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Getting to Know You - December 05


Ann

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My sister. I found out at 3:30 pm on Jan 10th 2005. Once we left the Dr.'s office I called my sister. According to my youngest niece they received the phone call at 4:10 pm that same day. I think I was still in a state of shock because I remember calling my sister and feeling almost no emotion. I couldn't cry, get angry, nothing. Where as my sister completely broke down. It was the stangest thing, almost like an out of body experience.

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My co-workers. John had gone to the doctor that morning alone thinking he was having an allergic reaction. He had a pressure in his neck (which we found out later was the vena cava syndrome). The doctor sent him for a scan and by the afternoon they were pretty sure it was cancer. He came to work to tell me he had lung cancer and was on his way to schedule another CT and biopsy at the hospital. I was devastated after he left, started to cry-- no way of hiding it from anyone.

Rochelle

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Like Ry, My co-workers were the first people to know that the doctor strongly suspected Dennis had cancer. Dennis called me on the phone (of all things) just upon leaving the doctors office. He thought he was just going to hear that he had a "bug" and leave with antibiotics.

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Odd.....I don't remember this very clearly. We had gone to the ER on Dec 31st @ 8:00pm with severe abdominal pain. After 8 long hours of pain and tests, they admitted Jim to the cancer floor at 4:00am New Year's Day. I think I waited another few hours and then called my sister in Dallas who was at her fiance's house. I do remember him answering the phone with a joyous "Happy New Year" and I burst into tears and asked for my sister. Followed shortly by a phone call to our best friends (she had lost her father and brother to lung cancer)......

Jim did not tell any of his family until a year later, 3 months before he died.

Ann, really strange. I had not thought of this in such a long time.....not a bad question, just a very tucked away memory.....

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RIck, then I had to call and explain everything to my siblings, the next day my professor (I was in school full time then) my classmates.

The worse part was everyone feeling sorry for me and looking at me when I said lung cancer and immediately thinking his days were numbered and few. What I (we all) needed right then was encouragement and hope.

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I called my Mom first; it's funny how you need your Mom at stressful times. Then I had to call Joel's daughter and my son who has been raised by Joel since he was 8; he's 29 now. Those were the two hardest phone calls I've ever made. Also, I was in the waiting room at the hospital when the surgeon (who was removing an abcess from Joel's lung) told me he found cancer. The conversation took 30 seconds and he left. I started crying and a nurse who was waiting for a friend had heard the conversation came over and just hugged me hard and told me what all the next steps were going to be. I will forever be grateful to that stranger. Worst than all of those phone calls was having to tell Joel he had cancer the next morning. I knew it would be better coming from me and he would be better prepared to ask the dr questions.

We have still never told his 92 year old mother who lives alone in Brooklyn. What would be the point?

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My parents, my Dad. They came to the hospital because they knew "something" was wrong. I went out to find them and saw my Dad first and broke down crying. He told my Mom for me...I couldn't get it out twice.

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My Dad called me as soon as he got out of the doctor's office. I'm not sure if he was driving or sitting in the parking lot, but we decided to wait until his wife got off her shift at Midnight to tell her. Earlier that day, his wife learned her brother, who raised her and his wife, were involved in a head on collision. They both recovered, thankfully.

I cried on the phone, not believing what he was telling me, at the same time googling up the grim statistics. He remained the rock and told me he comforted his PCP as he felt bad the doctor had to tell him such horrible news. My Dad smoked, quit cold turkey at diagnosis and still thinks he got what he paid for. Both of his parents smoked, his Dad, until the day he died of unrelated causes at 88 and his mother who just turned 90, quit about 20 years ago.

I'll never forget that call.

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Word spread quickly through the extended family, through my brothers and me. The only folks I vividly remember telling were my kids (10 and 7 at the time). It is, to date, the hardest thing I have ever done. They are both very close to my Mom. They see her every day, and obviously knew she was in the hospital, so we decided to be as honest as possible with them from the get-go.

I remember my daughter's eyes teared up, and my son asked if she was going to die, but otherwise they handled it very well. Thankfully, because I would have lost it otherwise, and I was trying to be very matter of fact and hopeful. Of course, my DH was there the whole time, helping me.

:) Kelly

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I honestly don't remember who I told first. It was all such a blur. The doctor didn't have the courage to tell me. I think a nurse told me. Don't remember. We made phone calls, but I really don't remember who I spoke to first. Maybe that's my mind's way of protecting me. Sometimes it's better not to remember bad stuff. However, I do remember hearing from from my doctor NED with a big SMILE on his face in June 2002. That was a great day!!!!!

Funny how your mind works!

Joanie

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Well, my doctor called me on the phone. Although we did live 68 miles away from her office. At the time she called, my husband and my son were sitting at the kitchen table with me. My doc said, "Would you like to come in the office tomorrow and talk to me about your results or would you like me to tell you over the phone?"

Well, I was already 77% sure it was LC, but I told her to tell me over the phone. As she told me, I wrote it down on paper and my husband and son just sat in shock and tears came to there eyes. That's the part that broke my heart, was when they started to cry and both of them tried so hard not to. :(

The next person I told was my daughter who also lived 60 miles away at the time. She to had to hear it over the phone.

It was not a pretty day, but we all got through it with love and support.

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My PCP called the house about 7pm on Feb 17th, 2003. I'll never forget it. My husband was here and he overheard enough of the conversation that he stood right by me as I talked. I was surprisingly calm. I asked lots of questions. As soon as I hung up the phone, I felt scared. We hugged and kissed and hugged some more. Then I called my sister. She came to my house within 30 min. My husband called my children and other siblings. My daughter came over. We all cried and hugged some more. Then I smoked my last cigarette and asked my brother-in-law to go get some KFC. At that point who worries about fat grams.

As soon as my family left I got on the computer and started reading. I got so depressed that I told my husband then....you do the research and print out all the latest information. He did for weeks. I sure wish I could have found all of you at that point.

Nina

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