In October of 2002, my wife of then 43 years was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer with multiple metastatic tumors to the bones -- skull, ribs, hip, upper spine and lower leg bone (Stage IV). It was devastating for both of us and our family (two sons and a daughter -- one son married and with two children). Lucie had never smoked, never lived in a house with smokers. The strange thing about her disease is that the main tumor was not detected in the lungs, but on her upper spine, C7-T1 area. After the tumor was typed, the doctors surmised that the main tumor migrated from the upper left lung directly over to the spine.
Lucie was immediately started on radiation to the spine as it was very painful there and threatened to further damage her spine. She had earlier started to lose function in her left hand, then pain in her arm and spinal area. An MRI of her spine showed the main tumor. She was also started on chemo -- carboplatin and taxotere.
In December of 2002, after she was released from a hospital stay for dehydration and bacterial infection, she developed a staph infection in her chemo port and it went systemic. She was in ICU for two weeks, including Christmas. After two more weeks in a regular room, she was discharged and radiation and chemo were restarted. She had radiation not only to the spinal tumor, but tumors on the hip, lower leg and later sacrum.
In January, 2002, when this site began in its present form, I joined. I had already been with the group since November 2002. I came for support as a primary caregiver and to give support. I also came for information. This website was perfect for that, and continues to be.
Lucie finished her chemo and radiation in May 2003 and started on Iressa and Zometa (bone med) as maintenance. Everything looked clear. In August 2003, she developed pneumonia in both lungs and was back in ICU. She was taken off Iressa (suspected of causing the pneumonia) and given steroids, and she steadily improved. She was in the hospital for two weeks and in rehab hospital for two more. During her rehab, she decided she was finally a survivor. With this, she decided to stop feeling sorry for herself and to look forward to doing things again, and to make the best of the time she had, whatever that was. She was originally diagnosed as 9 months, but at this writing she is 20 months out and doing well.
She has taken training to be a volunteer caregiver for cancer patients and is now working with same. She is also actively making quilts and table runners, and we recently made a week's trip to Scotland. She is a wonder to watch. Our love and our faith have grown even stronger, as we have had the support of this great group and the support systems we have in our area.
I have been the primary poster here, but I share much of it with Lucie. I try to give info and support where I can, and enjoy being a part of this system. I am an 8-year survivor of prostate cancer (two bouts).
We believe in taking a day at a time, living each one we are given to the fullest. Yet we believe in setting goals and working toward them. Whatever comes, we feel very, very blessed.
Blessings to all who have the need to visit this place. Don
72-yr old, married 47 yrs. Wife Lucie diag. 10/02 NSCLC (adeno carcinoma) w. multiple bone mets (skull, rib, upper spine, left hip and right fibula); non-smoker.
Radiation: 10-12/02 (spine, fibula); 03-04/03 (hip); 06/03 (sacrum); 07/04 (rib); 12/04 (skull); 04-05/05 (right fibula - recurrence).
Chemo: (Carboplatin/Taxotere), 02-05/03 - effective in reducing tumors; 07-12/04 (Navelbine) to treat recurrence in other lung, lymph nodes, rib - effective in reducing tumors; 08-12/05 (Navelbine/Gemzar) to treat recurrence in hip sacrum, spine, rib, shoulder, and liver - held everything stable; Alimta 2-4/06 - no effect; Carboplatin/Taxol/Avastin,5-9/06 - effective in reducing tumors.
Zometa monthly for bone strength.
Staph infection, systemic, 12/02 - second port-a-cath installed. Bilateral pneumonia, 08/03. Septic staff infection, congestive heart failure, 09/06 - deceased
I am 11-yr. prostate cancer survivor, Stage II (two bouts). Also 9 yr. heart bypass surgery survivor.
Avatar Pic: Don & Lucie, 02/06