Hi lovely people,
This is my first post here and I apologise in advance that it is a big novel.
My beautiful mum (who is currently 76 years)was diagnosed back in 2019 with stage 1 NSCLC. Back then, they did a lobectomy of her upper right lung and also removed a wedge from the lower lobe. No other treatment followed.
Since then, Mum’s lung specialist has been keeping a close eye on her with regular scans and check ups etc. a new spot lower right lung showed up on her PET scan a couple of years ago, it was biopsied but all came back ok. There have been slight changes with each scan, but nothing too alarming, that is until now. Her specialist said it could just be scar tissue or persistent infection.
Over the past 12 months Mum’s breathing has progressively worsened as has her horrid coughing fits. Her most recent PET scan (sept 2022) showed significant changes when compared to her March 2022 PET scan. This led to a bronchoscopy and biopsies a couple of weeks ago which unfortunately came back with the diagnosis of Stage 3 Adenocarcinoma (it’s all about an inch away from the spot we have been watching). There is also a new very small spot on her left lung, but that is currently too small to biopsy, so we have to watch and wait with that one.
Unfortunately, this time around surgery is not an option. We met with her medical oncologist last Thursday evening (who cured my dad 18 years ago of small cell carcinoma…so we have great faith in him). We have an appointment with a radiation oncologist in 3 days times.
Details on the report start “the tumor cells are positive for TTF-1 and are negative for PD-40” also states “AK-1, PD-L1 and ROS-1 immunohistochemist and EGFR Mutation testing have been requested”.
The ultimate plan of attack is…PLAN A: to hit mum with extensive radiation therapy (5 days per week over several weeks), along with chemotherapy and immunotherapy. If so, he said
PLAN B: will be to hit with more aggressive chemo and immunotherapy in the hope to shrink it enough to be able to then be zapped with radiation. Hoping to obviously know which plan we are going with after seeing the radiation oncologist on Friday (I have everything crossed right now).
I know that every person is different. However, I am just wondering if anyone of you wonderful people (or your loved ones) have had a similar diagnosis? I am so terrified for her, her breathing and cough seems to be worsening by the day. Surprisingly though, her oxygen levels remain quite impressive, despite struggling to breathe. If any of you were impacted by extremely persistent coughing and dreadful shortness of breath…did you find anything that worked to give you or your loved ones that you care for any relief?
Our situation is quite complex. Mum is the carer for my dad, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia 3 years ago. So mum puts a lot of pressure on herself to stay as well as possible. Both of my siblings and their families live interstate (my sister is about 8 hours away and my brother is about 14 hours away). I am a counsellor and work from home in my private practice. After receiving mum’s new diagnosis, I have told my parents that they are my priority and I will be caring for them both. I have contacted all of my clients today to explain that effective immediately, I will no longer be practicing and I will organise transition plans to transfer them to another practitioner asap (I will only be retaining a few clients that I know will be happy to award me flexibility when it comes to their sessions and they will be fine to work around my mums treatment schedule. I do feel bad, however I know it is not only the right thing for myself and my parents, but also for my clients as well because at present with all going on, I don’t feel I have the mental or emotional capacity to support clients in the way they deserve.
Last week, my dad said to me “Darling, I am sorry but if something happens to mum, I will be right behind her as I can’t do life without her” that totally ripped me apart, but I know they are both so scared right now.
I would LOVE to hear people’s success stories if you or a loved one has had positive outcomes with a similar diagnosis and treatment plan. I am trying to be strong for my parents, but can’t help crumbling as soon as I am out of sight.
If you have made it this far, thank you SO much for taking the time to read. Any advice or guidance as to how on earth I am going to juggle the coming weeks/months, it was be hugely appreciated. I just want to arm myself with as much info as possible, so I can care for my parents and alleviate their stress and concerns as much as possible.
Have a lovely day, thoughts and prayers with you all x