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Please. My mom was diagnosised with small cell lung cancer in March 2004. It met. to the bones. She went through chemo and then at the end, a scan revealed it had gone away. Out of the bone and the lung. A month later, its back. She has developed a large mass on her right temple of her head. Her back hurts so badly. She's never had back problems. She is weak and tired. The mass is back in the lung too, but in a different spot.

Can someone lay it on the line for me as to what is going on? She just says the cancer is back.

Is is ok for me to feel some anger that she did this because she smoked like a chimmney for twenty years? I feel so badly that I feel like this. I am so scared. I am only 31. What am I suppose to do without a mom?

Susan in Michigan :(

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I am sorry about your mom. Let the anger go. Doesn't matter how she got the lung cancer, she has it and you both need to focus on treatment. I take it from your post that she is not being candid with you. Can you go to her appointments with her so you can speak with the doctor about her stage?

I wish you both the best. I see you are in Michigan, where is your mom being treated?


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Yes, it is okay to feel angry. You wouldn't be human if you didn't. But don't let your anger interrupt the time you have with your mom. Whether she lives another day or another year or another thirty years, this time is too short. So you have anger. Deal with it.

My daughter lost her mom at 3. Be grateful, not angry.


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Hi Susan,

From what you have described, yes, it sounds like the cancer is back. And that is the horrible part of this wretched disease, it can return without warning. But it does not mean your mother does not have options, there are many treatments out there, should your mom choose to pursue them further. If your mom is open to your help, try to find out as much as you can about her case, go with her to doctors visits if possible, do some research here and on the web. Be as supportive as you can, but please take care of yourself, being a caregiver to a sick parent is a very special job and difficult to do at times.

My mom smoked too, and it sucks, b/c that most certainly contributed to her LC. But there is nothing you can do about it now and trust me, you do not want to live with the anger and bitterness, so if you can, find a way to let it go and love your mom and support her the best way you know how.

All the best,


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Hi Susan,

I'm sorry to hear that you have all this to worry about, and I pray that everything is going to work out ok. I understand that SCLC is easy to knock down but likes to rear it's ugly head back again. There are many on here who have seen that ugly head a second, third and more times and keep knocking it back down. I pray the same will happen for your mom.

As far as the anger goes, I have always said that "How you feel is how you fee," and right or wrong, those feelings are there and need to be dealt with. The way people feel is always based on the way they look at the situation. If you can get to the point where you understand that if you had walked in your mom's shoes, you probably would have smoked, too, then it will help to minimize the anger a great deal, if not completely remove it. I know it's easy to say - "Oh no, I wouldn't have!" Just remember the phrase, "If I had walked in HER shoes," not YOUR shoes, HER shoes.

Almost all of us have made bad choices. It may not be about smoking - it might be about drinking, promiscuous behavior, 000, overspending, drug abuse, losing our temper, critical of others, even gossip. There is almost always a consequence for our bad choices, most of which most people never see coming. I think the best known phrase goes something like this: "It came back and bit me in the *ss."

Accepting someone else's lifestyle choice isn't always easy, but when it comes to someone we love dearly, and even those we don't, we either choose acceptance - or not! If we choose not, then I think we fall into being judgmental, and that in itself, will come back to bite us in ........

I don't know how to help you to come to the point of acceptance. Unfortunately, there isn't such a thing as Smoke-Anon (at least I don't think there is), but Al-Anon certainly helped me with the acceptance issue with an alcoholic mother. Once I got that acceptance and if I had walked in her shoes idea, I absolutely accepted it and understood for the rest of her life. I still didn't like to be around it, and chose not to most of the time, but I did understand, was never critical or angry ever again, and loved her with all my heart! By the way, it killed her - but I still never got angry. (Note: I sure would like to burn down all the bars and liquor stores in the country, though! LOL!!)

Hope this helps.

God bless you,


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I think it is perfectly fine to feel angry. My mom has had 2 by-pass surgeries due (in part) to smoking yet continues to smoke. My husband smoked and died from lung cancer 7/14/04 yet she continues to smoke. Smoking is an awful habit. Here's how I try and curb my anger/frustration. I do not have perfect habits either. I don't exercise and my favorite past time is driving through McDonalds. We all have short comings when it comes to our health. Your mom is no exception. You can still be angry about her smoking and continue to love her. I can't turn it off, I just try and remember none of us are perfect to our bodies.

In regards to the cancer coming back. I'm so sorry. I'm not so sure wha tis worse - we never saw remission with Robert - it was 4 months from dx to the day he died. Cancer is ridiculous and awful and unfair. I think that lung cancer is especially brutal and unforgiving.

I can't imagine losing my mom at 31 o rthinking about losing her now at 39. I lost my husband this year and my son lost his daddy at 8. I can tell you that there is never a good time. I would just say that each day is a gift and although your mom is sick, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow and WE ALL must choose to be gentler and cherish each moment with each loved one.

I hope your mom is strong enough to wage another battle against this beast and I wish you well. I hate cancer. I hate cancer.

Best of luck - and God Bless

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Susan, in Michigan (where in Michigan? Closer to RY or me?) -

Let the anger go. It will put a wedge in your relationship with your mother that will continue to grow. Your mother is "of age" and as pointed out before me, smoking is legal. I believe smoking should be legal, EXHALING is another story! (I have read reports that secondhand smoke is more toxic than putting the cigarette in your own mouth. If that's the caes, smokers are choosing to damage the health of others more than their own, and THAT should be illegal.)

But I digress...

I have lung cancer. I have never smoked. Ever. I don't deserve to be here, but neither does your mother. If only 10% of smokers actually get lung cancer, it's a crap shoot...and if 12% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers, that should also point out that lung cancer is NOT just a "smoker's disease" anymore than HIV/AIDS is a "gay man's disease". NO ONE deserves the hell AIDS puts people through, and no one deserves lung cancer.

I'm sorry your mother's cancer has returned. Drop the anger, find some constructive way to help/support your mother. This is not some self-inflicted suicidal move on your mother's part. She DID smoke, but she didn't do anything that society didn't approve of twenty-thirty-forty odd years ago. Cigarettes ARE legal, suicide isn't....deductive reasoning would tell you, therefore, that smoking is not suicidal... Hmmm..

Take care,


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If you can, go with your Mom to her next dr. visit to try and learn her exact diagnosis. Knowing that will help you further understand her condition. It is my opinion that being mad at her for contracting this disease A. doesn't help you and B.doesn't help her and C. wastes precious time. She didn't ask for cancer any more than overweight people ask for diabetes or gays ask for aids - yet now the stigma of having lung cancer will become part of her life, unfortunately. Sorry if I sound rough about this, but I do feel that lc patients are viewed in a "you're a very bad person who got themselves into this mess" light. I find that to be cruel and inhuman . Fighting for your life is hard enough. I'm sure she has thought about leaving you alone at such a young age and probably is shouldering enough guilt on her own. Please try and put a positive spin on things for her sake. It will do wonders for her.


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I sincerely hope you can vent some of your anger here and perhaps with friends, a counselor, minister, etc., and not show it to your mother when she needs your love and support right now. Try to remember what feelings you want to convey to your mother as if they were your last and her last -- surely you wouldn't want that to be anger?

You have my prayers and best wishes for a successful fight against this scourge. Take care.


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I understand completely the anger you feel right now, but you need to set that aside, or vent here if you like.

Whats important now is that your mom needs your love and support, and being non-judgemental. (I'm sure your mom feels guilty herself) As my mom says, theres no point in dwelling on things you've already done, you just gotta pull up your socks and do what needs to be done.

I'm hoping to take some of the anger I have and put it towards something useful, like education, advocacy. November is Lung Cancer month, so I'm hoping to have some clear ribbons and informational material to pass out at the office.

I'm also trying to find a lung cancer research specific charity to donate to. Although other cancer research is important, I'm tired of seeing lung cancer getting so little funding for research.

Those are just two ideas.

Life is too short to waste on things like anger.

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I know exactly what you are going through. My Mom, like your's, had small cell and breezed through the first part of the treatment and ended up cancer free for about 2 months and then it came back with a vengence. The cancer, in a way, knows what to expect now, so it will be harder to get rid of this time. My Mom didn't make it the second round, but that doesn't mean your's won't! Be there for her and be her cheerleader, and shoulder to cry on if she needs it. My Mom smoked for 50 yrs. and I lost her this month. I am 33yrs. old, and trying to deal will her not being there when I want to just call and say Hi. I have been a respiratory therapist for 13 yrs. and I tried to get her to quit, my grandmother passed 2 yrs. ago from NSCLC, but she still didn't quit. Smoking is a demon that is VERY hard to get rid of. Nicotine is as addictive as heroine. I'm sure your Mom has beaten herself up enough for the both of you about her smoking. We can't change what we did, but only try to make a difference in what we do from here on out.

I will be praying for you both. Please know that we are here for you, your mother, and your family.

God bless,

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I can feel your anguish, and I am so sorry you are in this situation. When my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, my first angry reaction was, "Well, what did you expect when you smoked for 65 years?" At one point, Dad sat on the side of his hospital bed, looked forlornly at us and said, "I guess I killed myself, didn't I?" Broke our hearts.

I quickly learned that lung cancer is enough to fight all by itself without adding regret, recriminations and blame. As lung cancer spread through Dad's body, it no longer mattered what caused it. All that mattered was the fight for more time.

Your mother is most likely beating herself up right now, as well as dealing with almost overwhelming fear. Fear of pain, fear of sickness, fear of the treatment, fear of the unknown, fear of death. I'm sure you already recognize that your anger isn't about blaming her. It's the helpless anger of watching your mother go through something terrible and not being able to stop it. It's fear.

From someone who lost a parent to lung cancer recently, focus on loving each other and finding something to enjoy every day with the hope that those days become years.

My best to you and your mother.


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Many of us here understand the frustration and anger.....anger at the smoking and just anger at the situation.

My Mom also made the comment that "I played the odds and lost" shortly after she was diagnosed.

I lost my father to COPD, which was primarily tobacco related.....but they were from a different time and a different culture. It was the "smoke 'en if you got 'em" culture and that was very difficult to overcome.

I can't really add anything to what has been said.......except set your anger aside the best you can and just love your Mom.....love each moment that you have and care for her the best you can.

You won't regret caring for her, you WILL regret being angry with her.

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Let me just ask you this question:

Who or what would you be angry with, if your mom never had smoked?

I was a smoker too...for 40 years. And one of the first things I did after being diagnosed, was say to my husband, my two grown (25 and 30 y/o) sons and my best friend...."I'm sorry!"

Each and every one of them said to me, "Stop it! Don't you apologize. Just concentrate on doing what you need to do to beat this thing!"

My point with the question above, is that it IS real dang easy for people to blame an ex-smoker - if they are so inclined - for causing their own cancer. But how, then, do you explain all the smokers that NEVER GET CANCER?

Smoking is NOT the only factor involved in who gets lung cancer. So it shouldn't be the first thing people want to blame. And in any case, blame doesn't do a darn thing to help someone survive this disease.

I'll ask it again....who or what would you be mad at for your mom having cancer, if she had been a lifelong NON smoker?

Best get off the anger train and spend your energies focusing on what you can do to help your mom thru treatment, and to survive this disease. I got not one MOMENT of blame or recriminations from my loved ones. Today I'm cancer free. Who knows what tomorrow will bring....but WHEN I go...none of my loved ones need feel any regret for having blamed me for causing my own cancer.

I'll die happy, if I know those I leave behind will have no regrets over my passing.

P.S. I came back to edit. For one thing...to reduce the size of the italicized question above. It sorta looked like I was yelling at you....because the question was so large. I didn't mean to yell, so I reduced it. :wink:

Secondly, I forgot to say that I DID quit smoking...the day I went in for my biopsy. To a certain extent, quitting was made a lot easier for me, knowing that nobody was ragging my butt to do it! Nobody held me responsible for being in the situation I was in. Nobody wanted to make any of it more difficult for me than it was already...they just wanted me to get well and get rid of the cancer, if possible.

Those of us who smoke or did smoke KNOW it's not good for our health and likely accept that it contributed to our cancer. We don't need to be reminded of that or nagged to quit. In fact, most of us are probably more likely to quit if we are accepted and loved "as is"! The security of being loved "as is" sometimes provides the strength to do what we need to do...where nagging creates stress and makes most smokers just want to keep lighting up.

Anyway, it's clear you care about your mom....so just keep caring for your mom as best you can....and try to accept her as she is. I can pretty much guarantee you that's she's having a hard enough time accepting her diagnosis and looking towards her future. It will be a big boost for her to know you stand by her to help her any way you can...and that that won't include any judgments on your part. She'll appreciate that, I know!

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Yes, folks here are so right. Put the anger aside and it's time for love, encouragement. Same as Katie, I lost my dad while I was 30. Now I am 31. We are too young to lose our dear parents. Frankly speaking, you should focus on the treatment plan with your dear mom. She may not ask the right question and make the right decision especially when she is the patient. Second opinion is a wise choice.

Don't get angry with your mom. Everyone of us is born for love. Keep us posted

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