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My mom, my best friend


walzja

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My mom got diagnosed with Stage III NSCLC in April 2004. She has gone through both radiation and chemo, extensive amounts of both at the same time. She went through hell as we sat by her side having to just watch it happen. It tore our hearts apart. We are a very close family and our mom is the glue that holds it all together. She is done with all treatment and her first 2 scans came back OK, but now she has the original pain back in her chest and back so she had scans done last Thursday (right before Christmas, OH JOY) and we are not so patiently waiting for the results. She is in an extreme depression and my sister & I are at our wits end as to what to do to help her find hope again. It is like she is giving up and there is nothing we can do. We do have her on anti-depressants, but it seems to be much deeper than that and they don't seem to be helping at all. We are desperate and are looking for any suggestions on what to do to help her find hope again. Can anyone offer any suggestions? I love my mom more than anything in the world and I am not ready to lose her. If the scans come back normal that is going to be phenomenal, but we still are going to need help with her mental state so I am coming to this site to see if there is any help out there. Any help/comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you, Jackie

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Welcome. Sorry that you had to find us but glad you did. There are lots of members here with NSCLC. Whatever question you or your mom may have, you are sure to find someone here that has walked that path. I had NSCLC with radiation and chemo at the same time. Surgery was right after that. I am doing great now. This is not a fun ride but you sure have the best of company to join in. Keep us posted.

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Hi Jackie,

If hope were a commodity that could be sold, I could spare some of mine and I would be RICH! I have tons of it most of the time. Come test time though, my reserves go down too! I think everyone gets a little shakey come test time, especially with the pains or even imagined pains, or pains that are from something else.

For me, antidepressants are a must have. No shame. Not one little bit. And a nice leather couch is a big boost too. I have got a wonderful shrink that can pull a rabbit out of a hat. Maybe your mom is open to talking about her feelings with a trusted member of the helping profession. There may be some feelings and thoughts that she needs to discuss with someone other than her family. Some of those things she may be keeping to herself for fear of hurting/scaring her family.

Lots of wonderful ears in this part of the country. I hope that you have the same where you are. Maybe your oncologist's office can hook you up with someone?

These are my thoughts on the matter.

As much hope as I have, I am not able to give any away, unless they want it and are receptive to it.

Best of luck to you and your family.

Cindi o'h

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Hi Jackie and WELCOME!

Cindi offered some good tips about getting professional help. I also recently offered some suggestions on another thread to someone else who asked the same question: http://www.lchelp.com/community/viewtop ... highlight=

If you followed that link and read my suggestions, the only thing I would again stress is to NOT overdo it because she is probably a pretty smart lady and will know you are just trying to cheer her up. LOL! First, you have to really believe in your own heart that she is going to get better, and then you will be able to offer hope.

As you can see from my husband's profile below, there is always hope. There are going to be other people welcome you with even greater (and longer) success stories than my husband's. While it doesn't always work out so well for everyone, it does work out for a LOT of people, and I just bet your mom is going to be one of them.

Once again - WELCOME! I hope you will find as much love and support here as I have.

God bless you,

Peggy

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Jackie,I also have nsclc and underwent surgery then chemo & radiation at the same time.As Bruce mentioned it is a tough road to travel but often times worth the discomfort.I have been stable since Jan 04,so as I reflect on it the pain & sickness & etc, were so far, worth it to me.

Unfortunately every time we get a hurt somewhere we uaually think the worst.Hopefully your mom's pain will be nothing serious but the waiting is torture.I am very happy to wake up each morning so I'm not able to comment on the depression issue,however there are many here that are managing depression.I'm sure they will have some ideas for you.

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Hi Jackie,

Sorry to hear about your mom, perfectly understandable how she feels and a lot to take in at first. I think it is important to take it one step and one day at a time. Stay positive and focused. Learn as much as she/you can, knowledge is the key. Focus on what one can do. Focus on living. Flip the coin over, I keep reminding myself it could always be worse. Also a support group (or phone buddy) for people going thru the same thing is very helpful. Seeing how others are coping and dealing with it. Not to go it alone. Below is a link, they have them all around the country and some other links that might be of help. Stay with us lots of people here to offer help, support and caring. I hope this helps and my thoughts and prayers are with your mother, you and your sister. Peace, take care and God Bless.

Rich

http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org/pro ... /guide.asp (The Wellness Community / National Cancer Support, Education And Support / Free)

http://lcam.org (Lung Cancer Awareness Month / November)

http://www.roycastle.org (Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... h&DB=books (NCBI / BookShelf)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... _id=&state (Caregiving)

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/MON/MON_1.asp (Track Side Effects)

http://www3.cancer.gov/cancercenters/centerslist.html (NCI-designated Cancer Centers / Cancer Centers Listed by State)

http://www.healthology.com/focus_articl ... cancernews (How To Eat Well During Cancer Treatment)

http://www.lifeclinic.com/focus/nutrition/nutrition.asp (Nutrition Facts and Information Center)

http://www.about-nsclc.com/content/patient/nsclc (Iressa)

http://www.about-nsclc.com/content/prof/about (Iressa)

http://www.findcancerexperts.com (Find Cancer Experts)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Making Decisions About Cancer Treatment)

http://www.chemocare.com (ChemoCare)

http://www.curetoday.com/currentissue/d ... index.html (Toolbox: Resources You Can Use)

http://www.cancerindex.org/clinks8h.htm (Resources for Caregivers)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=U ... sa&spell=1 (Medicaid)

http://www.thehealthinsurance.com/medicaid.htm (Medicaid)

http://www.thebeehive.org/health/contests/medicaid.asp (Medicaid)

http://www.lungcancerfyi.com/lung_cancer_faq.html ((Lung Cancer - Frequently Asked Questions)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/treatme ... osurg.html (Surgery - General Information & What to Expect)

http://www.lungcancerfyi.com/lung_cancer_glossary.html (Lung Cancer Glossary)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Receive the PLWC Bulletin)

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/health/hos ... p_home.htm (Directory Of American Hospitals)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/tests/index.html (Lung Cancer Online / Test And Procedures)

http://www.vh.org/adult/patient/cancerc ... index.html (Understanding Blood Tests / A Guide for Patients with Cancer)

http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/tr ... ng/patient (SCLC)

http://www.meds.com/pdq/smallcell_pat.html (Medicine OnLine / SCLG)

http://health.allrefer.com/health/prima ... -info.html (Diseases And Conditions / SCLC)

http://www.hospicefoundation.org (Hospice Foundation Of America)

http://www.hospiceweb.com (Hospice Web)

http://www.hospice-america.org/consumer.html (Hospice Association Of America)

http://www.hospicenet.org (Hospice Net)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 151,00.asp (PLWC Feature: Talking to Someone With Cancer)

http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/ ... 87526.html (3-year-old keeps her smile in battle with rare cancer)

http://www.rfalung.com (Radio Frequency Ablation Of Lung Cancer)

http://www.lungcancercoalition.org (Global Lung Cancer Coalition)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (PLWC Feature: Financial Support Resources)

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/nycu/healt ... hqcanc.htm (Best Hospitals)

https://www.alcase.org/advocacy/sign_the_petition.html (Advocacy / Sign the Petition)

http://www.cancersymptoms.org (Oncology Nursing Society)

http://www.plwc.org/plwc/MainConstructo ... 008,00.asp (Questions to Ask the Doctor)

http://www.alcase.org/education/publica ... reath.html (With Every Breath A Lung Cancer Guidebook / From ALCASE / A Wealth Of Information / Free)

http://www.cancersurvivaltoolbox.org (The Cancer Survival Toolbox / Free / From NCCS)

http://www.centerwatch.com (Clinical Trails Listing Service / Center Watch)

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&editi ... ung+cancer (Lung Cancer In The News)

http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org/pro ... /guide.asp (The Wellness Community / National Cancer Support, Education And Support / Free)

http://www.drugs.com (Drug Information Online)

http://www.alcase.org (ALCASE / Alliance For Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, Education)

http://www.nlm.nih.gov (Unites States / National Library Of Medicine)

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/encyclopedia.html (Health Information / Medical Encyclopedia)

http://www.google.com (Great Search Engine)

http://blochcancer.org (R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation, Inc. / Please read: A Letter to all newly diagnosed cancer patients)

http://www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society)

http://www.cancer.gov (Cancer Information Service / NCI)

http://www.cancerresearchcenter.org (Cancer Research Center)

http://www.aicr.org (American Institute for Cancer Research; Nutrition Hotline / AICR)

http://www.cancerhopenetwork.org (Cancer Hope Network)

http://www.acor.org (Association of Cancer Online Resources / Free Online Lifeline For Everyone Affected By Cancer & Related Disorders)

http://www.meds.com/lung/lunginfo.html (Lung Cancer Information Library)

http://www.lungusa.org (American Lung Association)

http://www.ama-assn.org (American Medical Association)

http://www.docguide.com/news/content.ns ... g%20Cancer (Doctor’s Guide / Lung Cancer)

http://www.healthfinder.gov/Scripts/Sea ... ?topic=506 (Healthfinder)

http://www.medicinenet.com/Lung_Cancer/article.htm (Medicine Net)

http://www.cancerindex.org/clinks2l.htm (Cancer Index / Lung Cancer Resources Directory)

http://www.nfcr.org/site/PageServer?pag ... ncers_lung (National Foundation For Cancer Research)

http://www.patientadvocate.org (Patient Advocate Foundation)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/effects ... fects.html (Lung Cancer Online / Hematologic (Blood) Effects)

http://www.cancerlinks.org/lung.html (Lung Cancer Links)

http://www.cancer-free.com (Cancer Free Connections)

http://www.healthinsite.gov.au/topics/C ... ung_cancer (Health Insite)

http://www.lungcancerclaims.com (Lung Cancer / Lung Cancer Information Page)

http://www.cancerlifecenter.com/engine. ... =dictionar (Cancer Life Center/ Cancer Dictionary)

http://www.canceryellowpages.com/Resour ... G%20CANCER (Cancer yellow Pages)

http://icare.org (ICARE / The International Cancer Alliance)

http://www.vh.org/index.html (Virtual Hospital)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/support/financial.html (Lung Cancer Online / Financial, Legal & Insurance Issues)

http://www.lungcanceronline.org/index.htm (Lung Cancer Online / HomePage)

http://cancernews.healthology.com/focus ... cancernews (Cancer News)

http://cis.nci.nih.gov/fact/7_48.htm (Follow-up Care: Questions and Answers)

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Jackie,

I'm pretty sure that depression with a cancer diagnosis is normal. Really. Anti-depressants are good for some of it, but it will not clear out a deep-seated feeling of dread. She should be seeing a counselor, maybe even some solo sessions and some with family so she can share her fears and concerns.

She is working through the normal gamut of feelings: kicked in the gut, forlorn/self-pity (to some extent), denial, anger, fear - acceptance. She needs to get past what she is currently experiencing, accept that she does have cancer, and get on with her life. Treatment or no, she needs to take charge of her life again. Part of the downward spiral is thinking she no longer has control of what goes on with her. Help her gain that control back.

Mom needs to be in on the decision-making. Mom needs to decide what is best for her, and Mom needs to collect the data on both sides for decisions. Mom needs an advocate, Mom needs to make informed decisions - and Mom needs to feel like she isn't "broken". Self-worth is very important. Don't lie to her, it's serious - but don't let her bury herself, either.

Stage IIIa here, almost two years out. In the beginning, I never thought I'd see this point, and here I am. "Vision" gets blurred by cancer, not the vision that glasses will fix, the vision of the future. Mine still isn't in focus, but I am farther than the vision I had roughly two years ago.

Bottom line is to help her be her "old" self as much as possible. Not denial, just a refusal to let cancer win the mental battle without a fight. We all deal with the monsters under the bed at some time, help her find a flashlight to keep under her pillow, so to speak.

My best,

Becky

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Welcome, Jackie. It is tough to go through chemo and radiation at the same time. My wife had to go through that initially, and she had many down days. Tell your mom that there is hope. There are many survivors here, including my wife who was diagnosed Stage IV NSCLC and she is still going strong at 27 months. See if your mom can get interested in something -- hobby, family, etc. -- that can take her mind off thinking about cancer 24 hours a day. If she is skilled at art, sewing, cooking or something like that, try to get her interested in that, even if on a small scale. She needs something to be interested in and to work towards. My best to you and your family. Don

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I just wanted to welcome you. I'm to hear that your mom, you, and your family are going through this. I have no advice as I am still new to this journey (my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV LC around Thanksgiving), but I offer you my support, my ears, and my shoulder should you ever want or neet any or all at any time.

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Welcome Jackie,

I'm so glad you joined us. It is really a help to know that you aren't alone in this world and trying to cope with a cancer diagnosis. Every case and every person is different , but the one thing that I think helps is support. The support that I have gained here, as a caregiver, has helped me tremendously. Many of the members here have a wonderful survivors attitude. Most folks here consider themselves "warriors" , not "victims". They are focused more on life than death. I would suggest that you read here as much as you can and dwell on the positive. I think you will be able to take with you the right attitude to help your mom fight focus on winning this battle. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

sue

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Hi Jackie -

I'm always a day late. I was dx the same as your Mom at the same time. My surgery was in May and radiation/chemo stated in June. Last chemo was 10/04/04. I still have pain, not always but when it hits it can take your breath away and bring you to tears.

I agree with what everyone else has said about talking to someone! I understand what your mom is going through and it took my a long time to get to the point where I feel better about things and have accepted everything.

Good luck and keep us posted!

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Welcome Jackie. Not much for me to say after all the good words these other folks have posted, so I'll just extend my best wishes to you and your family that you get through this and come out on the other side even stronger.

I don't think there is anyone here who hasn't had those feelings of dread on at least a few occasions, and it's so easy to let it take over when your usual defense systems are a bit down.

Hang in there. Take care of yourself too.

Di

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When you have beat it back and think you made it through, it is such a shock when the beast comes back! I found that much harder to deal with than the initial dx! During round 2 I didn't tell anyone, (except here) until it was almost over and I was winning again! It is a big dissapointment to have it come back! Give your Mom some time to deal with this much bigger dissapointment, she will find her hope again, maybe give her this URL if she is the type to post on forums. I just wanted to welcome you and your Mom!

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Welcome,

I found that as soon as I could try to get back in to as close to a normal routine as possible the better. It was very distressing to be treated as a cancer victim once the "initial" treatment period was over. This is a long term fight and she needs to find a new normal - so it is generally best to help her focus on other things going on around the family, friends, neighborhood... anything independant of the cancer. Of course don't ignore the cancer issues. Let HER decide how much she needs to talk about or focus on issues related to her emotional and physical healing. You and your sister may need to seek your own psychological support. We are here for you and they have other caregiver support services in person if that is necessary. Just allow your mom to dictate how much time is spent on cancer v. noncancer issues. That helped me anyway.

Good luck to your familly.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Jackie,

I just lost my mom 6 weeks ago and it will never get any easier, but I can honestly tell you from experience that about a month before they begin their journey elsewhere, the brain shuts off all rationalization. My mom suffered severe depression and anxiety on January 11th and she passed away on Feb 15th. She told me that she couldn't control her thoughts and couldn't think of one positive thing. The doctors wouldn't put her on an antidepressent without her coming in for a visit, even though she was in so much pain, traveling back and forth to a hospital was not in her best interest. So after discussing it with her, the hardest day of my life was asking my mom if it was okay that I called Hopsice. She said okay. Hospice came in and brought her anxiety and depression medicine which did help her. One of the common signs that the end of life is nearing is severe anxiety and depression. It is the brain turning things off and the soul trying to fight it. It's not like any "Normal" signs of depression. It is so severe that you actually think that they are passing away within days. It's going to be tough for you, but if your mom is in a lot of pain, you are going to have to let her know it's okay to go. They hold on because we're hurting and we don't want them to leave. I hate the fact that my mom is gone, but I love the fact that she is in a much better place, young, beautiful and not hurting anymore. I can see her in my dreams and she lets me know everything is the way it should be.

Take care

Julie[/i]

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