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Summerflowers: introducing myself


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Hello, my screen name is summerflowers and my name is Laurel. My mother, who is 77, has lung cancer and emphysema. She smoked until she was 52 and then went to a weeklong residential program to quit. She has not smoked since. At the time they believed that stopping smoking would nearly for sure prevent lung cancer in the future. Now they know it's not such a guarantee. I am thankful that she quit though as I believe we would have lost her many years ago had she not.

During an angiogram for her heart an x-ray showed evidence of the tumor in Mom's right lung. Further tests confirmed the tumor (stage II). Unfortunately, she was on the blood thinner so they were not able to do a biopsy to determine the exact type of cancer. Furthermore due to the emphysema and reduced lung capacity she was not a candidate for surgery (would not have been anyway while on blood thinners).

She was treated with five-day high-dose radiation, which they hoped would stabilize the tumor. It did for about 14 months.

Recently she underwent a PET scan, more tests on lung capacity, and removal of fluid between the lung and the sac containing the lung. The pet scan showed that the tumor was now active cancer again. The fluid showed that she had non-small cell lung cancer,Adenocarcinoma (IIIB). The oncologist said chemotherapy is not worth it and estimates 9-12 months.

It's kind of hard to know what to do with this information, beyond facing the reality that her time is most likely short. When my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer he immediately went into the hospital, had a biopsy, we learned it was a grade IV, and he went to nursing home. He declined fairly steadily and died five months later.

My mom is still living independently in her wonderful retirement home. She gets tired easily -- two hour visits are best -- yet she is still getting out and seeing friends and family and people are coming to visit her. So things aren't imminent. I will be seeing her more often...

This is a very different journey from my dad's death both medically and because I'm much closer to my mom than I was to my dad. Right now I'm trying to grasp what is happening and figure out my day-to-day response to it as I continue to live my life, go to work, see my friends, etc. Right now it feels like a weight on my shoulders, I feel emotional pain in my chest, and the world feels dreary. I am very very sad, yet not quite ready to let myself cry.

I'm glad to have found this community. Reading posts other people write in support warms my heart.

Laurel

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Hello Laurel and welcome.

I am sorry you had to find this site, but glad you did. You will find so many knowledgeable, caring and warm~hearted people here who can answer your questions, which will be numerous I am sure as well as give you the support that you need.

You and your mom are in my prayers,

Chris

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Hello Laurel,

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Please seek out a 2nd opinion. I don't know the logistics of her case but I am stage III and was never told that.

GOD BLESS!!

Jamie

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Welcome, Laurel. I am sorry to hear about both your mom and dad. I honestly never dealt with cancer before, and now I've lost both my parents to it. I can't put into words how sad, defeated, bitter, angry, hurt I am towards this disease.

I do hope your mom gets a second opinion regarding chemo, because from what it looks like, she could have a great shot at lots of quality time and getting this thing under control once again. Chemo is a LOT different than it used to be, even just a few years ago. My dad was diagosed with stage IIIB lung cancer with mets to the lymph nodes in 1999 and had carboplatin/taxol combination chemo, and the way it was administered made him so sick and constipated, he was the epitome of the saying that sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease. He lived for 9 months after diagnosis and was basically sick for three months before getting diagnosed until the day he died. My mom was diagnosed with Stage IIIB lung cancer in 2004 and used Tarceva, then Taxol/Carboplatin and then Erbitux and the way her chemo was administered she was really only sick for one morning out of the month. She lived for one year and three months and had a great QUALITY of life. She lived with us, and we were able to monitor her health and well-being ourselves, so we saw it all. Chemo has changed--I've seen both sides of it so I know.

Glad you found us, sorry you have to be here, but we are a tight community and we will all be here for you when you need us.

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Laurel,

Welcome to the boards. I am so sorry that you and your mom are going through this. One of the things you will find here is that many don't believe in the numbers game about time...we don't know God's plan before diagnosis, and we don't know the plan afterwards. I will say a prayer for you and your family. May you stay strong, steadfast, and secure in knowing that what is meant to be, will be, even if it is hard for us to understand. I hope you saught second opinions...they are so vital.

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Laurel,welcome to our support family.Sorry to hear of your mom's dx.of lung cancer.

I have to agree with many of the others here.It may be a good idea to seek others opinions.Many of us on here have extended our time by having treatments.

Whatever path is chosen we are here to help.

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Hi Laurel,

Please get a second opinion. The fact that the oncologist said "chemo wouldn't be worth it" really bothers me. How could increasing your mother's life span, even for months, not be worth it? Every minute of my life is "worth it"!!

There are people on this board who's lives have been extended by years.

Best wishes for you and your mother.

Joan

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Hi Laurel and Welcome!

I just wanted to throw in my two cents, please get anoher opinion, that is if your Mom wishes to try to beat this. If she is happy with the prognosis that the doctor gave her then enjoy what time you do have left with her, but I have never heard of a stage 111b, being a death sentence like that. My mom was the same stage and 2 yrs later she is still here cancer free, although the emphezema does cause my mom trouble. Just the fact that the doctor would say something like that would send me running for another doctor.

Good luck in what ever your mom does and please keep us posted. Again welcome!

Love

Kim

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Hi Laurel, I feel we have alot in common. My mom is 78 and also is not a candidate for sugery due to her emphysema. My dad is still here but he has had many health problems lately and sometimes we think he is in worse shape than my mom. Mom's doctors have not given her a timeframe, but I know how aggressive this disease can be and given her other health issues I know her time here on earth is limited.

Battling this disease does seem to make you appreciate the simpler things in life and appreciate the time you have left. I often think that a heart attack or stroke could have taken mom immediately and she would be gone now, so God has given us a second chance to make some memories and enjoy what time we have left. And after seeing how some cancer patients have suffered, if something takes my mom suddenly I will try to be relieved that she did not suffer.

Don't be afraid to let yourself cry. You can't keep all those emotions pent up inside.

Hang in there, Karen

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Like the others, I think a second opinion is called for, especially after that comment. Chemo may not be easy for a 77 year old lady, but the decision about it being “worth it” should be hers to make. Find another doctor that will provide her and the family with the pros and cons of chemo, and then a decision can be made.

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