Friday, May 17, 2013

where lung cancer lurks friends bring light

Toppling from living 14 months diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer to Stage 4 lung cancer with metastasis of the brain in the time of a month is beyond words.

Somewhere between being in an earthquake movie or Freddy Krueger dragging me down through my dreams might work for fiction except this is real.

Radiation therapy as promised is painless, quick and the headaches that were driving me mad over the past weeks are gone. Some serious episodes of hiccups are now making me batty but the proverbial teaspoon of sugar seems to keeps them at bay.

Meeting with Dr. Milito today after my zapping I learned my treatments will be only 10 rather than 14. Since I have had two that means 8 to go and then onto chemotherapy.

See what I mean ... a month ago Stage 1 lung cancer was basically maintenance free except for regular follow up scans every 4 months to monitor any changes. It is a diagnosis that optimistically lulls you while lung cancer lurks.

Following yesterday’s family culinary adventure, vegetarian chili, carnivores, and cannibals with my wife to celebrate my first zapping, it's time to get back to what life is about - caring for others.

My tradition of 3 outings per week with my wife from her care facility where she lives with severe Multiple Sclerois has been interrupted for two weeks by my own upheaval in health status; this will be comeback week with three!

Calling the wonderful owner operators, Cathy and Kristen of Salon on Main I explained my vainity angst through this new aggressive treatment stage. They suggested a transitional ‘fade cut’ to see what really happens. I even brought my own baby shampoo. Omen of omens, I learned that my radiation oncologist is a customer of theirs.

Next a 3 mile walk around town up and down varying terrain, and surfaces from sidewalk to cobblestones I self-checked my abilities and stamina and making some time for playing with our cat.

Stage 4 is another world and of course nothing is more violating than lung cancer slithering into my brain.

The operative word is living and that is what I intend to do.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. You're still a hero in my eyes.

  2. Thank you Nelishia! Coming from what you and Dirk I'm honored.

  3. Out of curiosity, why are you also getting chemo? For Bob? or the brain? And...I must ask, when are you getting mutation tested?

  4. Hi Kim! Excellent questions! Yes, CIGNA has approved all the biomarker/genetic high tech testing to first of all find out if cancer in right lung is the same or different than orginal tumor in left upper lobe as there was never any previous evidence of metastasis from that tumor or lymph nodes. My oncologist explained the high tech testing is also about designing targeted therapy to destroy specifically the bad in 'Bob'. With everyone focused on cancer in opposite lung, discovering brain metastasis was luck of the draw having an episode of syncope at a hosptial. Agressively slow, stop, kill, and/or anilhate metastasis became new first step then chemo. To my limited knowledge so far trying to outlive Stage 4, chemo is not as effective on brain metastasis as radiation. ... thank for caring! I enjoyed you pictured with a Guiness and can taste one for myself to celebrate end of radiation.

  5. Patrick, I'm not blogging these days, but I have your caregiver blog still that I get notices for; I didn't realize about your diagnosis of mets to the brain; so sorry to hear this. I do hope the radiation (and chemo if you are getting it) is effective in the treatment. Do take care of yourself and allow yourself to be the recipient of care giving (if you can) instead of always having to be the care giver.


    1. Betty thank you for stopping my but as you know caregiving is what has kept me ticking for the last quarter century, shifting gears to reciving is complicated. Thank God I am blessed with a daughter who though often feels like a 'care nazi' this past week has got my back BIG TIME!