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We think it's cancer....do you?

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Hi, I’m writing about my mom. She’s been a smoker for 40+ years now, and over the past year or two has developed signs of cancer. There’s a LOT of denial, though, so we can’t get straight answers from her. It’s a long story, but I’ll do my best to make it short. Does it sound familiar to anyone?

Almost 2 years ago she had an x-ray done that showed a shadowy mass in one upper lobe. She was supposed to return for follow up, but didn’t and didn’t even tell anyone about the x-ray. By the time we found out (9 months? later) and convinced her to go back, there were 2 masses, one in each upper lobe. At first she was scared and returned for an MRI. There was a lot of candid talk about not wanting to hear “I told you soâ€

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There is no way to know the answer unless she sees the doctors, has the tests, and chooses to tell you. It could be something else, like TB or COPD - who knows. She is getting older and may have many aches and pains, even a variety of medical problems. You can't know unless she follows up, so no use creating more worries for yourself. It is not in your control.

I will say, if you have been worrying for a year or two, that is a pretty long time - especially without treatments.

I guess the bottom line is - don't assume the worst. It is not necessarily so, though it could be. You cannot determine with the data available to you right now, not for sure. It is up to her, all the way around, what she does, what she says, and no one of us knows the number of our days. You could go before her. Just love her like she is, maybe mention in a non-threatening way that you are available for anything and everything, you would rest easier if she would get a "check-up" but hey, you are Mom, let's really enjoy this new baby.

Bless you, little one, Margaret

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Hello and I wish you the best with your new little baby. The info you have given us doesn't sound good at all-but only your mother can make the decision to see the dr and get testing. I pray for her. My mother n law died 3 weeks after being dx with cancer(lung)

because of her same attitude. My husband had a neck tumor for almost a year before telling anyone and seeing a dr.--and his was lung cancer. I wish people would understand how serious the warning signs of any cancer are--and get the treatment if they so desire.

I wish you the best and god bless,Nancy C

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Does it sound familiar? Yes. If you read through the stories in the My Story forum you will see many similar to your mom's. I wish you the very best. I am sorry she is not able to face this head on.

All the best to you and your family~

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You must be so frustrated with the situation the way it is. It just does not sound good.

Something is going to have to be done. At least she is going to have to level with all of you about her condition. I have a feeling she knows exactly what is wrong with her. And if not it has to be checked out.

I feel so bad for all of you that she is putting you through all this uncertainly. How scarey this is for all involved. She doesn't realize how much better it would be for everyone if she is honest about her feelings.

I don't know what else to tell you except best of luck with your new arrival in 6 weeks. That is wonderful that you family is growing. You are blessed there.

Stay strong,


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You know, your mother probably has the same attitude we all had at first when we were dx.d with our lung cancer (IF that's what she is thinking it is) and that is, "No One Lives Once They Get Lung Cancer."

Smoker or non-smoker isn't the issue here. We only want to help her through this journey.(if in fact it IS LC) We don't judge her for what she did or didn't do. We have many members here that NEVER smoked, so it's not just a smokers disease.

Your mom sounds exactly like my mom did many moons ago when she was not feeling well. When my mom would cough, she would say, "Oh, it must be damp out" :roll: She always had an excuse for her coughing, but never was it the 3 packs a day that help3ed the cough along! But, I have to say, my mom coughed like that for YEARS! We never really got straight answers from her either.

When my sister and I took her to the doctor for the first time, the doctor asked all kinds of questions. Well, I stood behind my mom, and my sister sat next to my mom, so when the doc would ask a question and my mom would say, what ever, I would shake my head yes or no. (example: Doctor said, How many packs do you smoke in a day? my Mom said: oh.... 1 maybe 1-1/2) WRONG! I put up three fingers. :roll: But I loved here with all my heart. What I would do to have that all back again.

Well, I wish you luck. What ever you do, love her and never make her feel like it's her fault because she smoked. (PLEASE?) Enough guilt goes with this disease and having that hang over our heads only takes away some of our fight.

And who knows, this could be anything. Yes it could be COPD.

Good luck and God Bless,


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This is a really difficult one and I'm only pitching in because something very similar happened with my Gran. What my Dad eventually did (with other siblings) was approach his father and let his father tackle it.I still believe that my granddad knew something was up but couldn't handle the thought of his wife being sick and followed her lead (deny deny deny). When confronted by his children my grand father tackled my gran and it led to diagnosis and treatment.

BIG CAVEAT - I have no idea about your family dynamics and whether this is feasible. This is so hard. I wish the best for you.


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I can't imagine how frustrating and scary it must be for your Mom to not be straight with you.

I wanted to reply to your post because while Mom was seeking out answers... We found out she had LC when I was 6 months pregnant. The feelings of the expected baby, and the fear of losing Mom were so overwhelming some days. If you ever need an ear in that vein, please shoot me a PM.

I'm one who has been constantly obsessing about how to spend my time. And my only advice is regardless of whether this is cancer... we never know how long any of us have. Spend all the time you can with your Mama, especially if her health is looking iffy. I know that can be complicated with long distances and expected future events like baby coming. You will find a way to balance it all, but do what you need to to be with those you hold dear as much as possible.

And to go with that--if you find yourself in a position of feeling torn between two places, or many placese, or many different people... Do the best you can to be with them when you can. Follow your gut. And don't let the guilt-monster at you. When there are many needs in our lives, we just can't be everywhere at once. Take it a day at a time and try to discern where it is best to be as you go... Just do your best. Your loved ones know that you love them.

(((hugs))) to you in this scary time.

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Every moment is precious. You can't make your Mom do a darn thing anymore than she can make you do something you don't want to do.

The one thing that she and all of us deeply desire is love. Love her up the best you can without getting into her health issues. If she chooses to ignore them, could you practice to ignore them also?

We all have choices. She is a grown woman. And for some reason, this is hers of her own choosing. (In a way, she sounds like a rebellious teenager!)

Denial is a strange and powerful mask, disguise, curse, survival technique that may be conscious or sub-consciously istituted. Respect that this is her way of dealing with what has been put in front of her. For some reason, this is where she needs to be.

Best with all of your family.

Cindi o'h

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