ladysuccess' Journey with Non-Small Cell, Lung Cancer

Survivor: Lung Cancer > Non-Small Cell

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 6 years ago, Female, Age: 67, EGFR mutation positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    Lack of education

    Oh No

    The first time...yep, I did this twice. I knew I had lung cancer, it didn't take rocket science to figure that one out. I just kept on going as long as I could, I did not realize it would be treatable. When I finally could not even breathe enough to walk across a large room I went to the hospital, I was in for a surprise.

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Lobectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    The first option offered was to remove the entire lung and go home with oxygen, he said they would try to give me "a couple of good years". I thought about it, and the concept of just sitting around on oxygen for a couple of years didn' t appeal to me at all. I think my words were "just take me on out and shoot me". That doctor left and later another came in, one of two specialists in the state who was trained to do a procedure called a sleeve resection. He was willing to operate, I guess I had backed them in a corner so to speak by refusing to accept anything else. He didn't tell me I couldn't live through the surgery (that was in January 2006), but my family knew. After the surgery he came out and told them "she made it, I have a miracle back there".

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy and radiation combined

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Six months of chemo combined with two months of radiation. The surgeon told me he was sure he got it all, but just in case he would like for me to have "a little light chemo and a little light radiation". This has truly been a learning experience. One, they never "get it all". Everyone is born with cancer cells in them and will have till death do you part. It's just a matter of what those cells do or don't do. Two, light chemo and radiation do not exist in the real world. Either you have it or you don't. Like being a little bit pregnant, either you are pregnant or you are not.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    Of course I lost my hair, had a lot of nausea, a time or two had to go on antibiotics as precautionary because my count was so low. Of course there was also my nails, fortunately it was my toenails instead of my fingernails, and they didn't come completely off. The worst side effect was the radiation effect on my esophogus, it was burned so badly sometimes I couldn't swallow my own saliva without pain. Good days were when I could eat baby food. The shelf stable puddings (room temperature) and room temperature water were great standbys. I didn't have to swallow the pudding, it just kinda slid down on its own.

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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Other Care

    I almost made my five year milestone and I got a hunch I was having a recurrence. The hunch was right, it was the same cancer in the other lung. This one would require surgery...problem there was I could not spare the lung capacity for a lobectomy which was all they could do here. I was told surgery would definitely result in death. I thought that sounded kinda permanent, so the option I was given was go to Houston to MD Anderson. Every month for six months I went for tests, treatment etc. 800 mile round trip. What I finally got there was brachiotherapy, which is radiotion but they put it through a tube down my nose so it went on just the tumor, it did not go where I had already had radiation which was what the radiation here would do. I grew up in the country, so please forgive me if I compare our radiation here with "scatter shot" from a shotgun. Hits the target and a lot of stuff around it too. I have been finished now for almost a year, I have a PET scan in October. I have tests done here and results faxed to Houston so I can remain in the system in case I have to go back but I go back only if there is something they have to do there that cannot be done here.

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