Stage iv lung cancer

Husband age 53 diagnosed with Stage iv Lung Cancer on August 15, 2007. He jsut had his third chemo treatment, seven hours once every three weeks. It is unbelievable what he has endured the last two months. I try to be positive but it is so difficult. I want him so much to live but I hate the thought that he is going through so much and then he is going to die. Is there any hope for stage 4 lung cancer...... How long does he really have?

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It is amazing what we go through when we look back, but we just do it one step at a time. There are many stage 4 survivors who have been here for years. Others unfortunately die sooner. Much of it depends on the individual person and their cancer. If your husband is otherwise healthy and has a good attitude, he could at least be around for years to come. And 4 or 5 years out from now there will be better treatments available that could truly make stage 3b and 4 disease a chronic, treatable, containable disease like diabetes. It is close to that now.

Don M

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Don is so right. Most of the statistics were done before the new agents. It is a journey with many bumps in the road. Yesterday coming home from by brother's 14th treatment every 21 days and 7-8 hours long we were laughing about the book we could write over this past year's experience since his diagnosis. But this treatment is shrinking the cancer and at the least now keeping it stable. Of course we all want to hear the words no evidence of disease but we have learned that no new growth sounds almost as good. We were told when we were at MSKCC that we needed to look at this as a disease that can be managed. This is just what Don said and I believe he is right on. Courage, Comedy, and Cancer, the three C's. Stay positive and informed. Good Luck to you!

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I cared for my father through his stage iv nsclc. I was horrified when I read the statistics and listened to the doctor's 'ranges' of time. I knew I had to be realistic, but what I was hearing was unimaginable.

I stopped thinking of survival in terms of days, months and years and started focusing on the celebration of each individual moment we shared.

Every person is different and there is no way to accurately predict time with cancer.

I wish you the best.


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hi jane- i am in your boat too. my husband was diagnosed in april 2007 was stage 4 nsclc. he is turning 59 tomorrow. initially, i was like a panic stricken rat in a maze. now i am only like that every so often. most days, i am ok, then down a bit, but basically, i try so hard to forge on with our life. we have 4 children, two grown and it has been so hard on them. my husband is about to receive his 10th and last treatment for awhile. they are now revisiting surgery to remove a lobe of his lung, followed by radiation therapy to zap the remaining tumors. he will have to be off of the treatments all- together. i am scared of that. so , i guess you know that i feel your fear, worry and hope? i live in new jersey. the surgery will be at sloan-kettering if we get that far. i wish you strength to get through what we have to do. arlene

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i have stage IV lung cancer. I was diagnosed in september 2005. I feel great, I continue to work, I have had a wonderful 2 years. I have done many things that i would not have done if I did not have cancer. I enjoy every day. Yes, chemo is tough. I was not a candidate for surgery. My cancer is still there but thanks to one of the many new therapies, is growing slowly, very slowly. There is hope. None of us know how long we really have, just try to enjoy each day you are blessed with. I often wonder if it is harder to be the patient or the spouse of the patient. In many ways I think it is more difficult to be the spouse.

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Hi, Jane.
Yes - there is always hope. But the hope should be in "either-or". I win either way - if I stay here, I win being with my family longer but if I go home, I will be with my father in heaven and I definitely look forward to that.
I was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell adenocarcinoma (lung cancer) in Dec. of 2004. I was 49. There was a tumor on my right lobe which had moved into the lymph system between my lungs and up into my neck, which was where I first felt the lump. After going through chemo and radiation my cancer was significantly reduced in size and was only the tumor on my lung by the time I had a CT in July of 2005. My doctor then put me on Tarceva - the newest oral chemo pill for lung cancer. I then turned around and was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Luekemia in Feb. of 2006. At that time they took another CT to restage my lung cancer and found it gone. I then went through the 24 hour, 7 day chemo for the AML, staying in the hospital for a month. It went into remission and I did the follow up chemos and it has stayed in remission, as well as the lung cancer still being mysteriously gone. I told my oncologist that it was God's doing. He didn't argue.
I have another CT next week - it has been 6 months since the last one. I do pray it is still gone, as I believe God had a reason to keep me here before and I don't think I have accomplished whatever His plan is, but I could be wrong. We never know how we touch other lives.
God bless you and your family and I pray you let Him give you His peace-which truly is beyond our understanding.

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Thanks to those who have shared their experience, as I have just found this group and am looking for some positive news from others. I was diagnosed in August 2007 with stage IV lung cancer (it is a neuroendocrine tumor) and was initially terrified at the prognosis. I have a 13 year old son and the thought that I might not be here with him as he grows up was really painful. He has Asperger's Syndrome, so many aspects of his future are still unpredictable--will he be able to live on his own, hold a job, etc.

I am getting two standard chemo agents and Tarceva, and the lung lesion has regressed! (but not the liver metastases--but those haven't grown either) I am incredibly grateful, and am again hopeful that I will be here to help my son grow up, and continue to enjoy the other aspects of my life as well. I have a friend who knows someone who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer ten years ago and she is still around and doing well.

The chemo hasn't been as hard on me as I had been afraid it would, and I am so grateful for that as well. I have a wonderful husband who is so helpful, and many friends who help out as well.

Thanks again, I look forward to getting to know you all!

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Thank You Don,

He started off with such a positive attitude and after only two long months he is suffering. He now has divaticulitis, which although the doctors said it is not related to chemo I don't believe them. The stomach issues are what is getting him down. It has been a long week, and he still is not eating and looks like he lost alot of weight. I am trying to hang in there... Thank you for responding to me. I apprecaite it. Thanks Janet from New York.

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Thank You Jean for responding. George started off so positive but after this weeks third treatment he is extremely uncomfortable with his divaticulitis. He never had this before the last treatment of chemo. We had to bring him to the emergency room at Stony Brook where he was sent home with antibiotics. It helped after 2 days. This time the doctor gave him antibiotics but his treat ment was Monday and he still is not eating. I have been holding up until yesterday when I was so upset all I did was cry. I really thought he was going to prolong his life but after this week I am not so sure and I am very sad. I feel for you and your family, I hope it runs out well for both of us.

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Hello Linda, It is so hard to take care of someone you love with cancer. I try and stay positive but I wonder how to keep thinking positive. I am so afraid of losing him that all I can think of is being alone and it is very frightening for me. Thank you for your kind words.

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Hi Arlene,
It is definately the hardest time in my life. George is in Stony Brook NY hospital, thought about Sloan, but since I am the only family he has and I started a new job two days after he was diagnosed, talk about timeing, I really cannot take time off. He had his third seven hour treatment this past Monday. He had been doing fine but this time his stomach is hurting and he has divaticulitis a result from the secon treatment. I try and keep stron but maybe I thought I was a stronger person then I am because I am really feeling lost. I admire your strength as a caregiver.

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Hi Pam, I am so glad to talk to someone who is beating the odds. When George was first diagnosed with Stage 4 spread to liver on Aughust 15 I never realized how Lung cancer is almost a death sentence. I always heard about breast cancer but never lung. The firs week after finding out he had cancer I spent every waking hour on the internet and looking for answers never found any except for this one "get your affairs in order as there is no cure". I was devastated. George has been doing well except for his third treatment. After the second treatment he now has divaticulitis. The doctors said it is unrelated to his cancer but I don't think these educated doctors always have the answers. he is not eating now for a week, apple sauce, oatmeal and thats about it.
I am so glad you feel well and I wish you the best. Take care, Janet

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George was just diagnosed in August 07. Stage 4 spread to liver. Just had his third 7-hour treatment of chemo. He had been feeling good but his stomach has been playing all sorts of games with him. He cannot eat, only applesauce and oatmeal. We are hoping this will pass so he can get his fourth treament on Nov 12.
My best to you Janet

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Hi Janet:

I have just a thought here; perhaps you mean diverticulitis. I have read about it in times past and was concerned that I might get it. I think that most of us as we age have these little extended pouches that stick out form the intestine. They tend to collect waste and can get inflamed. I think it especially becomes a problem from constipation from the various meds we are on. So I made sure that I did not have constipation and thus blowout my intestine some more and risk not flushing out the pockets thoroughly. Eating bran every morning make it easier to flush out the little bags of you know what. I think it can be treated with antibiotics and diet. Here is a piece on Wikipedia that discusses it.

It looks like they did good job writing about it.

Don m.

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Janet - just remember that the entire situation is a process. Don't expect more from yourself than you are able to do. Take it one day at a time.


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Jane, I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. This crazy disease is full of ups and downs and is completely unpredictable. You are in one of the toughest positions a person could be in watching someone you love suffer, and not be able to help. I've been there. Looking back on the last year with my father the best thing I did was live one day at a time it doesn't matter how much longer they have they are here today The day that they are not here will come, and knowing when it will be does not help anything . Even if all you can do is sit together and hold each others hands it is better than not having that option. You are together today and tomarrow is God's secret ,and by that I mean you will not understand any of this in this lifetime . I can honestly tell you that in caring for your husband through this time you will be as close to God as you have ever been in the past . I could see the Lord in my fathers eyes as he suffered. It was the most unbelievable experience of my life and I cherish it for many reason. When my faith would falter I would often read the poem Footprints:

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along a beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to him, and the other belonging to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The Lord replied. "my precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Just remember during this time the Lord carries both of you. This would renew me when I needed a little help. I hope that it helps you as well. I will keep you and your husband in my prayers.


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Dear Jane, Please do not give up. There are many other treatments out there if your husband is not able to tolerate this chemo. My brother is on taxol, carboplatin, and avastin. He is tolerating this. My next door neighbor received her diagnosis of stage IV non small cell in Sept. 06 received two treatments of this same stuff but is unable to tolerate it. She could not eat at all and was hospitalized after each treatment. Lisa is taking tarceva and the tumors may be shrinking a little but they are not growing. Just telling you this so you may talk to your doctor about something that he can tolerate better. You have to be your own advocate and tell the doctor your worries. I know it is hard--the hardest thing I have gone through and believe me I have been through some things but I do know that the Lord will see us all through this. Phillippians 4: 6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. A quote that I found when we first started on this cancer journey is "Fight off late night worries, they are the fruit of darkness." You know everything is always worse at night. Take time for yourself to enjoy something, renew your strenght so you can better care for your husband. Please know that I will be keeping you and your husband in my prayers. I will pray for God to give you the strength and courage to take care of your husband, for your husband to have the will and determination to fight this battle, and for the doctors to make good choices in his treatment. May God grant you the peace that passes all understanding.

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janet- thanks for the compliment- yes - at times i am strong but at other times i crumble. it is so much easier to have treatment near where you live. my husband is having his treatment at our local hospital but we have been recommended to sloan for any surgery by someone who works there. i understand the lost feeling as you describe it. it is an awful feeling. i try so hard to be positive and hopeful but by the same token, waiting for the other shoe to drop. it is such an uncertain feeling. some folks don't do well at all and others have been known to enjoy life for years and years. which will it be? i guess it is best to stay hopeful for as long as there is life. wish you strength and your husband well. arlene

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Janet, It's been a few months since I logged on and tonite I came to your blog. Last Nov. 7th, 06 I was diagnosed 4th stage, had 12 chemos and am now on Tarceva. My PET in Aug showed no evidence of cancer. Primary gone. It was in my bones too. Honestly, I feel that if I had relied on traditional treatment only, I would be on my way out. Google Dr. Mitch Gaynor, an oncologist in NY. He is traditional but very alternative too. dont worry about what anyone tells you. As my daughter has stated, Mom, what do you have to lose if you look at the stats using just chemo.
Do not give up hope but please do whatever you can to boost the immune system to be able to survive the treatments. Blessings, Terry

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we havent had trouble with eating my husband is taking megace got it from the very begging of thid and he has a very healthy appetite might want to ch with drs i think you have to have a perscription yellow car ozarks

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