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I don't have a clue how to begin this...I guess with the relevant

issue. My 65 yo mother has lung cancer that has spread to lymph

nodes. She is 10 yrs with COPD, on oxygen 24/7, and continues to

smoke. Docs say no surgery, no chemo, no radiation. Basically

nothing to do treatment-wise except keep her comfortable. I feel I

desparately need someone to help guide me through this. My father

has been her primary caregiver...and he is over 70 and keeps many

things from us kids. My closest sibling is my older sister and she

is in Calif. (I am in Oregon). I have a long history of mental and

emotional instability but have been very strong and on the right

track for over 4 years now. I am restricted physically because of a

double-fusion in my neck in September that has not healed correctly

and am playing the "dang it when is someone going to find out what's

wrong" game with the doctors about this. I am in constant pain from

it. I don't know where to turn, I don't want to talk to sister or

father, they have their own stuff to deal with...but I absolutely

want to be there for my mom and them during the next few months while

we go through this. I want to be strong and yet I can feel myself

beginning to crumble from the weight piling on me. Where the heck do

I start...to get help for myself so I can be a help to the others? I

have limited funds and limited medical insurance coverage. The only

thing I can think of to do is make appt. with my primary care doc and

lay it all out for her...and see what she says. Any suggestions from

those out there that have had similar experience? Thanks for letting

me reach out...not something I am used to doing.


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twheeler--I know you may feel as if you aren't so strong right now, but reading what you've been through and knowing you are continuing to press on... Wow!!! You've come so far already. You will come through this all as well.

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. And sorry to hear things are so difficult for you as well. Going to your family doctor would be a good place to start. I also wonder if perhaps you could find a trusted clergy-person--and if you're comfortable maybe even see if they can keep the 'religion stuff' out of it and just serve you by being a sounding board? That might be a place to go. Perhaps also there are support groups of some sort for family members of people with serious illnesses?

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mom. Keep us posted on how she is and how you are.

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Hey, yes, go to your family doc and lay it all out for him/her. I've done that, and mine has been very helpful in getting me what I need to get myself healthy, either mentally or physically. It couldn't hurt, and they may have some ideas/resources for you that you wouldn't have known about. Some good psychological counseling could help, too. It's bad enough to go through the anxiety and awfulness of a close family member with cancer, but when you've been beaten down with your own physical ailments it's ten times worse. I know.

I can't believe your Mom's doc says no treatment at all. Is that because of her COPD or oxygen or something? Do you know WHY? I would try to, as calmly as you can, find out why. See what else you can find out, her diagnoses (small cell or non small cell), staging, etc and let us know.

Do you live near your parents? Once you get yourself together, I think it's good to be as supportive as you can and do what you can to help them. but try to get yourself together first, that's important.

hang in there and PM me if you want to talk more.


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All we have at this point is the meeting with her primary doc with the results of the CT scan. There are three large masses in upper left lung and 4 affected lymph nodes, one of which is 4.9 cm. Mom has appt with her lung doc next week to discuss doing biopsy. Primary doc says because she has so little lung tissue from the COPD, surgery is not an option, she would never survive it. Mom told him she didn't want chemo or rad. So we really don't know what kind or what stage yet. In a nutshell, the doc was very very grim. (He has been with her for a while and has treated her very well and she trusts him).

I am still 'holding it together'...just not sure how much longer I can continue to do so. I tend to be fairly 'in touch' with myself, having found that to be necessary in order to overcome 'relapses' with the mental illness problems. I am just finding myself a little nervous about my stability right now...and that has always been a big red flag that I need to pay attention and seek help, quickly. I am a person that requires order and calm and when things go off-kilter I just need to pay close attention.

Thanks for the suggestions.


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Ok, now I see where you are. Look, after you see the lung doc - get the biopsy done - and meet with an oncologist, things may look completely different. They may have some options for her. And she may realize that she can do the chemo and radiation - I mean she can as in she may realize she wants to. It sounds like until you have a biopsy there's no way to know whether it's non small cell or small cell. If it's small cell, surgery wouldn't be an option anyway. So her options may look better after you talk to the cancer docs.

In my opinion, things are always darker when you don't know what's going to happen and you don't yet have a plan. After things start rolling I hope they improve for you and your family.

I hope you go to those appts with her, I think you can be of great support.

Hang in there and please keep us posted.


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Hi and welcome, so sorry to hear about your Mom, but wanted to tell you that my Mom was unable to have surgery for the same reason as your mom... COPD... She is 66 and otherwise pretty healthy, so the docs recommended chemo along with radiation. She did only have one small spot but today it is gone and she is cancer free or as we call it here NED (no evidence of disease).

Please urge your mom to at least meet with an onc. and get another opinion as they know much much more than family docs. Also the chemo and radiation are not always as bad as we hear. My mom had a really easy time with it. I think too that the docs control the amount of chemo they give according to the health of the patient. There are all kinds of drugs available today to cure almost any side effect she can have. Just dont give up the battle before its even began.

Please keep us posted about your mom, and most certainly get yourself in tip top shape so you can help your Mom.

God Bless


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Sounds to me like the ladies above have said it all. I forget which one of them said something about things looking so dark, but that does happen, especially with initial diagnosis, and any subsequent bad news reports. The good news is that as soon as there is a plan in place, it's just amazing how the lc patients (and caregivers) just get a grit about them that they are going to fight this thing!

Now that I've said all that, my dad had severe COPD, and I do think that if he would have ever had cancer that it would have been very hard on him to get chemo and radiaion. I don't know if he could have gotten through it, either, but if it had happened, unless his pulmonary docs just told him it would kill him quicker, he would have tried it!! He was the most hopeful, optimistic person!

So, anyway, there's two things to think about. I guess your mom will be better able to decide when she gets more information.

Lots of prayers and hugs coming your way,


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