• Time frame...?

    Asked by GlassCal on Sunday, April 7, 2013

    Time frame...?

    After receiving my stage iv diagnosis, I was almost sure that my Oncologist would have told me how many more months I had to live. He did not do that and got me into chemo quickly. I'll freely admit that my previous ideas of cancer were put in my brain by the entertainment industry and are largely untrue :-) That said, in the real world, do people with advanced stage cancer receive a time frame. Thank you much in advance for setting me straight on this and satisfying my curiosity in this matter too... :-)

    23 Answers from the Community

    23 answers
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      I am sorry to hear about your Stage IV diagnosis. My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer a few years ago and no doctor would give us a time frame. There are also many variables to consider which may be why they didn't give you a time frame. Everyone is different and everyone's cancer is different. I have a friend with Stage IV breast cancer who has been living with it as a chronic disease for almost 10 years.
      I can't give you any advice except to live like you have no expiration date.
      XO

      about 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar
      Ydnar2xer

      Hi GlassCal: I am so sorry about your diagnosis. I don't want to sound like some healthy peoople who don't "get it", but I'd like you to know that I have a friend who was diagnosed with stage IV b/c years ago, and she is still alive. She chose to participate in a clinical trial and it certainly worked for her. So don't give up hope yet. There are plenty of exceptions around!

      I think everyone who's been diagnosed with cancer wants to know if it will kill them. Sorry to be so blunt, but--isn't it true? It's probably the first time for EACH of us that we are facing our vulnerability--and seeing how fragile life really is.

      The thing about "how many months" is that the docs can only make predictions on the time we have left. NOBODY knows precisely when we will die. They base their predictions on statistics--and often, statistics are not that reliable.

      I know I sound like a Pollyanna--and although we share the same type of b/c--infiltrating--mine is only a stage 1--still, why not concentrate on making every day count? That's what I'm trying to do. This is my second bout of breast cancer, and although I feel cancer will eventually kill me, I'm not going to focus on that now. I have too many other things I still want to do!

      Why not find out what you can do to improve the longevity and QUALITY of your life from your doc? Those would be positive steps for you to take. Spend time with loved ones and say the things you've meant to say all along but didn't bother to say. Do meaningful activities, leave your mark on the world. That's what I'm doing now.

      I'm re-reading a good book that I am finding very comforting now. It's called TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE. It may be appropriate for you now, too. I'm sure ALIZA will also have some suggestions for you as well.

      Meanwhile, I am sending you all of my good mojo and thoughts and hope that your chemo works wonders for you. I hope the best for you; please keep us posted.

      about 4 years ago
    • kickasscowgirl's Avatar
      kickasscowgirl

      I'm glad he didn't give you a time. He doesn't know, he's a dr. but he's human. I feel that they use statistics and experience, and if they focus on treatment, rather than 'how much time' you have, good for them and you.

      They should know their job. They don't know you and your determination, will, spirit, love of life, reasons to want to live. I didn't ask and I don't want to be told I have 'X' number of days, months or years. I never even asked the Stage. I know its late stage, and therefore more aggressive, so I received quick treatment like you. I'm only not Stage IV because it hasn't been diagnosed as metastasized past my lymph nodes, however there have been questions about a few tiny spots on PET Scans.

      The nice thing my dr. said initially was, that he'd had a family member with my same situation, only older, and she's still going strong 9 years later, and he said that those with a positive attitude fair the best. He's been treating cancer patients for over 30 years. Yay!! Dr. R. for that comment!

      There may be the rare situations where knowing a general time frame for some people, along with a lot of other factors, some may have to make a decision on quality of life and what kind of treatment or not. It's all very individual.

      I did do a lot of reading and research, looked at studies and looked at why doctors reference the 5 year mark. My best guess is that they need a time frame for statistics and a reference for whether treatment is working or not. Always remember statistics have a slant based on why they are needed and are always open to interpretation. A positive attitude about yourself and your ability to deal with this and how you want your life to be will go so much farther in dealing with it than even the best doctor's guess.

      In some ways, it's a wake up call. It was for me, and I appreciate time with family more and focus on what's really important to me. That's a gift in a lot of respects, being a caregiver, working to excess, stressing over small things, when really I needed to slow down, listen, spend time with my kids and enjoy life along with other duties.

      Bless you, GlassCal! Best wishes for you going through this.
      Gigi

      about 4 years ago
    • GlassCal's Avatar
      GlassCal

      Thanks for the insight! :-) So far, I've been through two out of six rounds of Taxotere/Herceptin/Perjeta chemo...and I thought I'd be knocked on my butt, but so far, my experience has been the exact opposite with almost no side effects!! That's leaving me a bit confused! 8-O

      about 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar
      SueRae1

      GlassCal,
      Hugs. I got a diagnosis of stage IV TNBC last May, this was on top of being in treatment for Advanced Kidney . Neither of my oncologist would not give me a prognoses. I have been fighting Advanced Kidney cancer since July 2009, and is stable. My breast cancer is responding to to treatment and my lesions have shrunk by over 75%. Right now I am in a clinical trial. My last set of scans, at the end of Feb indicated that the cancers are stable, and I have 3 lesions (all under 1CM) on my liver. One BC and 2 Kidney. That's it.

      So don't give up hope. there is so many new treatments out there and more in the pipeline. When I was being treated just for Kidney Cancer both oral chemo drugs I was on had just been approved by the FDA. In fact when I went for an consult in Oct 2010 for my Stage 1 TBBC the Oncology team had not heard of Afintor, it was so new. My Kidney Oncologist gave me left over medications from the final trail, because the drug was not in the pipeline when it was prescribed two weeks after FDA approval.

      about 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar
      Ydnar2xer

      One more thing about a positive attitude--I don't know if people with a positive attitude tend to live longer, or not--but certainly, they've got to be more pleasant to be around for family and friends--which should return back to you, making you feel better. Besides--how do you want people to remember you--as a quitter, whiner or complainer, or as a determined "cancer crusader" with a smile on your brave face?

      about 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      As always the great people here at WhatNext have given you some good feedback. I will add that we have lots of stage 4 members here that were diagnosed years ago. Stage is just a number, don't let it get in your mind that #4 means certain death, there will be more come along and tell you their own stage 4 stories.
      I wish you well, and as Yd and others have said, try to stay postive, it certainly can't hurt, and for me, I fully believe it helps.

      Greg P
      3x Survivor
      Team WhatNext

      about 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      I'm going to chime in and agree with most everything that has been said so far. I can relate one story from years ago. A guy I know of was diagnoses with AIDS (this was almost 25 years ago when it was still considered a death sentence). He wasn't sick, so took the news as an opportunity to max out his credit, quit his job, live what time he had left as if the world was ending and there would be no repercussions. He's still trying to pay off those debts, has never been ill and rues the day he believed the end was in sight. He may be an exception, but he's also not alone in that. So.....don't decide its over till you hear the fat lady go for that high C.

      about 4 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar
      fastdog

      Nah, they don't give us a date we are going to die. They can't. They can only go by what has happened to others who have had the same or similar to what we have, and go by their experiences and statistics, and even then, it's going out on a limb. Early on in my cancer journey, we asked my surgeon that question, how long do I have? and he said "my patients don't have expiration dates." I'm Stage IV, was diagnosed a year and a half ago, and I feel fine at this time. That's pretty much all anybody has, with or without cancer. How many times have we heard stories about people who were told they have months to live, and are still alive and kicking years later? Enjoy every day and be grateful. When I first got my diagnosis, I thought it was the end of the world. It wasn't. Not by a long shot.

      about 4 years ago
    • kathycompton's Avatar
      kathycompton

      there is no time frame on Cancer only god knows

      about 4 years ago
    • kathycompton's Avatar
      kathycompton

      God only knows ,live life to the fulliest, and always be thankful and be positive , it really works

      about 4 years ago
    • mer1023's Avatar
      mer1023

      Hugs and prayers to you my friend!

      about 4 years ago
    • dls1007's Avatar
      dls1007

      I don't think most doctors now days will give you a time frame, unless they are completely sure. Back in 1997 when my cancer returned in my bones, my primary oncologist never gave me time frame, but his assistant that would come in for my oncologist told me I would be lucky to have a year. Here I am in 2013 still here and fighting the good fight. My cancer did return last year for the third time and they found a spot on my spine and some tumor cells in the fluid in my lung. My cancer returned on the scar where my first tumor was in 1993. I'm feeling great and still working and going about my daily activities. So stay positive and you can live with it if it's treated as a chronic illness. That's how I deal with it!

      about 4 years ago
    • kar's Avatar
      kar

      Fight the power! Stage IV diagnosis four years ago. As my chemo nurse said, "It's a chronic disease. That's what we do here. Fight chronic diseases." As my DOCTOR said, "Y'know, I DO believe that a positive attitude works!" It might recur. It is, after all, chronic. BUT -- I agree with ya on the entertainment industry angle. In MY case, no time frame, no real problems with chemo. Stay positive!!!

      about 4 years ago
    • travelingfrog's Avatar
      travelingfrog

      No time frame for me. 18 months with advance breast cancer after 10 year cancer free. We are treating it as a chronic disease after 1 year of chemo. I work out 3 times a week, do volunteer work, but do have to rest in the afternoon. Not bad for a 66 yr old grey headed grandma. Hang in there & get your life full of prayers & a positve attitude

      about 4 years ago
    • rosepetal57's Avatar
      rosepetal57

      I was only a Stage 2, but underwent chemo, a bilateral mastectomy, then another round of chemo. I have heard of many cases that were conquered. NEVER give up. You can beat this!

      about 4 years ago
    • HighHopes' Avatar
      HighHopes

      My niece was given 3 months with cancer, she lived 14 months. I am a four year survivor, yet I know that no one is guaranteed to see the sun shine tomorrow, so always enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face today. You have no expiration date stamped on you despite your "diagnosis." Do not believe in averages, instead choose to believe in yourself. Some days will be harder than others. During those days please feel free to draw your strength, get your hugs, accept gifts of time, cleaning, baking, or whatever is offered to you without guilt. As a woman we feel we are to be the ones in the "caregiver" roles, but remember we all need caring for, that includes all of us. Reach out to those who wish to help. Who knows? A cure might just be around the corner, choose to live as if it is, but always appreciate what you have been blessed with today. Truth....should the day come when you are too tired to fight anymore, you will know. I understand that it never hurts to have statistical information, but never set your clock by it. Many blessings to you.

      about 4 years ago
    • rosepetal57's Avatar
      rosepetal57

      Never succumb to a "time frame, nor give up fighting towards a cancer free diagnosis. I was only a Stage 2 aggressive,.. but went through strong chemo, a bilateral mastectomy, then another round of chemo. Two additional surgeries were also needed for infections, but no mater what, you need to stay positive, stay strong, stay focused. You can beat this!

      about 4 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar
      Lirasgirl33

      Hi GlasCal, I have Stage 4 cervical cancer. My doctors continue to tell me not to make stage that important. To focus on getting through treatment and so I have continued to do that. I'm guessing there are many that once they hear they have "stage 4" might give up. Originally I was diagnosed with stage 3 and when my doctor told me the cancer had metastasized I can't lie and say that it didn't scare me. I think it scares all of us to some level. I had to ask him for a time frame since he didn't originally give me one either. I guess I asked out of curiosity. He told me 2 years, but I don't believe that and I reject that thought. No matter what stage, what time we've been given or not, keep fighting and living and enjoying life. :) Sending hugs your way.

      about 4 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      Well GlassCal.... When I was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer.... - no time frame.... Had the surgery... Surgeon told me he had removed all the cancer that he could see.... then he started to walk out as I was quite groggy... I then yelled to him... How long do I have!...... He turned around - punched the wall by the door and said... 6 months!... then left. I fell back to sleep thinking great (yeah really) I'd told my sons I'd die so they could bury me in warm weather... since I'd nearly frozen AT my father's funeral... I counted Mar Apr May June July Aug.... yup it would be warm...... This took place on February 23 2006...... Yup... that's seven years ago and then some. What he didn't know was he'd removed all he could see and that was all there was. My PET CT scan showed... no cancer... Then to be darn sure we did chemo... lots of hard chemo.... I'm still here... Still no cancer on Oct. PET CT scan last fall. God knows when you'll be heading home to him..... Don't let someone put you on a time frame. You tell them you want to fight... I told mine I wanted to fight... My husband and I have 8 kids... 20 grandchildren (3 added this past 7 yars) and yes two Great Grandkids,. Never give up and ask God to lead you where he wants you to be. I told him I'd follow him anywhere. Look where he led me.... God bless and keep you.... Now we're here to help you and tease you and share with you. But please, stop asking and keep fighting.

      about 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar
      Nomadicme

      I too know a woman that is now on her 14th year of living with Stage IV BC.

      about 4 years ago
    • GlassCal's Avatar
      GlassCal

      Well, I fully intend to fight! This is mostly because before the economy crashed I had a job that I LOVED that I dearly want to do again...but maybe not so much by accident this time. At the job that I did have 18 days before my diagnosis was just finally earning enough money to go back to school for the pre-economic crash job...then I had to quit. Until I push the cancer back far enough, I guess I get to happily dive in to hobbies that have been somewhat neglected :)

      While at my oncology appointment yesterday, my oncologist said that a brain MRI that was done for an unrelated matter, had picked up multiple white matter lesions. This news had me broken up a bit until I remembered that I heard him say that they were not related to the cancer. In fact he also said that the PET scan done at the same time said the abnormal cell growth on my liver had disappeared too. After examining my right breast, he said that my original tumor had shrunk 50%-to 60%. This is amazing to me...particularly since I've only had two chemo treatments!!! While I was coming back from the appointment with my sister, some of my wonderful friends were risking their employment by getting on the 'net at work and texting my hopeful information...Good God, I hope these people don't get fired! Between friends texting me and people to whom I've talked too in the last day, I've had more than one person tell me that Sheryl Crow had the same side effect too. If this is a SIDE EFFECT, I've certainly got nailed with a troubling one! After about a day of calming down, I fully read the MRI report and it said these lesions could be related to post-chemo therapy, then next was migraines (which I've had in the past), and then a few more other fairly benign things were listed. The report also said there were no signal abnormalities or abnormal blood flow...YAY! My Oncologist referred me to a Neurologist just to make sure that I don't have the beginnings of MS and also to check out the unrelated matter which was a leg that fell asleep after I was doing something almost four weeks ago. Everything on the leg came back gradually so far, except the tapping motion in the foot. Guess I'll have to wait 'til Monday to see what the Neurologist says!

      Thanks for the answer to the time frame question! I fully intend to fight, mostly because I feel oddly normal with the exception of the affected area that looks a bit odd. Mostly I was just curious that I didn't get a time frame...that's all, really :-)

      about 4 years ago
    • StageFourMets' Avatar
      StageFourMets

      You'll know when the end is getting close, they will let you know when you need to get your affairs in order. In the meantime, just live life filled with joy with the people that you love.

      over 3 years ago

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