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Stage 4 Lung Cancer
Five weeks ago Charles went to the doctor about a chronic cough. He went to see his family doctor who ordered a chest x-ray. The x-ray showed a spot on his lung. He then ordered a CAT scan which showed a mass approximately 2 1/2 inches. Next, we went to see a surgeon who looked at the x-rays, and said it may or may not be cancer and ordered a PET scan. The possibility of him having "lung cancer" came as a shock to all of us, especially because Charles is an avid tennis player as well as instructor who eats healthy and never smoked. The PET scan unfortunately confirmed the mass was too large to operate on and he would need to see an oncologist.
We chose to visit an oncologist at Duke Raleigh hospital who is ranked as one of the top in the southeast in US News and World Reports. The doctor immediately wanted to do a brain scan and a Thorasic surgeon scheduled exploratory surgery to confirm the cancer stage and determine which sub-type of lung cancer it was. Blood tests were also ordered to determine the best course of treatment but would take two weeks to analyze.
By the time we got home, the oncologist called to inform us the results came back from the brain scan. She mentioned that five small spots showed up on the brain and would need to be radiated.
This came as a shock, because the fact it had spread to another organ outside of the lungs meant it was stage four, a very serious situation.
The next week he was in the hospital for two nights so that large tissue samples could be removed for analysis. My sister Jan was a big help that week as she flew in from Texas. His best friend Bob and his wife Nancy were also a big support and came to visit while Charles was in the hospital. The tube inserted in his side was very painful but was necessary for drainage and to keep the lung from collapsing.
The next week we went to Duke for brain radiation.
On Tuesday, July 11th, Charles, Katherine and I met with a multi disciplinary team at Duke Raleigh to learn about his treatment. Since the tumor is inoperable, they ordered the drug Tarceva. He will take it for the rest of his life unless it stops working and they need to go to a 2nd drug.
He starts the drug on Friday, July 14th.
Charles loves cards and they have really cheered him up. Pam's co-workers, our church members, his tennis buddies, and fraternity brothers have all cheered him up with cards. His tennis buddies have also taken him to lunch several times and two of his fraternity brothers took him to lunch this week. One of Pam's students sent a prayer bear, and several friends sent over dinner.
Our small group from church has been a tremendous support!
Our family asks you keep him in your prayers.
We would love you to leave words of hope and encouragement here or to send cards.