WondersOfLife's Journey with Small Cell, Lung Cancer

Patient: Lung Cancer > Small Cell

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 6 years ago, Female, Age: 50, Stage Extensive, SIADH: Don't Know

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
    WondersOfLife's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Yesterday, I was having dinner at a Thai restaurant with two dear friends. We were laughing and sharing stories as always. Tomorrow, I begin chemo and radiation for aggressive lung cancer. While my life has turned upside down over the course of a few days, I am hopeful, optimistic and beyond grateful for the outpouring of love, light and support I have already received from my friends and the community. While we may never understand why or how this is happening, I do firmly believe that everything is for a reason, and whatever lessons we are all meant to learn will come to us all... "You must never at any point in your life ignore the possibility of something extraordinary coming along." For the past two months, I have been experiencing dizziness. While I was certainly concerned and worried, dizziness has so many etiologies that it could have been anything. Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Verigo (BPPV) due to fainting spells. I had a complete work up at the Balance Institute at the University of South Florida (USF) and was told it was something I would have all my life. Due to the stresses of the previous few months (I had separated from Ex after 21 years of marriage), I just assumed that the primary cause of the problem was stress. I have also had sinus and allergy issues for over 10 years, so assumed the problems were again related. However, this was different. I had a severe bout of vertigo October 5 which left the room spinning, the bed spinning, me spinning. I was able to sleep it off and be functional the next day. Each day, I was a little off. I had a bit of trouble walking and just didn't feel right. I began antibiotics for what I knew was a sinus infection. I saw my ENT who cultured my infecfion and did a series of tests on my inner ear to see if there was any obvious problems. Everything was clear. He recommended treating the sinus infection first, and if I was still having trouble, we would further investigate the dizziness. On November 1, I began prednisone along with the antibiotics. The change in how I felt was remarkably dramatic. Not only was I stable physically for the first time in weeks, but my whole mood, demeanor and stance changed as well. I was optimistic, light, laughing, giddy, joyous. I felt glorious for 2 weeks and hoped I had turned a corner and was simply dealing better with the stresses in my life. I went to the I Can Do It! conference in Tampa and immersed myself in the positive energy I found there. I had weaned off the steroids at that point, and on Sunday, when I was ready to go to the conference, I could barely move. I went back to bed and slept until 11. I drove myself to the conference anyway, wanting to pick up some items I had purchased from the vendors. I went to one lecture, but could not even sit up. My whole body was crunched in an effort to be stable. I lay on the floor in the back listening and drove myself home after. I went straight to bed. I called the next morning for more prednisone. It was the only difference I could determine in what I had done. Upon taking the first pill, I felt the lightness in my head solidify down to the ground. I felt grounded again and solid. Again, my mood lightened. A few days later, I saw some people I had last seen when I was dizzy. The difference in me was striking to them as well. I was told my eyes were clear, my voice was light and laughing, I was smiling. My lawyer told me I should be the poster child for "Divorce Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Life," as she had never had a client as optimistic and hopeful about her life, or as exuding joy as I did. She commented on my glowing skin, the light in my eyes. I was nearing the end of the second course of prednisone, and I was afraid. I worried the dizziness would return and I knew I could not remain on steroids forever. Friends on Facebook helped my do medical sleuthing, and suggested various solutions, including lyme disease and ear surgeries. I finished my last pill Thanksgiving morning, and spent a delightful, relaxing day at a dear friend's house with the kids. I was so comfortable, I even took an after-dinner nap on her couch. Friday morning, I woke up dizzy. I dropped my car off for service, and got a ride to the house to be with the kids as I did every day. As the day went on, I got worse. I went to lay down in bed, and was throwing up again by the afternoon. I called the ENT who asked me to come in Monday morning, at which time he would likely order an MRI. Since Ex is a radiologist, I could get an MRI at any time. I thought it would help to have the information up front, so went at 8:30 Monday morning, when they kindly squeezed me in between patients. After my MRI, I drove to the ENT. I stopped for breakfast since I had not eaten, at which time Ex called and told me the scan was very abnormal. He had not yet seen it, but told me to go to the ENT right away. He called me back after he had seen it and told me I was at immediate risk of a seizure as my brain was quite swollen, and the ENT would send me straight to the hospital. He had already spoken to the neurosurgeon. It looked like either a brain infection or metastases. I cried as I walked into the office and was rushed through. I drove across the street to the ER and was admitted right away. They took a chest x-ray and Todd met me. He had called my parents as soon as he saw the MRI and they were already on their way down. They put me on anti-seizure medicine along with further steroids immediately. As I was waiting to get the CT of my chest, abdomen and pelvis, my ENT came into the room to see me. "I'm so sorry," he said. He had just seen my chest x-ray, which showed a huge mass in my right lung. I cried as I was wheeled down the hall. Ex went with him to see it as I went for my CT. Thankfully, they saw no additional spots on any of the CTs. I went to the surgical ICU unit and waited. I was scheduled for a bronchoscopy the next morning as well as a thorocotomy in the afternoon in case they could not get enough tissue from the bronchoscopy to biopsy the mass in my lung. Thankfully, they were able to get enough and I did not have to have my chest cut open! Now it was a matter of waiting. I had texted a number of friends Monday afternoon when I was admitted and of course again after the biopsy. Everyone sent love and light, prayers and support. The energy was palpable, especially from my wonderful Facebook support group, Good Karma Mama, which has done miraculous manifesting for its participants. I knew I would stay positive and not worry yet about the diagnosis. Wednesday afternoon, at 4 p.m., Ex and my mother walked in to the room along with the oncologist who had been following my case. The oncologist confirmed that it was lung cancer. I began to cry and asked a few questions. He left us and came back about 10 minutes later when I could think enough to ask a few more questions. Ex stayed with me until about 9 p.m. that night. He has been amazing throughout. He has told me thoughout that all decisions are mine; that I was welcome to move back into the house to the guest suite. Since I could no longer drive and would have to have constant care, my parents could stay at the house and take care of the children. I had a port put in my chest Thursday morning so that we could begin chemotherapy right away. I was released from the hospital Thursday afternoon and went back to the house. We had planned to tell the kids together, but Ex was getting my medicine and the kids came in asking questions. They knew that I had a biopsy, but didn't know yet whether it was an infection or cancer. I told them the truth, as I always have and always will. I explained that it was lung cancer and that we would begin treatment right away. Gamma son (age 12) told me had online friends who had been praying for me. Delta son (age 8) asked, "So if you're going to get treatment, you're not going to die, right?" I talked more about the treatment, but did not address the second half of the question. Neither he nor Gamma son (age 8) seemed to realize it, but Beta son (age 12) did immediately. Friday morning, I went for a PET scan to see if the cancer had traveled further. Beautiful news...it was "only" in my lung and brain. This was amazing and hopeful news :) I went to the oncologist and was fitted for my radiation mask and given chemo education. Everyone was wonderful as they explained the process.

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
    WondersOfLife's Avatar

    Chemotherapy and radiation combined

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

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

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
    WondersOfLife's Avatar

    External radiation (Stereotactic)

    Radiation

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

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
    WondersOfLife's Avatar

    Swelling (edema)

    Side Effects

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

    0 Comments
  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
    WondersOfLife's Avatar

    Remission

    Celebration

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

    0 Comments
  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
    WondersOfLife's Avatar

    Cyberknife

    Other Care

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

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