Metastatic (Secondary) Cancer

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Hello Everyone,

My name is Bob and I come here to you via the Macmillan Online Community Head & Neck Forum; where I was referred here by GeneS.

In May 2021 I was diagnosed with throat cancer at the  base of my tongue and was processed through 30 sessions of, successful, but painful, radiotherapy. I was declared free of cancer in November 2021 and I am still recovering from the radiotherapy but not yet eating properly.

In March 2023, I started having chest pains but let it go for a while (I'm a man) but I had to got to my GP in July. I had two chest x-rays and an ECG; which were all accepted as fine. I think the GP put it down to being muscular pain. However, in mid-October, I had to return tp my GP as the pain was worsening. I did see a locum doctor on this visit and, after a good examination, he suggested that a CT Scan was necessary and this took place on Thurdsday 2nd November and my GP surgery called me on the 6th to come and see the senior GP the next day.

I was informed that the CT Scan results indicated the presence of cancer in my chest area. He did mention the Pleura, the Pericardium and the chest wall. I went to see a Respiratory registrar last Friday and he showed me the CT results and explained to me that the cancer was in several areas of both lungs and that there is a quite enlarged lymph node close to my heart.

It was also explained that the cancer was probably incurable and that any treatment would only be for comfort and quality of life.

The next step is for a Bronchosopy (EBUS) to determine if this is metastatic from the original throat. cancer.

My partner, Wilma, is in denial and says that the biopsies might still be clear. I am having a bit of difficulty with this as I need us both on the same page to take this onwards.

Any insights would be appreciated.

Thank You,
Bob

  • Hi Bob.

    I to would like you, both to be on the same page.

    Though until you have the biopsies, this is not to be, yes it is hard.

    I was incurable, with lung cancer from day one, that will be eight years, march coming up, yes i have and think myself lucky, in lots of ways, every one cancer is different, even if the same type of cancer.

    The sooner the tests are dine, then hopefully both will be on the same page.

    Please keep us updated, We are all on this journey together.

  • Hi Bob, my you've been through it. Once all tests and biopsies results back you'll have a good idea were you stand. Then you'll be able to plan. When you go to see your consultant take Wilma with you so she can hear it from his mouth. My Ray was with me (5 months before first lock down) when I received my incurable but treatable diagnosis,  it was a shock after all clear from bowel cancer,  its in lungs and  a few othere places. he's still very hopeful for me but deep down he knows it could finish me off, but it could be a bus or covid or flu, god knows I don't.  Hope you get ok results and a treatment plan. Sending good vibes and hugs xx

    Moi

  • Thanks Moi,

    Thankfully, Wilma has been by my side all through this over the past 2+ years and we stick together. I just think that hearing the dark words from the doctor brought up her defensive shields.

    Bob

  • Hi Bob, its very hard for our loved one's to watch us suffer and they are scared of loosing us when things change. I'm so glad you and Wilma are doing this journey together. Its much easier when we support each other. But  my treatment started in lockdown so had to have treatment on my own, but I worry about him when he comes with me to hospital now. I have my treatment at home now so Ray makes tea for me and my nurse for the hour it takes. Take care and be kind to your self. xx

    Moi

  • Hi Bob, I'm sorry to hear about your recent problems and the fact your wife, you think, is in denial! I think a lot of spouses/partners go through this because if you don't acknowledge it....it doesn't exist. However inside they are just scared. You say you were told that you were Incurable and any treatment would be for comfort or quality of life. I was told that too and when I got put on a drug trial my oncologist said it may prolong my life for 6-9 months, that is what we expected. That was ten years ago and no one knows why I am still here! So please never give up hope. Even the professionals don't know what's around the corner and new better drugs are being developed month after month. 

    Love Annette x

    Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift!!!
  • Hi  

    Hello Bob and a warm welcome to the group. I'm sorry you find yourself here but you will find plenty of support and understanding. I'm sorry that Wilma is in denial at present. I'm sure that this is just a frightened response and an attempt to normalise the news. As Moi2 suggested, it would be a good idea for Wilma to be at your results appointment. I have some idea of how frustrating it is for others not to take on board the information we give them. My husband is excellent and fully understands the reality of my situation. However, other family members choose to assume that because I am currently stable, I have the all clear. I correct them and try to explain but it all becomes uncomfortable because they can't handle it. So I've decided that really I'm flogging a dead horse and the only person becoming agitated is me. So I give up, I'm not in control of what others want to think. I realise Bob, that this approach is not possible with a spouse and I'm sure that Wilma will be there for you once your results are back. Give it time. Best wishes for your bronchoscopy.

    A x

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  • Hi Bob. Welcome to the group no one wants to join. I hope chatting with members helps you to navigate your cancer journey with help, advice or just simple supportive words. 
    Im sorry to hear that Wilma is struggling with your diagnosis. Do you think it’s denial or could it be that she is simply scared and frustrated that she cannot do anything practical to stop this happening to you. 

    Perhaps she may find some help herself by joining the Family and Friends forum. I’ve never been a spouse to a cancer sufferer . I’ve always been the one with cancer so have no real concept of what Wilma is experiencing. Perhaps talking to people in the same position as her would help. 
    Wishing you both well 

    Rojan

  • Hi Bob

    The diagnostic stage is very difficult, the waiting and the uncertainty.  I've no answers but I just wanted to say hello.  I hope you are not waiting long for the biopsy and the subsequent results and after that can then move on to the next stage.    It does take time to come to terms with these situations.  I think we all realise that when we look back.