Tuesday, August 20, 2019

cough cough- Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood.

There are two major types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Staging lung cancer is based on whether the cancer is local or has spread from the lungs to the lymph nodes or other organs. Because the lungs are large, tumors can grow in them for a long time before they are found. Even when symptoms—such as coughing and fatigue—do occur, people think they are due to other causes. For this reason, early-stage lung cancer (stages I and II) is difficult to detect. (Web Source)

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for about 85 percent of lung cancers and includes:
  • Adenocarcinoma, the most common form of lung cancer in the United States among both men and women;
  • Squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for 25 percent of all lung cancers;
  • Large cell carcinoma, which accounts for about 10 percent of NSCLC tumors.


Stage I: The cancer is located only in the lungs and has not spread to any lymph nodes.
Stage II: The cancer is in the lung and nearby lymph nodes.
Stage III: Cancer is found in the lung and in the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest, also described as locally advanced disease. Stage III has two subtypes:
  • If the cancer has spread only to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest where the cancer started, it is called stage IIIA.
  • If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest, or above the collar bone, it is called stage IIIB.
Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of lung cancer, and is also described as advanced disease. This is when the cancer has spread to both lungs, to fluid in the area around the lungs, or to another part of the body, such as the liver or other organs.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small cell lung cancer accounts for the remaining 15 percent of lung cancers in the United States. They tend to grow more quickly than NSCLC tumors. Usually, SCLC is more responsive to chemotherapy than NSCLC.

Stages of Small Cell Lung Cancer

Limited stage: In this stage, cancer is found on one side of the chest, involving just one part of the lung and nearby lymph nodes.
Extensive stage: In this stage, cancer has spread to other regions of the chest or other parts of the body.
The American Joint Commission on Cancer implemented a more detailed staging system in which the stages of small cell lung cancer are described using Roman numerals and letters (for example, Stage IIA). This is the same method that is used for non-small cell lung cancer in describing the growth and spread of the cancer.(Web Source) 

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. About 1.8 million new cases of lung cancer were recorded globally in 2012, accounting for 13 per cent of all new cases of cancer.(web source)

One of the most diagnosed lung cancers is mesothelioma. 
If you or a loved one needs help with finances, finding a doctor, research or support due to mesothelioma please visit this site ➩ https://mesothelioma.net/

There were 54,418 documented cases of mesothelioma between 1999 and 2015.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Update... What's the latest?

Today I am 258 days old. Totally crazy if you ask me. It still amazes me that there is someone else's DNA in my body and their stem cells are saving my life. 

So how have things been? 
Well things have been going pretty well. The recovery process is crazy and you never know what is going to happen in the process but I have been super lucky with my symptoms. Yes, I have some mild gvhd but it is totally worth it and 10x easier to deal with then chemo. 

I have gut gvhd which basically means I crap all of the time! I can't eat certain types of food and even drinking some things makes my stomach hurt. I take medicine for it when it flares up but nothing truly helps 100%. I also get mouth gvhd which is hard to deal with because I can't eat anything. It usually flares up when I eat spicy foods so I try to avoid them at all costs. I don't get mouth sores per say but my tongue gets very sore and bleeds sometimes and it looks like my taste buds are falling off. Its not a very fun thing to experience and it's really annoying. The last symptom I have from the transplant is joint gvhd. This one sucks! I am in pain almost everyday of my life. My wrist and the right knee are the worst sources of pain for me but all of my joints ache. It's almost like Rheumatoid arthritis. The donors stems cells are attacking my joints as if they were a foreign source. It sucks dealing with the joint pain, i feel like my body is 80 years old. (no offense) Some days  are better then others though. I have days were all I do is stay in bed. I also have good days were I push myself to do adventurous things, ( against the wishes of my doctor) but I have a 5 year old so I have to try extra hard! My step-dad Mario has a boat that we love to go out on. It just kind of makes me feel at peace when we are out on the bay. ( I do wear like way too much sunscreen and I have UV protected clothing though) No it's probably not the best thing to be doing but I mean, I just had cancer for the second time and now I have a second chance at life because of the stem cell transplant so I want to live my best life. 

My doctor has been testing my chimerism for a while now because I haven't yet hit and stayed at 100% donor. On July 10th we found out that I was finally at 100% but we are super nervous about it and didn't tell anyone. My numbers have been going up and down so the doctor wants to continue to test my chimerism to see if it will stay at 100% or if it will go back down.  It's hard to be happy with this good test result because of the ptsd. Even my mom has it. We are happy that I am 100% donor right now but so scared that it will drop again. SO we just have to wait for more tests to come back. Which only gives everyone anxiety. The latest bone marrow biopsy did come back with No Disease Detected!  So at least there is no leukemia in my body and that gives me some hope!

 But what's next? 
SO I still have my Hickman port in my chest and for the doctors and nurses it is very easy access but for me it's a pain in the butt! I get that everyone gets a port for transplant but its been like 8 months now and this thing is a pain. The reason that it has been left in is because if I need more chemo or more stem cells they have access to give it to me. My veins in both my arms are very bad. I can't even have a picc line placed because of the veins collapsing so easily. I also cant have the port on the right side of my body because I have a VA shunt placed and my neurosurgeon was very nervous about another foreign object in my body. So for both of those reasons my Hickman remains in. 

SO that's what has been going on with me. Just recovering day by day. I take each day for what it is and just live like there is no tomorrow. My experience through all of this has me knowledgeable about what the outcome could have been and for that I am so unbelievably grateful. I see people who have no symptoms or pain and wish that was me and then I see people who are in excruciating pain and lose there life and I can't help but feel so blessed. 
I still have a ways to go and the recovery process is long and tedious but I am here. I am alive and thriving. I am here for my son and my family. I am able to go to the doctors. I am here. 

The financial struggle will eventually get better and my health will eventually be "normal". I pray everyday to remain positive and be humble. 

what would you be feeeling???

Being diagnosed with cancer isn’t easy, and unless you have been in that situation its hard to understand. Imagine living your life,...