hey lady. my mom used a ton of pillows. she had more trouble laying down with the pericardial effusion and the pneumonia than her pneumonectomy, but for both she just pilled on the pillows. once her ribs healed from the lung surgery, on her side ('that' side) became the position of choice.
love to both of you.
62 y.o. mom w. NSCLC, 54 at dx
10/2000 - lobectomy for stage 2 (4 lymph nodes) non-small cell adenocarcinoma, after detection by chest x-ray for another surgery
2002 - spot #1 appears near lymph nodes in resected lung, unreachable for biopsy, watch and wait
5/2005 - spot #2 appears on PET/CT 6 months after last check
6/2005 - spot #2 is confirmed NSCLC, AC (same as '00) after needle biopsy
6/24/05 - right intrapericardial pneumonectomy, clear margins
6/29/05 - home from the hospital!
7/13/05 - post-op visit, 5 of 7 nodes involved and 2 tumors with BAC features and ltd. nerve involvement, adjuvent chemo recommended, onc. appt. 7/26/05
7/15/05 - back in hospital with PE, slight pericardial effusion, and UTI.
7/20/05 - home from the hospital on tinzaparin injections
7/26/05 - 1st onc. appt., too sick from post-op complications for chemo right now, recheck in 2 weeks
7/27/05 - surgeon appt. - ambulance to hospital, emergency surgery to place pericardial window
7/28/05 - vena cava filter for blood clots placed, A-fib controlled by cardizem
7/29/05 - pericardium treated to prevent further effusions
8/2/05 - home from the hospital!
8/9/05 - onc. appt., positive for marker for Tarceva, wait & see re: chemo
8/11/05 - readmitted to hospital with pneumonia and pleural effusion
8/18/05 - home again!
9/1/05 - onc. appt., no chemo. but will start Tarceva in 1 month
9/7/05 - surgeon appt., lung and heart look good, scans in 3 months
9/29/05 - onc. appt. - begin Tarceva!
11/1/05 - onc. appt., all is well, increase dose, track by phone until Jan.
12/5/05 - surgeon appt., all is well
12/6/05 - per onc., increase Tarceva to 100mg
12/8/05 - admitted to hosp. with bleed in brain (stroke, no clot no mets!) discontinue blood thinners and Tarceva for now
12/11/05 - home from hospital, no right side peripheral vision...
12/27/05 - onc. appt., back on Tarceva, no more blood thinners (duh!)
2/3/06 - per MRI, hematoma on brain 'greatly reduced', driving limits, etc., removed
3/8/06 - NED
3/21/06 - onc. appt., Tarceva lowered to 75mg. because rash is worse
7/11/06 - NED (I think); we learn mom was staged at IIIB, scans in 6 months
10/17/06 - liver sonogram, after elevated enzymes in routine bloodwork, liver NED/normal
1/16/07 - onc. appt. and scan results - ALL CLEAR! continue 75mg of Tarceva daily, recheck in 6 mos.
7/07 - NED again. onc. discusses taking mom off Tarceva in 6 months
12/20/07 NED! just a little inflammation in her lung. no more Tarceva.
3/2008 - pulmonologist recommends supplemental O2 24/7 due to very low sat rates upon exertion
11/25/08 - mass on brain diagnosed, referred to MSKCC for treatment and follow up
11/27/08 - final tally: large tumor on right lateral ventricle, 3 small lesions on cerebellum, 1 lesion on spine
12/2/08 - surgery to remove largest brain tumor
12/22/08 - met with oncologist and rad. oncologist, directed to 14 treatments of WBR and referred to neurologist
12/26/08 - neurologist recommends RT to spine as well as WBR, for "tiny pockets of disease"
12/31/08 - commences 14 RT treatments to brain and spine
1/1/09 - hospitalized overnight for vomiting attributed to too low a dose of steroids after 1st RT treatment
1/21/09 - finishes 14 treatments of WBR and spinal RT
1/26/09 - CT scan of lung
1/29/09 - met with onc., CT shows disease in lymph node in lung, recommends Tarceva-based chemo
3/6/09 - with bladder and bowel incontinence and rapidly declining mental status due to progressing leptomeningeal mets, the doctors tell us there is nothing more they can do 3/10/09 - Mom is transferred to Calvary palliative care hospital in the Bronx
4/20/09 - Mom dies surrounded by love and light
mom also had a thyroid malignancy in 1993, immediately after losing her sister to renal cell cancer. I am 37 y.o. daughter, also have a brother, 33.