My symptoms before diagnosis
Last updated: September 2021
I am 69 yrs old. Was diagnosed in January 2020. Stage 4 NSCLC. Never smoked.
In November of 2019, I had pain in my left shoulder and pressure there if I bent down. I also noticed a small bump on my sternum that almost looked like a pimple. It got bigger and redder. I thought I should tell my primary care doctor and got an appointment. I had complained to her for almost 1 year previously that I had a cough that was consistent and so bad I would gag. She had sent me to a lung specialist and I got an inhaler. It didn’t help.
The number one symptom was the cough and I don’t know if I would have ever been diagnosed had it not been for that nasty-looking bump on my chest. Thank God they did a CAT and PET SCAN. They found a lump in my right armpit, biopsied it, and that’s how they knew. I had numerous small nodules in my lungs and bone metastasis in my shoulder.
My next step: Treatment
I started chemo, tumors shrunk, but had horrible side effects, as I could hardly walk. Oncologist lowered dosage. When I was done with that round, we started on a different set of drugs because I was stable but the tumors weren’t getting smaller. Eventually, I had two small tumors in my liver. Keytruda along with chemo stopped working.
We tried a trial drug, even though I did not qualify for the trial study. did well until my latest pet scan that revealed more tumors metastasized to the liver, my lymph node in my chest, my lower spine, and both my shoulder bones and right femur.
Where I am now
I have stopped chemo since my oncologist says that there is nothing out there that has been hopeful. I am not in pain, only very tired at times. I signed up for hospice and they come once a week. I am on oxygen and use it when sleeping and during the day as needed. Dexamethasone was prescribed to help with breathing but I am going to slowly cut back because it makes me hyper and I have a hard time falling asleep, bad dreams too!
Finding peace in my diagnosis
I am so at peace with my diagnosis of 6 months. Besides what do they know? I’ve done incredibly well, my doctor and nurses are amazed! I don’t want to leave this beautiful place, but like another patient said:” it’s a win-win situation. My next journey will be with my Lord and savior! I only feel incredibly sad to have to leave my husband, he says he doesn’t know what he’ll do without me. We are enjoying every day and we always try to beat the other one by saying” did I tell you I love you today?”
A glimpse into my reality: My lung cancer bump
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