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Stage 4 lung cancer
Old 02-12-2015, 07:31 PM   #1
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Stage 4 lung cancer

My mother-in-law was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. This means it has spread outside her lungs, in this case to her bones, liver, glands, and probably her brain. She was being treated for recurring "pneumonia"- now we know that wasn't it. It's incurable, with a 5 year survival rate of a few percent, and a median of 8 months to death. It is so abstract to think about, and then suddenly it happens to your loved one. She is 75 and has always been very healthy.

There's a new Frontline episode, called "Being Mortal". It's worth watching- has to do with end of life decisions, which will soon impact our family.
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:00 PM   #2
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So sorry to hear about your Mother -in -law .
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:01 PM   #3
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I'm sorry to hear about your bad news tfudtuckerpucker.

I read the book Being Mortal and dvr'd the frontline special - haven't watched it yet.

I hope your mother (and spouse) are able to come to decisions that make sense to them and lead to the right balance of quality of life vs extension of life.
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:12 PM   #4
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tf,
I wish you and your family the best as you face this challenge.
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:19 PM   #5
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I'm so sorry. I know firsthand how devastating a cancer diagnosis to a loved one feels.

My thoughts are with you and your family.
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Old 02-12-2015, 08:22 PM   #6
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I'm sorry to hear about your MIL.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:11 PM   #7
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I am sorry to hear about the bad news.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfudtuckerpucker View Post
My mother-in-law was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer... a 5 year survival rate of a few percent, and a median of 8 months to death... She is 75 and has always been very healthy.
Just last week, I heard of two cases of colon cancer of people that my siblings know. Both are stage 4, and the sad thing was that one patient was just 50 and the other was in the 30s.

Yes, life is precious, and we often take things for granted when we are healthy, or think that we are.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:53 PM   #8
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So sorry to read this. Such a shock for your family. I hope you are all able to support each other and your MIL in particular, of course.
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Old 02-12-2015, 10:55 PM   #9
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I wish your family strength and love during this time of life.


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Old 02-13-2015, 12:51 AM   #10
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So sorry to hear about your MIL.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:31 AM   #11
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I am terribly sorry for your bad news and your poor MIL. It does seem like doctors only treat the most obvious symptoms these days, without digging deeper. Even sadder, I think doctors pay less attention to older women's symptoms. My late SIL at age 60 had the same experience: even though she lost 70 pounds in 8 months, the doctors kept treating her for "bronchitis" and never tested for cancer until she was late-stage.

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Old 02-13-2015, 08:13 AM   #12
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Very sad to hear about your MIL. Not a fun time, I've lost too many loved ones to this disease.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:49 AM   #13
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I'm sorry to hear this. My mother had the same diagnosis 7 years ago this month. She was gone 6 months later. Spend as much time with her as you can.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:58 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I am terribly sorry for your bad news and your poor MIL. It does seem like doctors only treat the most obvious symptoms these days, without digging deeper. Even sadder, I think doctors pay less attention to older women's symptoms. My late SIL at age 60 had the same experience: even though she lost 70 pounds in 8 months, the doctors kept treating her for "bronchitis" and never tested for cancer until she was late-stage.

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I cannot count the number of cases we've seen over the decades of living in retirement communities. Very dear, very close friends, who have treated for symptoms but where the cause went undiagnosed. Brain cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer... and liver, bladder, throat... cancers.

The hard part to deal with, is the lateness of discovery... stage 4. Some cases are understandable, as rapid progression is not always recognized, but the most common cases that we've seen have been have been for lung cancer, where the person had been treated for chronic cough, with few other symptoms.

We commonly make a limited number of very close, kindreds spirit friends... soulmates, so to speak. I can count on the fingers of two hands the number of my own BFF's... Four of these have died from cancer, that was not diagnosed in time for effective treatment. Not to say they might have lived, but in all four cases, death came within four months.

It is not yet financially possible to do full, intensive, total exams on a wide scale. Someday, perhaps, but not yet. As medicine concentrates on preventative care, the best hope for longer life, may come from diagnosis and repair. We can only hope.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:08 AM   #15
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Thanks for your kind comments. They are very helpful.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:26 AM   #16
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I'm very sorry to hear about your MIL.

When I first noticed a large lump growing on my chest, I went to my primary care physician (PCP) who said it was a harmless lipoma. Six months later the lump had grown and I hurt all over. I went back to my PCP and insisted that they take an x-ray. The lump turned out to be a plasmacytoma that had grown out of one of my ribs. I was into stage 3 of Multiple Myeloma by that time. Average lifespan after initial diagnosis is 48 months. I have had it for 5 1/2 years and I plan to stick around as long as I can by using various chemo options and radiation.

After my diagnosis, my wife and I made sure that our wills and health care directives were up to date. We also talked to an attorney and set up an A/B family trust. This was before the non-taxable inheritance limits were raised to $5.34 million. We don't really need the trust anymore, but it was part of our estate planning at the time of my initial diagnosis.

Again, I am sorry to hear of your MIL's diagnosis. I hope that now that she will be getting the correct treatments she may live longer than the average that you quoted, and hopefully her quality of life will be better.

P.S. Thanks for pointing out the Frontline video.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:29 AM   #17
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I'm sorry to hear this. My mother had the same diagnosis 7 years ago this month. She was gone 6 months later. Spend as much time with her as you can.
Ditto on this. From my own experience with my mother's death from Ovarian cancer I hope that quality of life considerations are kept in the forefront as well.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:53 AM   #18
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I'm sorry to hear this. My mother had the same diagnosis 7 years ago this month. She was gone 6 months later. Spend as much time with her as you can.
+2 on that.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:05 PM   #19
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+2 on that.
That's good advice. The statistics are grim, but it's clear that her remaining time is very unpredictable, and we don't know how long it will be before she is not mobile. Now I need to convince DW that her job will always be there, but not her mom, and we need to think about how to best spend time with her (MIL is in another state).
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:28 PM   #20
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tfudtuckerpucker,

Your DW can claim FMLA for her mom's illness, assuming it's in private sector, I know nothing about government type j*bs. The will DRs will know all about the process. That said, I think FMLA only protects her(or like) j*b for 12-13 weeks, many employers do allow you to extend that protection. DW should ask her chain of command first.(IMO)

All that said, only your DW and family can say what's right. Looking back I'd traded my job for an extra amount of time with family, but that wouldn't have worked with their illnesses. I wish you the best in a tough situation.
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