Cancer isn’t something I usually talk about on the site, but I wanted to share our story to give hope to others. If you’re reading this, then it’s probably because you or a loved one are facing Small Cell Lung Cancer. I know I combed Google for stories like this when we started on this journey. Unfortunately, most of the information I found was on forums that were not active. Much of the information we found was bleak, because it is a difficult disease to treat. However, there is hope.
My mom was diagnosed with Extensive SCLC at age 63, with a mass on one lung and a spot on her adrenal gland. Another small spot on her liver was suspect. She had been a smoker for most of her life. We found out right as I was put on bed rest before our preemie was born. Being in two separate states that were over 800 miles away, we couldn’t see each other and our help for each other was limited. As she went through her first set of chemo, our baby went to NICU where he stayed for several months. Shared pictures, phone conversations, and care packages were our only way to support one another during those first crucial months. I’m sure it was extra hard on her not being able to see her only grandchild. We prayed and prayed and prayed and many others prayed with us.
The doctor said they couldn’t operate and that she’d have chemo, but not radiation. A port was installed in her chest to ease her chemo treatments. If you are facing chemo, INSIST your doctors do this as it will help avoid other life-threatening complications.
Mom’s treatments initially made her really sick and very tired. The doctors gave her anti-nausea meds to help and they did somewhat relieve her discomfort. She bought a floor mattress and spent much of her recovery time laying on it in the living room, because she found it more relaxing and peaceful. Plus, I think it helped being in the center of the house because it was comforting. She became very anemic and had issues with her white blood cell count.
Before her first round of chemo was completed, she was in complete remission. She elected to have her last two treatments anyway, to try to be safe. As her doctor had put it: The cancer could be like weed seeds in a garden. They may seem to disappear, but would probably crop up again. It’s a trait that SCLC is known for. They would check her every 3 months with a CT scan to monitor the disease. If anything were to come up, they would then do a PET scan to make sure it hadn’t spread further.
She went in for her second CT scan and the cancer had returned. At this point we were a year out from diagnosis. This time it had spread to a small spot on both adrenals, but nothing on her liver and the spot on her lung was smaller than before. They tested to make sure it hadn’t spread to her bones or brain (something that isn’t uncommon for SCLC) and it hadn’t. She started treatments again (the same one as before). She became anemic a bit earlier and had to have a blood transfusion to continue. The nausea was much less than before because they used a nausea patch along with oral medications. I think I prayed like breathing during that time.
And, you know what? Halfway through treatments and the cancer is once more in complete remission! We are now 16 months past inital diagnosis and are entering into our second “sweet spot” (as the doctor puts it. We’ll do our best to live life to the fullest, praying the cancer stays at bay for a long, long time.
God still works miracles and I am so thankful that He has given us more time with my mom. I am beyond grateful. My feelings are beyond words.
There IS hope. Don’t give up! Don’t despair! Turn your eyes and lips to God. Sometimes He says “no,” which was something I greatly feared. But, He also may say “yes.” Today He said yes to our prayers and today I celebrate with a joyful and excited heart.