Dad dx. c small cell lung ca

  1. My dad was recently dx. w/ small cell ca of the lung, and I realized that ER and OR nursing has not prepared me for the questions that my family expects me to be able to answer.
    What I need from you all is some information. Web sites, links, your personal experience w/ patients, anything. He is 62, in good health (except for this ca thing ) and is "limited". His oncologist thinks we have caught it early. He will start chemo and radiation next week. Drugs are Etoposide (VP-16), and Carboplatin. Surgery is not an option. What can the family expect in the coming months and what has been your experience with survival time from diagnois? What little I have read tells me that 2 years is considered "long term" survival. 2 years, it's all come down to just 2 years?
    In the real world, not text book, what are we facing?
    Just need to know.
    Thanks
    RockieSis
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   Gator,SN
    RockieSIS,
    Unfortunately I have no clue what the answers are to your questions, but someone on here will know, I'm sure.

    I will pray for your Dad and your family. I'm sorry that this is happening to you. I wish you all the best.

    Gator
  4. by   Joyers
    RockieSIS,
    I work in an oncology office and we treat both sm cell and non sm cell all the time. Sm cell is less common...however it responds to treatment better. Unfortunately it is also a more agressive form and recurrence rate is high. We often treat our pts with VP16, Cisplatin and Adriamycin up front. They do well....In my experience Adriamycin is a tough drug as far as side effects go....since your dad is NOT getting this particular drug, he should do o.k. VP16 and Carbo seem to cause less GI symptoms than the others. Hair loss is possible, but it will thin rather than fall out in clumps.
    Typical sm cell lung can metastasize to brain and bone...sometimes liver. He should be scanned before treatment as well as a PET SCAN. PET scanning is a good staging tool. How about surgery...is it operable? Often lung ca's are not.
    Again, he should respond very well with decrease in disease, but please understand that it can recur very quickly.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you....anything else, please don't hesitate to e mail....I hope this was somewhat helpful.
    Joy
  5. by   jnette
    Originally posted by Gator,SN
    RockieSIS,
    Unfortunately I have no clue what the answers are to your questions, but someone on here will know, I'm sure.

    I will pray for your Dad and your family. I'm sorry that this is happening to you. I wish you all the best.

    Gator
    Same here, RockieSIS... so very sorry to hear this. Someone here will be along shortly, I'm sure, with some input for you.

    We'll be here for you with all the support, hugs, and encouragement you will need. We'll be all arms, shoulders, and ears.

    Big hugs to you and your family. Prayer going out on your behalf.
  6. by   jnette
    Originally posted by Gator,SN
    RockieSIS,
    Unfortunately I have no clue what the answers are to your questions, but someone on here will know, I'm sure.

    I will pray for your Dad and your family. I'm sorry that this is happening to you. I wish you all the best.

    Gator
    Same here, RockieSIS... so very sorry to hear this. Someone here will be along shortly, I'm sure, with some input for you.

    We'll be here for you with all the support, hugs, and encouragement you will need. We'll be all arms, shoulders, and ears.

    Big hugs to you and your family. Prayer going out on your behalf.
  7. by   jemb
    RockieSis, Sorry to hear your dad's dx. A very good resource that i use for my patients is http://cancersource.com/ .

    Wishing him the best.
  8. by   RockieSis
    Joy, Jemb, Gator and Jnette,
    Thanks so much for the well wishes and prayers, I'm sure we need them. Had the PET done already, but I think just of the chest. Will follow up with CT of head and Abd/pelvis next week.
    Will keep you posted.
    RockieSis
  9. by   renerian
    Sis, I wish him well. I worked hem/onc six and a half years. Lost lots of family to CA. I am sorry he is so ill. I can say I have not seen patients fair well. VP/Platinol makes people age fast as what I have seen. Earlier posts of Adria are right. That is a cardiac taxing drug with lifetime cumulative doses. I hope he fairs well.....

    Hugs,
    renerian
  10. by   pappyRN
    Hello Sis,

    I am so sorry to read of your father's diagnosis. Unfortunately, my experience with my brother's bilateral small cell lung Ca is not at all good. However, it was also 23 years ago. He was diagnosed in early June on a Monday.He had a thallium scan
    on Thursday. From Monday to Thursday his initial bilateral quarter sized lesions increased to over baseball sized. He went to surgery for possible removal of these tumors but when opened it was obvious they would just have to close without performing any removal. He underwent radiation and chemo-can't remembre with what- but was just dog sick fro the chemo. He quickly developed bone and liver metastasis and was in excruciating pain despite Brompton's cocktail. Then he developed superior vena cava syndrome. His body became grossly edematous and the diameter of his neck grew to huge proportions.Prior to diagnosis he was a skinny 120lb when wet lanky sort of guy. His legs were as swollen as giant logs and he would scream in pain if anyone would try to massage them to help relieve his pain.
    He passed by slipping into a coma 10 days before Christmas that year and 9 months after my father's death from amassive MI following vascular surgery.and died peacefully as opposed to what we were told was possible with superior vena cava syndrome- choking to death- so we were at least thankful for his passing.

    About 3 weeks before he died, I had a conversation with him one night after my shift ended. He was hospitalized just three floors above where I was working. He told me that if he had it all over to do again he would NOT ahve had chemo nor radiation due to how sick it made him feel and because his wife and 4 kids had to remember him as sick as he became.

    I know this must be very painful to read. I was very grateful that they told us honestly what to expect and it helped me to come to terms with his death. I understand how upsetting this is and am sorry if my being direct about his experience was even more distressing to you. There is no easy way to soft petal this news.

    Warm personal regards,
    Pappy RN
  11. by   jemb
    RockieSis, I've been working in oncology for close to twenty years, and believe me, things have changed a lot. Not only are there many new and more effective chemo drugs, but many new and more effective antiemetics to prevent the terrible nausea that previously was assumed to go along with getting chemo.

    Feel free to pm me if you have specific questions. If I don't have the answer myself, I've got tons of resources that will help you. :kiss
  12. by   RockieSis
    Pappy,
    So sorry to hear of your brothers exerience. I can tell that even after23 years it is still a vivid memory. Just talked to Dad and guess what ?, the insurance company is dragging their feet giving certification for the treatments. Go figure.
    Thanks all, checkback often, I'm sure you'll read my venting.
    (((())))) R-Sis
  13. by   niteshiftnurse
    PappyRN, can you tell me what is in a Bromptons cocktail?? We were trying to look it up the other nite at work, but it didn't have the ingredients listed
  14. by   susanmary
    I think it's great that you are trying to find out information regarding your dad and his course of treatment. I have a few suggestions. First, speak to both parents about their wishes regarding health care -- such as power of attorney for health, living will, health care agent, etc. This is something that should be discussed with all our families -- better to do it BEFORE someone gets ill -- but the bottom line is that you want your dad's wishes followed. With all the HIPPA/privacy issues going on now, make certain that your father designates specific individuals that can be privy to his medical information. And designate ONE family member to contact the nurse, etc. -- and then have this family member share the information with the family. Make a list of questions you have regarding your dad's disease, treatment, etc. -- and then simply ask the doctor. And never forget that your dad is an "individual" -- every case is different. The doctors can do so much ... the nurses can do so much ... the treatment can do so much ... your dad can do so much ... then it's up to his body. I tell each patient (I care for many patients post-operatively after they have had either a lobe or a lung out.) It's one day at a time ...
    Hang in there and enjoy your life/family. I wish my father were still alive.
    Sue

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