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Does anyone here have experience with breast cancer that has moved to the lungs?

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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-30-09 11:38 AM
Original message
Does anyone here have experience with breast cancer that has moved to the lungs?
Edited on Sat May-30-09 12:18 PM by liberalmuse
How long would a person have? Thank you for any info.

On edit: I'm doing research, but wanted to know if there was anyone here who had personal experience with this? I just found out this morning that my mom, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and has since had surgery to remove the tumor and was supposedly recovering was told this morning that she had terminal lung cancer. My aunt and uncle had to take her to the hospital because she had difficulty breathing. WTF? She's never even smoked! I'm pretty much devastated. My sister called me in the grocery store and I broke down on the drive home. I don't know what to do or even what to think--it's a shock. We've had a rocky relationship for many years, and just started to get back on some good footing a couple years ago. I don't want her to die! She's had a shitty life, and is dealing with mental illness on top of everything else. She has no money, and my sister and I aren't all that well off, though we will make due. I don't know what to do. We're likely going to move her to Washington from Ohio in the next month. I was looking to buy a house, but have decided to nix that and just get a bigger rental closer to my sister so we can be near each other for support and so my my can be comfortable. Am I overreacting? Is this not as bad as it sounds? :(
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seemunkee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-31-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Does she have lung cancer or lung metastasis?
If she has lung cancer then that is a new primary sight as opposed to lung metastasis that are a recurrence of her breast cancer. They would treat them different ways. My mom fought multiple recurrences of her breast cancer for 15 years. Unfortunately if it came back in less than a year that is not a good sign, but you never know. You should get your mom to sign a release to her oncologist that would allow you to talk to him directly, a lot gets lost in translation from patient to family members.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-31-09 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Excellent point that 'a lot gets lost in translation.'
Edited on Sun May-31-09 08:20 PM by elleng
You or your sister (or another) should serve as 'advocates' for your mom; that means, talk to EVERYONE involved, get all the facts, from before, and now, and potential future, so the best decisions can be made.

As to care for your mom, when necessary/appropriate, hospice proves wonderful care and advice, at no cost; picked up by govt.

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anneboleyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Yes -- all good points. Be advocates -- stay organized (keep a medical journal/notebook), and make
sure that she has adequate treatment for pain, etc. Keeping a medical notebook sounds silly -- but it has saved our lives -- we have access to our insurance info, etc. right away. And all of this can feel very overwhelming, so it is good to have some sense of control. She will need your help, in many ways -- cleaning, arranging meals, dealing with laundry, taking care of any pets, etc. -- these things may well become impossible for her to complete on her own. This will be very hard. But as the previous poster suggested, hospice care will be very appropriate when the time is right.

Absolutely talk to ALL of her doctors and always get a second opinion from a specialist who has looked at her imaging results and read the radiology reports, just for your own knowledge. Research using the internet and all the cancer resources out there (cancer.org) the available forms of treatment and discuss everything as far as is possible with your mom. I am not sure what kind of mental health issue she is dealing with but you may find that her problem is amplified by this diagnosis, because it is very possibly the most terrible shock (or certainly one of the most terrible shocks) a person can experience. Research financial resources -- what kind of medical coverage she can receive and what funds are out there to help. Call local cancer centers as well (such as a hospice or local hospital) and ask for the name of a local group or organization that helps cancer patients -- info and counseling. This should provide some help as well.
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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. It's metastisized.
Edited on Sun Jun-07-09 07:55 PM by liberalmuse
I found out this weekend that there is a lump near her spine and the doctor wants to do radiation treatments. She refused the radiation treatments last year, but we were happy that she even had the surgery. She used to be a nurse over 30 years ago, but is convinced she knows more than the doctor. She is in the situation she is right now because she would not follow up the surgery with the necessary doctor's appointments and treatments. We're talking to her doctor now. She is being very difficult and is outright lying to my sister and I about what the doctor's are telling her, though we don't think she's doing it deliberately. She lives in her own reality. She's mentally ill, but she's functional enough that she can convince some people (in her church) she's okay. They fucking told her they felt they healed her of cancer, so she is not believing the several doctor's who have diagnosed her because of that, and because, 'They are from the same institution.' It doesn't help that her family are a bunch of hotheads and are all in a tizzy over the arrangements of my grandma's 90th birthday party. They are of absolutely no help and are actually upsetting my mom. She cannot travel from Ohio to Washington in the condition she's in right now. We need someone physically close to my mom to convince her to get treatment because she's arguing with us. The doctor has told her not to drive, because she could become paralyzed at anytime, but that is not enough to convince her that her situation is dire and that she MUST have radiation treatments to get the lump away from her spinal chord. It is almost impossible to convince someone in her mental state who is aided and abetted by her crazy religion that she needs to face reality. I'm so frustrated. :cry: :cry:
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seemunkee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-09-09 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Wow, that is a tough situation
treatment and trial options aren't even in the picture until she faces reality. With HIPPA rules in place I don't know what you can do.
I'm sorry you are in this situation. Any chance of getting some kind of mental health evaluation?
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anneboleyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-27-09 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Oh wow, I just read your follow-up post.
Wow, your mom is actually in a very dangerous situation if she could become paralyzed at any time. She needs to have access to a phone so that she can contact emergency treatment at any time (and some kind of alert system if she did become paralyzed). Someone needs to be checking on her every day. She is going to need full-time care.

I hate to say this but you may not be able to convince her to have treatment, unless the pain or other issues such as paralysis make it intolerable for her. What have her doctors suggested?

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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-01-09 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Thankfully, she did go through with the surgery...
and is doing very well. She has a titanium rod in her back and was out of bed right away. She also did a couple weeks of radiation and has told me after that, she's through. I somehow don't think that is all of it, is it? She's been given two years, which could have been longer if she had went through the proper treatment sooner.

She went home after a week. And is doing better and better each day.

We're a pretty healthy family, though I received a call back from my mammogram last week and I'm hoping it's only fibroids. I came here to see if I could get some info and stumbled here. I had forgotten I made this post. Thank you all for your responses. I did read most of them a few weeks back.
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liberalmuse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-07-09 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
8. I find it really sad that this post is at the top of the forum.
How many of my beloved DUers are dealing with cancer right now?
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