I went to the doctor in Dec.2002 with a cough and slight lump below the collarbone. Following Xray , Scan , biopsy etc. I was told I had non-small cell lung cancer and had approx. 6 months to live. (Yes , your Math is right – that should make me the ghost of Christmas Past!) I started chemo for this – Carboplatin and Gemcitabine. I was 41 at the time. Second opinion suggested Thymic Carcinoma stage 4b with surgery a possibility after chemo to reduce size of the numerous tumours throughout my left lung.
The chemo was initially very effective and I had 8 cycles over a 6 month period. As it was working it wasn’t changed – despite the fact that Gemcitabine is not licensed for Thymic Carcinoma. I was then told that scans indicated secondaries on the lung / pleura and surgery was not an option. Radiotherapy was also not an option due to wide extent of the tumours. (Every cloud has a silver lining!) Prognosis 1 to 2 years. Further chemo the only option. Scans in Sept 2003 revealed fairly rapid growth in the tumours though thankfully no identifiable spread to other sites. A visit to Dr. Patrick Loehrer in Indianapolis (OCT 2003)confirmed everthing as above , but was also very helpful.
I am trying to decide whether to commence the recommended 2nd line chemo in Januaryor wait till later. Single agent Taxol (Taxotere) has been suggested. My consultant says ‘wait till you get ill’ although he is prepared to start chemo when I choose. I have some discomfort in left upper chest area, but otherwise am very well and doing everything I ever did and more! Its hard to know something’s wrong and do nothing about it. Feels a bit like russian roulette (either way) and I don’t like gambling. I’d like to hear from anyone who’s in a similar situation. I haven’t been in contact with anyone who has Thymic Carcinoma. Is there anyone in the UK in a similar situation? Is there anyone with experience of Taxol?
Please contact me at email@example.com with any thoughts , comments , advice etc.
P.S. Just reading your stories has helped me. Keep writing!