Dad’s Diagnosis of Lung Cancer Took Our Family’s Breath Away
Dad/Pappy seemed like his normal happy self... of course we did notice he was not doing some of his normal things he always did like getting the mail, taking out garbage, stopping in to talk to pups Filly and Rylee with treats. But instead Mom was doing these things. Mom had just retired and I teased that dad was giving her some duties so she didn't get too comfortable in retirement, since he had been retired since 1985 and had taken over most household chores while Mom worked full-time.
In March of 2018 Dad/Pappy had a chest x-ray done and it was with this x-ray that it was discovered that there was a mass on the right lung that needed further testing and for an Oncology consult. The decision to do a lung biopsy, PET scan, MRI was completed.
On Saturday March 24th - Mom and Dad called a meeting of all their children Sherry, Terry, Danny and Tina (via facetime) to give us the news that it appeared through this testing that it was at that time stage 3 lung cancer and there was an upcoming appointment to determine treatment for this. We were all devastated to hear this and of course started working with all of resources we could to make sure he would get the best care possible.
We went to the next appointment in April and after all test results were back and Dr Lu had more information on the treatment that could be used. He was given several choices 1. Immunotherapy only if he tested positive with a mutated gene 2. Clinical Trial and 3. Chemotherapy. As this is not a curable cancer we are looking for longevity and quality of life. We were praying and hoping that we could do the Immunotherapy as this is not a chemo and has little to no side effects and has shown to be very effective in holding the cancer from spreading. It was at this appointment also that we learned that the cancer was now going to be called stage 4 as they did see a few spots on the left lung, which they consider to be metastasized but the good news was that it stayed within the lung. So off to the lab for blood work to start looking for the gene and also to qualify for clinical trial if needed and if Dad wanted this route.
We had our next visit and our prayers were answered and he tested positive for the gene and could do the immunotherapy. During the consult Dr. Lu advised because of the size of the tumor (3 inches) that he would advise attacking this with both the Immunotherapy and Chemotherapy for the first 4 treatments, then just Immunotherapy alone thereafter and of course with scans along the way to determine tumor shrinking and cancer not spreading.
Since this news came so quickly and April 12th we remembered was Mom and Dad's 49th Wedding Anniversary. Before treatments started we decided we should have our immediate family together for a brunch celebrating their 49 years together. We were able to have everyone adjust work schedules, Tava to fly home from Florida and Tina and Mike to travel up from VA beach. We had the brunch on April 15th, with a photographer there to capture our precious moments together and to get a group family picture of I believe we are up to 24 immediate family members. We enjoyed a breakfast/lunch together talked laughed and the great grandchildren played happily together for 4 hours. We pulled it off , although it was not a surprise to them I know they loved the family time together, it was with tears they thanked us for the gathering of family, which is most important to them.
We are keeping his spirits up and he seems to be in good spirits trusting the advise of his doctors and we are relying on many prayers for his comfort during his treatments and a great outcome.
We all will remain positive and full of love for one another and all extended family members and friends.