wushie4's Journey with Adenocarcinoma, Lung Cancer

Patient: Lung Cancer > Non-Small Cell > Adenocarcinoma

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: over 7 years ago, Female, Age: 55, Stage IV, EGFR mutation positive: Yes

  1. 1
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    The course of my life changed completely on December 2, 2009, at 8:20 a.m., when my pulmonologist called and told me, “Teri, it’s adenocarcinoma. It’s lung cancer.” I said, “Well, that’s just wrong!” And he said, “I know!” For almost a month, I had been undergoing medical testing after a tumor, believed to be a retinal melanoma, was found in my left eye. I had had every medical test known to man by then, including a colonoscopy, a mammogram, blood work, and a complete physical including a chest x-ray. Everything came back negative except for the x-ray, which looked like pneumonia. But since I’d had a preliminary diagnosis of melanoma, further testing was required. The CT scan looked the same as the chest x-ray, so a bronchoscopy was ordered, and voila: in one short sentence, the course of my life was forever changed. Within hours, I was in the oncologist’s office, thanks to the good efforts of a great friend who happens to also be my cardiologist. Had it not been for him, I likely would have had to wait months for an appointment. The oncologist told me that I had probably been walking around with lung cancer for a couple of years. Of course, my mind went back to 2007, when my brother, concerned for the terrible cough I had, made me swig down half a bottle of cough syrup in the drugstore parking lot, and promise to see a doctor if the cough didn’t go away. But the cough DID go away, so I didn’t see a doctor. Immediately I wondered: Was THAT when the cancer had started? What had I done? The word “cancer” was not something I ever in my wildest dreams imagined would be applied to me. After all, I was a never-smoker with absolutely no family history of cancer. I lived a very healthy life-style because heart disease ran rampant in my family, but it never occurred to me that I would be at risk for any kind of cancer, let alone LUNG CANCER!

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  2. 2
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    tried a second clinical trial of 2 drugs, one called BIBW2992

    Clinical Trial

    this was a HUGE mistake for me! I had extremely serious side-effects to these drugs, which resulted in the WORST RASH EVER SEEN, and the rash resulted in 35 MRSA boils all over my body! I ended up with a PICC line in my right arm, and had to self-administer Vancomyacin through it for 2 weeks. It took a few more weeks after that to be back in any shape at all to do the next thing on the list to do: traditional chemo.

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  3. 3
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    Phase II trial of Tarceva for EGFR positive patients who had not had any other chemotherapy.

    Clinical Trial

    That stuff worked great for me for 15 months! I pretty much went about my life as usual--working, being a mom, etc. I felt really good and it made me hopeful. And then I built resistance to it, bummer!

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  4. 4
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation (Stereotactic)

    Radiation

    i developed brain mets (occipital lobe, pons area) and had a stereotactic radiation procedure which kicked those little buggers to the curb!

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  5. 5
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had the combo of Carboplatin, Taxol, and Avastn. That stuff wore me out! The effects were cumulative, and it took me several months before I felt like any of my stamina was back. But it was necessary as my metastases had blossomed from just to my left eye, but to my brain, my right eye, my other lung, and especially to my liver. After I completed this chemo, I went on a maintenance chemo of Avastin alone. That proved not to be working to keep things stable, so then I tried Alimta. This also was not successful at keeping things at bay.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I had radiation to my hips and pelvis, as I had developed serious bone metastases and was having trouble walking or even sitting. Unfortunately, the radiation nicked my bowel, and wore me out, and I spent the next 6 weeks vomiting and weak and in bed and lost 26 pounds, and thought I was going to die.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  7. 7
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    Phase I trial of an immunotherapy drug

    Clinical Trial

    BIG FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. 8
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    Palliative care

    Other Care

    Although given my diagnosis, pretty much everything I do medically is considered palliative care, I had to prepare for my next rounds of chemo and get my body into shape for it! So I went to the cancer clinic every week, and sometimes twice a week for a liter of fluids, so that I wouldn't get to that dehydrated state again. It helped to learn I was allergic to one of the anti-nausea meds I'd been taking (that explained a lot!), and I spent 6 weeks recovering, gaining some weight back, and getting rehydrated. I also had a Pleurx Catheter placed which is drained 2 or 3 times a week, even now. VERY helpful!

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  9. 9
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I went on the drug, Taxotere, and felt very confident that it must be working. It wasn't. Prior to going on this, I also had a Pleurx Catheter placed and still have it drained twice a week. That really has been helpful!

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  10. 10
    • wushie4
    • Experience with Adenocarcinoma, Lung C...
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Currently I'm on Navelbine, and I've also started back on Tarceva. I'm hoping this stuff will work to beat back the liver metastases, because I have fairly large tumors in both hemispheres of my liver, and it's pretty scary!

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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