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New here - Mom has cancer

Guest Kayl

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This board was recommended to me by a survivor on another board I belong to. My mom has NSCLC-Adenocarcinoma. She was a heavy smoker for over 40 years. She quit 5 years ago. For the last several years she had gotten weaker and thinner and never felt well. She refused to see a doctor. She finally ended up in the hospital in Dec. 2001 for several weeks. It was at that time they saw "spots" on her lung Xrays. A few weeks after discharge, in January 2002 she went in for a biopsy. This was the beginning of a 6 week hospitalization. She developed pneumonia and very nearly didn't recover from that. During this time we were told she had NSCLC in both lungs.

She went through 6 weeks of radiation in March and April 2002 and tolerated it well. She even managed to gain 12 lbs. Her CAT and PET scans repeated in August 2002 showed left lung "clear" and no change in the right lung. Towards the end of 2002 though she was feeling weaker again. Repeat scans in January 2003 showed the tumor in the right lung had quadrupled in size. She has been getting chemo since March 2003. Originally they wanted her to do 3 weeks on, 1 week off for 6 months. She has never been able to tolerate 3 weeks in a row. Usually after 2 weeks in a row she's so sick she can't eat. She's lost the weight she had gained and has no appetite. She is very weak and all she does is sleep. She just "feels bad" all the time.

My sister and I went with her to the Dr. today, and insisted on repeat scans. He is supposed to be scheduling a PET scan for her. Her red and white counts are way down and for now she's getting Procrit and Neupogen. She will go weekly for that until her counts come back up and/or we get results from the PET scan. At that time she's going to make a decision as to whether she wants to continue the chemo.

My sister and I have been alternating weeks taking her to her appointments and getting her groceries, etc. She is still living independently in her apartment, but lately it seems like those days are numbered. She gets meals delivered 4 days a week, but she hasn't been eating much of anything for weeks now. She does drink Ensure Plus every day.

I think my mom is still in denial over her cancer and she's still looking for blame; I guess she's angry, and I can't say that I wouldn't be also, but it's to the point where I don't know how to help her anymore. I guess I just needed a place where I could vent, and be understood.

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Hi there,

I am so sorry you and your Mom are going through this.

I have no chemo advise for you, I have not experienced it. I hope to keep it that way.

I can pontificate on the anger and blame thing tho.

I was angry at myself for smoking for so long and originally blamed myself for this disease. I soon came to realize that the only thing I was guilty of was poor judgement at an early age, and continued lack of action to correct it since.

We all make poor judgements that effect our lives either physically or emotionally. Even non smokers. They drive too fast, they drink too much, they play with fire in so many ways. Smokers just have a different poison.

That is not to justify any bit of poor judgement, by any means, but do not fall into the "special" guilt factor that smokers get or got when they smoked, and especially now. Yes, even as an ex smoker that lost a part of a lung, I still believe smokers are picked on unjustifiably compared to other vices. They seem to be everyones favorite target. It's "cool" to wail on the smoker.

No one deserves this disease, no one asked for it, and I think you will find most of the smokers and ex smokers here accept this consequence with much more dignity than folks that are busted and effected by driving drunk do.

I hope mom does well with her treatment, despite the current difficulties. And I hope you do too.

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Hello and welcome. So sorry for all you are going through with your mom.

Its good you came here to vent because we really do understand. This lung cancer is my father's third bout with cancer in four years (you can tell by my signature). NOT FAIR!

Keep us posted and let us know when we can help.

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