I have posted this every year at Thanksgiving in memory of our Quitnet friend. Jessicaybar, aka Janet Wells who was a very real quit buddy to those in early in Quitnet (now defunct). She was 42. We both had cancer that year from smoking. I was lucky and Janet wasn’t. Troutnut1-dennis
Lung cancer spread to brain now - This is WEIRD!
From jessicaybar on 1/10/2004 4:48:55 AM
I had to go to hospital and stay a night - they put me on steroids for, of all things, my brain being swollen. They did a cat scan on my head and found that there are several rather large tumors, and numerous little ones. They say this is commonly seen when lung cancer spreads to the brain. The lesions/tumors somehow make the brain swell - the pressure against the skull makes for pain and for some weird visual disturbances and other symptoms -
They did one treatment of radiation to the tumors - I have option to go back for more, but
I think I'd rather not lose my hair. That may be stupid, but it is beyond waist length, and I won't live long enough to grow it back (!) I don't think I can deal with the shame of having short hair (or no hair), even for a short while, stupid as that might sound to some but it is very important here with me and mine.When my hair is gone, that is more than I can bear, and that is when I lay down and die.
This is one of the things I feared most about the lung cancer. I didn't know lung cancer spread to the brain until after I was first diagnosed with early stage lung cancer two years ago - but I was assured all was fine, that it was a tiny little cancer, early stage, not spread anywhere, etc. But - they NEVER ever scanned my head to check for spread until now, after having symptoms of a small stroke and visual disturbances, and WOW, there it is, with quite a presence.
They say this isn't curable - the best they can do with radiation or chemo is to knock down the size of the tumors, which will help with symptoms, for a while, but they say the tumors will come back , etc. They tell me 6 months, maybe a year without treatments, with lots of pain - or maybe 12 months stretching to 2 with treatments - There is a very real reality of succumbing to sudden events such as paralysis, stroke, cerebral hemmorhage, coma, and more - I know they tell me these things to encourage me to take treatments, but even with treatments these tumors will return and those things will become a reality at some point, more than likely, anyway -
I'm at home now with lots of pain pills and steroids, and inclined not to return unless the pain/symptoms become unmanageable. The radiation oncologist told me the failure rate when it has spread to the brain is really high - i.e. just a repeat that the radiation can help hold it back a while but won't cure -
Well bummer. I had hoped to live. Doctors say that isn't possible.
So! I'm back to where I was, and I think where I've always been - waiting on the Lord, hoping and praying, and knowing the only healing that comes will be from Him.
I strongly considered having a cigarette while I was in the hospital. I would have had to go outside to the smoking area, in the wind and cold, and bum one off of someone - and I know that it probably would have made me feel very green. Even so, I was tempted. Sometimes I think that if I went back to smoking, the poison in the cigarettes might be nasty enough to kill the cancer!! Maybe, who knows. I'm positive the poison in them is what started the cancer, though, so -
I just can't bring myself to smoke as it's like instant condemnation, damnation if I do - It looks to me like I've already been damned though, so maybe it doesn't even matter at this point - but I *do* breathe easier, and my children aren't breathing in all that smoke, and my house, clothes, etc. don't smell like that anymore - that's nice.
Doctors say I can't work anymore. I kind of knew that already - I felt so bad since before Christmas vacation, then all through Christmas vacation, and when school started back this past week, I knew I wasn't able. That's going to make things hard. BUT there is a good side to that - I will get to stay home with my children, be a homemaker again for a little while. It will give me enough time (I hope, as long as nothing drastic happens for a few weeks) to get all my paperwork, etc. together for when the time comes - It'll be nice to have my house CLEAN again - that is so hard to keep up with when working full time - it'll be nice to spend time with the children like we used to do, before I started working full time years ago -
I'll go up and clean out my stuff from my classroom at school. I feel awful about doing it though - it's like stripping the room of its personality, of me, and that's kind of sad. It's a bright, cheery room, full of bright primary colors, toys and lots of books and manipulatives placed in a way to make it very attractive to little ones. I may just donate a big part of the stuff to the school - it just seems like it belongs there now as that's why I bought the stuff to begin with, for the school room, and it just seems like it belongs there -
Got to talk with funeral home people - geez louise, they charge for every little thing! Absolutely ridiculous! I decided to do away with most of the things they charge for - I'm having my grave dug here on the place, back on the mountain a little piece, where it won't cost to "buy a plot", and getting it dug beforehand by someone else. I don't wanted the embalming, visitation, etc..funeral home says I MUST have embalming (another charge) unless there is immediate-within-24-hours burial so I've asked for immediate, within 24 hour burial. They hold will be ready and waiting for them (they made sure to tell me that if they dug it, it would be $350..). They sell coffins for $5400 - no thanks, give me the $450 pine box, and NO I DON"T NEED A FRIGGIN VAULT for that- They want $130 or somesuch "transfer fee" (transferring from hospital or home to funeral home) and $150 or somesuch "coach fee" (use of hearse for a funeral) - We can forget using the hearse - just put the coffine and me in the back of the 4 WD pickup truck, go on back to the grave site and proceed, no hearse needed - They've got a charge for every little thing - By sticking with the most basic of basics, doing what we can ourselves - the funeral home is still going to pocket $1500 or $2000!! And for what? good grief.
At any rate, here I am in my final months, arguing with the funeral home people.
SO what's my point in writing this here. I don't know. I guess I'm still in shock that this progressed from "tiny, stage 1, CURED lung cancer" to "terminal, end stage lung cancer spread to brain, lymphnodes, etc." and guaranteed death within a precise amount of time.
My head hurts. You know how you get little visual wigglies, etc. when you have a migraine come on?? That happens with this, constantly, plus more and it's hard to get used to.
I've got my pills, I'll go take another - they help some - I've go take more cancer tea and herb supplements and get ready for church. They have told me they will do an annointing soon - Perhaps with the laying on of hands, the annointing, perhaps we will get to see God show off. Wouldn't that be cool? I've got so many tests, scans, etc. that show cancer, cancer, cancer, terrible incurable cancer - I would LOVE for doctors to see it disappear out of the blue - they couldn't possibly deny the work of God then.
I'm 42 years old. This cancer started when I was 38, they tell me - they didn't find it (*as early stage 1 curable cancer* until I was 40. In 2 years time I've gone from cured and well, to ready to die. ALL BECAUSE OF CIGARETTES.
I don't want to die. I have a 4 year old, and older children too. I want MORE children. I have stuff to do. Places to go. SALES to go to! LOL
You know what? The suffering, the pain, the aggravation, the hopelessness, the sadness - not one single cigarette is worth what I've gone through, am going through, or look to go through. Not ALL the cigarettes are worth this.
If you're sitting on the edge of the fence, not sure whether to really put the effort forth to quit smoking , or perhaps wondering about whether to go on back to smoking - don't do it. Especially not if you're a female. Females are now seeing an epidemic of lung cancer deaths, at earlier and earlier ages. we're talking 30s and 40s here.
It appears Satan is alive and well, and he laughs as we fall. There are over 400,000 of us in the U.S. that fall to the lung cancer each and every year. That's a lot of people, people!
I will continue on as normal as I possibly can - make the most of every day from here on out, I guess. If I hadn't smoked, I might have lived to be 83 or 86 like my grandmothers. Looks like I won't make even half their age.
Thanks so much, Phillip Morris & R. J. Reynolds.
Janet Wells, aka Jessicaybar, died at Thanksgiving, 2004. May she rest in peace