monday. I hope and
pray we did
not wait too long, but he wanted to because he feels it is the best place to
be. Now, however,
he has an ache on the right side of his chest, up high. I have several
questions in case
someone would be kind enough to try and answer them. Could this have spread
the bronchoscopy to the other lung, and that quickly?I am praying he does not
ary bone cancer because then he becomes a Stage IV cancer patient, am I
correct?, and I know
how hard that is to treat. Or is it impossible? Is the most we can hope for
prolonged life for
a year or two with inordinate suffering ? I also have this scenario in my
head of MSKCC
telling us to pack up our x-rays and slide and leave - it's incurable,
to any of their protocols, and besides we don't have the money to be treated
there - which, by
the way, we don't. He, let's call him by his rightful name, John, has to
quit work, no medical
insurance, just SSI, I have a heart condition and a small Social Security
check every month,
and my daughter is a full time college student with a part time job. What we
is a lot of "fight." We want him to live, we love him, and even knowing that
not fair, I still say it. It's just not fair.
I have done a lot of research on the Internet - have found out a lot of
about lung cancer, mets, clinical trials, etc. I found this site and a
Anything anyone can do to help in the way of information, shared experience,
support, would be deeply appreciated.