Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't smoke

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Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't smoke

Hi all - this is new to me - only heard about it yesterday at a wonderful workshop held here in Coffs. I was diagnosed with stage 3 inoperable lung cancer 22 months ago - I smoked for 4 months from October 2004 after my marriage broke up!!!!!! So within 18 months I had a spiteful marriage split, was diagnosed with early breast cancer and 4 months after that with the lung cancer - and every day I get up wash and blow dry my hair and put on my makeup!!!!! I had 2 lots of chemo and over 2 months of radiotherapy and the tumour is half its original sixe. So there can be amazing positives through this journey. But sadness in the journey too - this morning a close friend in New Zealand who I have been journeying with as she has battled lung cancer died so there have been many tears . Am just writing this, my first on the web site to share positives and maybe someone will want to connect with me.
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Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't smoke

Hi Margaret, Welcome to the website. Sorry I've been a bit slow to respond. I'm glad to hear you've had lots of positives along your journey mikey
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Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't smoke

Hi all This is our first time on the forum - recommended by the wonderful folk at the Riverina Cancer Care Centre and Lilier Lodge in Wagga Wagga. Heart warming to find out that both facilities were community projects, especially after an unfortunate experience at Wagga Base hospital, which is very outwardly under resourced. My husband's mother turned 60 this month and was diagnosed just before xmas with stage 4 small cell lung cancer.  Unfortunately it metastasised between diagnosing CT scan and PET scan (damn those public holidays!) into her sacrum, mediastinum and lymph nodes.  Sadly this means it is inoperable and incurable, which we're all still trying to come to terms with. She's just completed palliative radiation treatment, which really knocked her around.  The kicker to all of it is she doesn't smoke and up until the radiation, was a very fit and healthy person. The cough that didn't go away was written off by the GP and specialist as a nasty infection... even when she started coughing up fresh blood they didn't think to send her off for a chest xray etc.  Because she's not a smoker and 'looked so well', they didn't think it was worthwhile doing any investigative scans etc. Haven't built the bridge yet... but if there's anyone out there who is in a similar situation, we would be grateful for any ideas on how you coped and/or what was helpful to the person you cared for. It's hard to know what to say as there's no hope of recovery.  We've tried to focus on enjoying each day and have been able to cross a couple of luxuries off her list (short trip to NZ, hot air ballooning etc).  The docs reassured her that her health should improve about 3wks after last radiation treatment, but she's been so ill from it that she fears she won't get back to where she was.
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Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't smoke

Hi ArnZo welcome to the forums. I help to moderate these forums which is nice and easy because people are generally friendly and respectful of one another here.I'm really glad you've posted this as you're the first person to start the discussion in the lung cancer section. I know that other people have been looking but it takes courage to make the first post. You might find that you get a better response if you post this in the general discussion forum as well and I'd encourage you to do that.First up let me say I'm really sorry to hear about your mother in law. Cancer can be a really unfair disease but it sounds like your mother in law definately got the sharp end of the stick. Her story is really upsetting.You might be interested in a blog I've been reading from a lady named Shin. In her most recent post she talks about why she would rather cancer than being hit by a bus. She says "What I HAVE learned is that as awful as cancer and its treatments are, at least I get time with my family and friends - time to enjoy what I have left." You can read the post here ....http://shinscancerblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/i-choose-cancer.htmlYou or your mother in law may not necessarily agree with Shin's philosophy and approach. There's no right or wrong way to handle this kind of situation. The Cancer Council also has a guide on palliative care that you might like to read. It's online herehttp://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editorial.asp?pageid=1957... or if you ring the helpline they'll be happy to send you a copy in the mail. Palliative care is something that's often misunderstood. It's about quality of life and more time to tick off that wishlist. One of the really good things about that guide is the questions checklist with a list of suggested questions you can take to ask your doctorsbest wishes,Mike
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Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't smoke

Hi Mike Many thanks for the info.  I've printed off the palliative Q's booklet and hoping that my M-I-L will touch base with the palliative care folk. Her oncologist has sent them the referral and they've touched base since we returned from Wagga.... but now that the reality seems to be fast approaching, she is reluctant to get the ball rolling.... although is very clear about wanting to have as normal a life as long as possible.  Unfortunate that my hubby's dad died 5 1/2yrs ago from throat cancer and his mum was the main carer.  His dad was in denial right up to the end and didn't want help, yet his mum seems to have accepted it all and has been talking about making arrangements.  However now that it appears she can't cope on her own, she's become very antsy about it all.  Hard to know whether to push it or not.  She's been 'holidaying' with us since Wagga but went back to her home on the weekend to trial being on her own again before going back to work (she really wants to do this, but whether her body will keep up with her mind is another matter). Sorry to rabbit on... we're back off to the oncologist on Thursday so will have a good chat to her. Failing that we'll suggest talking to the palliative care folks with her together.   cheers
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Stage 4 lung cancer in someone who doesn't smoke

Hi Margaret, Mikey et al It's been some time since I've posted on here or even had a chance to get on the website and catch up on others' journies. I hope Margaret that you have had success getting on top of your beastie. Sadly today my mother in law lost her 14mth battle with the beastie, exactly one month before she turns 61. The last 3mths have been horrible for her, however, the 2wks before her last visit to hospital then hospice, she was able to be back in her own home (she'd been staying with us)....  managed because my sister-in-law (her daughter) and granddaughter took on her care to enable her to be in her own home. The pal care nurses and docs have been just wonderful.  We almost came to fisticuffs today as her wish had been to be unaware/sedated during her final days - the doctor agreed and wrote her up accordingly, but the nurses on shift this morning had their own ideas.  Needless to say it was an immensely distressing time for her and for the family to watch her suffering. At the time of the last episode we thought the pain and anxiety (she watched her husband die the same way 5yrs ago, so knew what she was in for) were overwhelming her, however, she passed away after we were booted out of her room and her expression seemed very peaceful. No more pain and suffering!!!  On reflection we hope it was more her final effort to hug Karen and Andrew than flailing around. This bastard disease is horrible and we fail to understand why the public education campaigns on tv don't have an ad with a passive smoker in it.  We wrote to the NSW Cancer Institute about the last lot of ads (they had about 5 different ones that rotated on tv) and never received a reply.  Once we find out which organisation/govt dept is doing the current one (with the father sitting inside watching his kids play outside, saying he wished he'd given up smoking before it was too late), we'll be writing to them too....  The statistics show that well over 50% of lung disease sufferers are non-smokers!!!! During the last year it has been a difficult journey which you are all going through yourselves. I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who contributes to these forums - they have been a good coping mechanism and learning aid for us - sadly so many people are affected by cancer - themselves or someone they love.  We've been so grateful to our workmates and bosses - who have been incredibly supportive.  We are aware that many folks are not so lucky. Take care all and best of luck in your journies.
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