Hi friends and family, I am so glad we are all able to connect on this platform to stay informed and updated on Grandma Tina's journey.
As many of you know, Grandma Tina has been diagnosed with Stage 3 non-small cell lung caner, otherwise known as Squamous Cell Lung Cancer. Her tumor is located in her right lung, is about 6cm x 3.8cm in size (like a ping pong ball), and the cancer has not spread anywhere else in her body. The location of her tumor determined the decision to not go forward with surgery to remove it. Instead, we have met with some wonderful doctors at the Hubert Humphrey Cancer Center who have put a plan in place to attack this cancer!
The plan of attack is to do radiation 5 days each week and do chemotherapy at a low dosage 1 day each week. This plan will be carried out for 6-7 weeks.
The radiation process will last about 5-15 minutes per day and comes with very minimal side effects. Our radiology oncologist, Dr. Nisi, said the most noticeable side effect from radiation will be more tiredness. Another possibility from the radiation treatment is irritating the esophagus. If this were to happen it would simply make it a little sore and hard for Grandma to swallow certain foods. Dr. Nisi seemed pretty confident about the tumor being far over enough to not affect the esophagus.
Combining radiation and chemo is the best plan at this point to attack the cancer. Chemo treatments can last anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how her body responds. We met with Dr. Bala, our chemotherapy oncologist and toured the area where treatment will be done. Our doctor was confident in the results from chemotherapy to this type of cancer but also noted some things we should keep in mind. The medication she will be on is Carboplatin and Taxol, which are chemo drugs given through IV to kill off cancer cells wherever they are in body. For anyone, chemo and radiation combo can be tough, especially at Grandmas age and because of that, she is starting on a low dosage. The chemo will only be done one time per week after her short radiation session. Right now, we have it scheduled for every Friday in January. Chemo comes with a few more side effects than radiation, some being: nausea and vomiting after treatment starts (she will be provided with anti-nausea medicine at the time of treatment and also to take home), gradual hair loss overtime (it will grow back after), decreased blood count so higher possibility for infection, and like the radiation she will experience more tiredness also. If the chemo and radiation combination proves to be too much for Grandmas body to handle, the chemotherapy treatments would be put on hold while the radiation continued. If that were to happen and Grandma seemed to feel better again, they would reconsider starting chemo again at that point.
The good news is, the treatment center is only 7 minutes away from home, has wonderful staff and very nice rooms and treatment areas. Grandma will not be on any diet restrictions and can have unlimited visitors during her treatment.
For now, we pray and remain faithful that our feisty Tiny Tina will fight through this will all of our help and come out on top of this! We will keep you posted as the days go on! Thank you for your love and support.