DebArmstrong's Journey with Lung Cancer

Patient: Lung Cancer

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: about 5 years ago, Female, Age: 58

  1. 1
    almost 5 years ago
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    Cancer has spread/Metastasized

    Oh No

    It was difficult to grasp the meaning of the words coming from the doctors. Besides the fact that the brain lesions were affecting my short term memory and my cognizant thought processes, it took a while for it to sink in (still not sure I'm totally out of denial). It took many sleepless nights and anxious days of reliving those words from Dr. K - "Stage IV Lung Cancer". Those words rang through my mind constantly, everytime I shut my eyes and everytime I opened my eyes. It was just easier to keep my eyes open.

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  2. 2
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy and radiation combined

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    The doctors decided the best course of treatment would be a 15 round of radiation to stop the growth of the tumors in the brain. The radiation side effects were not bad but the more you have, the more fatigue you have but there was no pain. It did cause a condition in my mouth called Thrush but it seems to be improving with some medications. Now that I'm done with the radiation treatments, we start the chemo. I have had one treatment and it went off rather smoothly, no nausea or stomach issues. However, they say each treatment can affect you differently so I have to be prepared for the worst each time. I have also been taking steroids which have a lot of side effects. I have tapered off this drug so hopefully the side effects will diminish. He also gave me a new med for the Thrush that I only have to take for 5 days. They say this should knock it out.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  3. 3
    almost 5 years ago
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    Internal radiation

    Radiation

    I'm not sure what the difference between the different radiation types but I have numerous lesions in my forehead just behind my eyes. That was what caused my 7 week migraine headache and ultimately led me to the Baylor emergency room. The radiation therapy itself was a breeze. It only took about 10 minutes for a session. It did cause some side effects that were not too unpleasant. It's kind of hard to tell what side effects are caused by what when you are taking different medications and the radiation therapy at the same time.

    Painless Experience: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  4. 4
    almost 5 years ago
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    Clinical Trial

    In the beginning the doctors mentioned a clinical trial they would like me to join. That will be later down the road and will depend on the results of my current treatments.

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  5. 5
    almost 5 years ago
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    Confusion

    Side Effects

    With the tumors that metastasized to the brain, I had a hard time concentrating and comprehending what was being told to me. After a few minutes I could understand.

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  6. 6
    almost 5 years ago
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    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    I've experienced a lot of fatigue from several sources including the steroids and the radiation treatments. I expect to experience more fatigue as time goes on but I understand it is just part of the game and will do my best to stay on top of it with diet and rest.

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  7. 7
    almost 5 years ago
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    Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweats)

    Side Effects

    I've suffered lots of night sweats and I'm not sure what is causing them. I sometimes have to change my sleep clothes several times during the night because I'll be soaking wet and cold. I suffered these night sweats for a couple of years in the past then they went away. Now they are back!

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  8. 8
    almost 5 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    Well, it took a few days but it finally happened. So far just the hair on my head has come out so I am bald but I haven't lost my eyebrows or eyelashes. I bought lots of new scarves and caps to cover my perfect little head!

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  9. 9
    almost 5 years ago
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    Memory changes

    Side Effects

    I suffer short term memory loss which is getting better but in the beginning was very frightening. It would take a couple of minutes to comprehend what you are telling me. I didn't even understand the full impact of the diagnosis when I was told until I looked around and saw the fear and dread in everyone's eyes. All I could think then is, Oh no, what have I done to you guys.

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  10. 10
    almost 5 years ago
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    Depression/Anxiety

    Side Effects

    I think everyone who has been diagnosed with cancer suffers some sort of depression and/or anxiety. It's a hard concept to grasp. I was prescribed an antidepressant which I believe helps. I'm sure my family is also facing their share of depression and anxiety and that's what hurts me most right now.

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  11. 11
    almost 5 years ago
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    Eating problems (anorexia)

    Side Effects

    I've suffered an eating problem for several years now. That should have been the first clue that something was wrong but with no other symptoms I just chalked it up to depression and no appetite. I really have to watch my weight. I started this journey at 85 lbs. After 48 into the journey, I am up to 98 lbs. That's eating non-stop and I fear I may lose some when the chemo starts. I just pray the rest of the treatments go as the first one and I have not stomach issues. Prayers said and fingers crossed!

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  12. 12
    almost 5 years ago
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    Swelling (edema)

    Side Effects

    My left foot, ankle, and leg were swollen for several days. They called me in to do a sonogram to make sure there were no blood clots. There were none so I went home. After a couple of days the swelling went away.

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  13. 13
    almost 5 years ago
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    Taste change/loss

    Side Effects

    One of the most uncomfortable side effects is the change in taste. My taste buds feel numb so I can barely taste my food. I eat anyway.

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  14. 14
    almost 5 years ago
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    Side Effects

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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