Update on my Dad

I know not a lot of people read here, but I just wanted to share an update.

My Dad's now been through almost two rounds of chemo (he completes the second one on Monday) and a month of radiation treatment.

The good news is that they're stopping it ALL on Monday (he was supposed to continue radiation until the end of the month) because they'll be doing surgery to remove the tumors. He has one on his lung that is the main culprit and the doctor believes they should be able to remove it. The other one, which is in his chest wall, may or MAY NOT be cancer. They said it showed up on the PET scan but that doesn't necessarily mean it's cancer. Because it was such a low-grade hotspot it could just be a benign tumor or some other diseased mass. They'll be removing it and sending it off for biopsy regardless, but we're hoping to find out it wasn't cancer. That would mean the cancer was entirely localized to that one tumor.

The chemo and radiation so far have shrunk the tumors, which is a great sign as they expected them NOT to shrink just yet.

And my Dad has been doing amazingly well. Except for losing his hair and being a little tired, he's been feeling great. Food still tastes good (he was told it wouldn't) and the only thing that didn't taste good for a little while was beer. Last weekend we went out and even THAT tasted good. His spirits are up and even though we know this surgery is going to be rough, we're hoping that will mean he can beat this thing.

Thanks for listening everyone!

New membro intro

Your name: Michelle

How is the person with cancer related to you? Father

What type of cancer does he or she have? Lung cancer, diagnosed as Stage II/IIIa (they said it's sort of sitting around heading into stage IIIa)

When was he/she diagnosed? January 2011

How can we make your membership at this community a good one? Support and inspiration and maybe a bit of hope

Any additional information? My Dad has been having a little trouble breathing since last summer but just sort of ignored it. He's had a slew of health problems recently: several heart stents put in (I think he has 6 now), a node on his throat that turned out not to be cancer, a cancerous mole that was quickly removed. And so I think he just didn't want to deal with one MORE thing. He had had a chest Xray in September 2009 that was clear. My Mother finally convinced him to go in early in January for another one. This one showed a spot. So he went in for a CT scan and this one showed that it was likely cancer. From there they moved onto a PET and brain scan. We were sure this was really early and nothing else would show up. We were sure this was Stage I and he would go in for surgery immediately. The brain scan was clear, but the PET scan showed a tiny node, less than 1 cm wide, on his chest wall or on a lymph node in his chest. That bumped it to Stage II/IIIa and ruled out immediate surgical intervention.

He started chemo and radiation tomorrow and we're all scared, but the doctors are looking at this as pre-operative care. The plan is to shrink the tumors and then remove them surgically in another 6 weeks. This would be the best case scenario.

The whole thing is, frankly, frightening, and I'm just trying to keep my hopes up. Surgical intervention in early lung cancer apparently results in a 92% survival rate 10 years down the road. Those are good odds, so if we can just get this stuff out of him, things will be looking up. The fear is that it won't happen.

My grandfather died from lung cancer 25 years ago. It all started in a similar way. Xray showed a spot. A further scan made them believe it was lung cancer. Surgery was immediately set up to remove it. They did one more scan and that one, for some reason we cannot understand, showed everything clear. My grandfather decided that he was fine and the surgery was canceled. Nothing anyone did would convince him to go back for one more scan. It wasn't long after that he started feeling really awful and by that time it was end Stage IV. They treated it with chemo, but it had metastasized too much at that time. He died 6 months later, 12/31/85. My father is being more proactive, but it's still frightening. My grandfather was only 69 when he died. My father is only 65. He's far too young to go and we'd be lost without him.

And yes, my grandfather smoked. He smoked all the way until his death. He was a heavy smoker. My Dad was a light smoker who quit in the early 1990s after some years of struggling to. There's a stigma attached to lung cancer that people bring it on themselves and that's sad. In reading up on it, I've found that it's the #1 cancer killer of people in this country and its less funded than any other cancer research.

Thank you to anyone who reads my story. We're in the middle of this. And we're fighting it. I hope to see other stories of people fighting here soon!