i just realized it's been 6 months since my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. i wanted to give you guys an update in case you are curious, as well as record this for my own memory. if you weren't around for the first post i did, feel free to read it. here is a little background: my dad had been suffering from some back pain that wasn't getting better, so in late october he went to the doctor where they performed x-rays and a ct scan. they found a large tumor in his lung and smaller ones on his spine and shoulder. this was a huge shock because he was not a smoker and did not have the typical symptoms. the survival rates are pretty awful for people with lung cancer (especially when it's as advanced as his is). it's been tough to come to terms with this reality, but i'm happy to report he is doing really well 6 months post-diagnosis.
for the first 3 months after his diagnosis, he did intense chemo every 3 weeks. he would be hooked up to the machines for around 6 hours each time, through a port in his chest. he was lucky to have very few side effects from the chemo. sure he lost his hair, felt tired, and had some neuropathy pains in his knees and feet, but overall he was pleasantly surprised by how far they have come with managing the side effects of chemo. he had 4 rounds of that type of chemo and his scans after the first 2 and second 2 rounds, showed the chemo was very effective in knocking back the tumors...in fact they shrunk by almost half. his doctor was very happy with the results and said they were as good as we could possibly hope for.
the last 3 months, he has gone in for "maintenance chemo" every 3 weeks. this only takes 1 hour each time and has no side effects. his hair is growing back too! my parents have been in florida for most of the winter, so he sees an oncologist down there. the plan is for him to keep doing maintenance chemo for as long as it keeps the tumors from growing. they will do scans about every 3 months to check.
my parents have been enjoying themselves so much this winter in florida. i miss them, but i know that being down there is so good for their emotional health. thank goodness for skype! my dad is still feeling great and walks and bikes almost every day. it's amazing! it's still hard to wrap my head around the fact that he is so sick, when he seems as strong as ever. we can only hope these days continue for a long time to come.
anyway, thanks for letting me reflect on this. we knows things could change at any time, but we are so grateful for the good results he has seen so far. there are new advances being made every day in the world of cancer drugs and we can only hope that if he stays strong for a few more years, they will come out with something to eliminate these tumors or at least keep them in check so he can be lucky enough to grow old. thanks for listening and for checking in on how he is doing. i really appreciate it!