Diagnosed February 2019 with SCLC Limited

I had a cough that wouldn’t go away for the past year. I thought it was a “smokers cough” as I had smoked on and off for years and yet again was currently smoking.

Shortness of breath and scans

It worsened and then I began to feel short of breath walking on flat surface. I also was waking up with a swollen neck, eyes and face. That scared me and I went and saw my PCP.

She did a Chest X-ray and due to suspicious findings, called me to get a CT chest scan the next day.

When she called the next day after the scan and said "Come in with your husband today," I just knew it was cancer.

Seeing specialists right away

Within one week, I saw a pulmonologist and was scheduled for a bronchoscopy and biopsy. I was diagnosed with superior vena cava syndrome and small cell lung cancer.

The tumor was pressing on the SVC which is a large vessel that returns blood to the heart from your upper chest, neck and head. Hence the swelling. This is emergent if it becomes totally obstructed. I was partially obstructed.

Chemo and radiation treatments

My tumor was 2.2 cm and had lymph node involvement all in the right lung. Had PET and no other areas were seen for cancer. I saw a medical oncologist and radiation oncologist the next week and started chemo a few days later.

I also started radiation after the first chemo cycle (of 3 days chemo every 3 weeks). I had 4 cycles of Carboplatin and Etoposide and 31 radiations.

No more swelling, but treatment side effects

My symptoms resolved after the first cycle (no more swelling). I developed esophagitis from the radiation and had trouble swallowing and eating. I tried to keep hydrated on chemo days by forcing myself to drink at last 32 Oz of fluid. I believe this helped a lot.

I was hospitalized twice between February and May. Mainly due to low blood count numbers. Received one unit of blood and also injections of Neulasta. After I completed chemo and radiation, I decided to not do the PCI to brain due to my age of 69 and potential side effects.

Monitoring and "remission"

My last treatment was May 2019 and I’ve been monitored with CT chest scans and MRI brain scans every 3 months the past year. Brain MRI always has normal results so now it’s every 6 months. In March's CT Chest I was told I’m in remission. The next one is in July.

I feel totally back to normal, doing all the things I always have EXCEPT for smoking. I’ll never smoke again; this I know.

Never give up

My advice is to stay positive, seek support from loved ones, pray and get close to God. Never give up. The last, visit my radiation oncologist told me I had a “remarkable” recovery. I hope my cancer story helps someone feel less anxious and afraid.

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