Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Diagnosis Date January 14, 2010

In January 2010, my brother-in-law Charlie was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He has what is called an adenocarcinoma most likely arising from the lining of his lung. Charlie has a smoking history so that is why the docs believe that is it point of origin. Areas of metastases include his liver and bone. What prompted Charlie to go to his physician in the first place was a nagging pain he had in the front of his chest. It actually got so bad that he began taking days off from work...something I have never know Charlie to do. His primary doc took a chest x-ray most likely revealing the lung tumors and bone mets...he then directed Charlie to the local emergency room for further work up.

Upon his arrival in the ER...Charlie had blood drawn and was sent for a Cat Scan. The scan was then followed up with an MRI and he had a subsequent bone biopsy of the right hip, ultimately this provided the preliminary diagnosis of stage a 4 cancer. Unfortunately Charlie, to this point, had been seen by several residents and other health care professionals, and although no one actually told him he had the "c" was constantly being tossed around as if he had already been given the diagnosis. My sister, Kim, and Charlie were just hit in the face with the word "Cancer". You see all kinds of sayings about cancer and that it is a word and not a sentence...but when you are confronted with it...all you are able to see is the worse case scenario. Finally, 2 days after his admission to the hospital, Charlie and Kim met with the oncologist and the final word was cancer stage 4.

He was immediately put on a drug therapy to help regenerate bone that Charlie had lost to the metastatic Cancer in his spine and hip. It is called a bisphosphonate. He was given a port-o-catheter (Small port with a catheter inserted into the subclavian vein for the purpose of giving medications without having to repeatedly do peripheral IV lines) prior to his initial release from the hospital. Unfortunately with in the next week, Charlie was back in the hospital with a complaint of shortness of breath. Upon his return to the hospital the surgeons had to place a chest tube into the pleural space of his right lung to help re expand it because it had collapsed due to the port procedure the previous week. Once the lung was expanded Charlie felt a world better and he was able to go home after 4 days of hospitalization.

As of mid February....Charlie completed all his radiation therapy sessions. He will continue with his chemotherapy adding more chemo drugs to his regime as time goes on. The drugs that I know he is receiving are: Carboplatin, Taxol and Avastin. Charlie has been going to the gym fairly regularly; doing 20 minutes on the bike and 10 on the treadmill. He feels better that he has even before his diagnosis. Pain has been reduced and his energy has increased. Kim did tell me that she thinks that he is starting to loose his hair now. Good thing he has that swell "Cancer Sucks" knitted cap to keep his head warm as we finish out this crazy cold winter.I will continue to add information on a regular basis...please feel free to check in as often as you like and make any comments to encourage Charlie so he knows you are all in his corner. We will fight this and we will win...the world needs more people like Charlie in we all have to fight to keep him here!!

Thanks so much and look for more updates in the future!!

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