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New, please help with my delima.

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My mother has been dx with stage 4 NSC and stage 1 SC (I might have those switched) and was dx back in Atlanta, where the oncolgist there said he would recc. chemothearpy but not radiation at this time given how advanced it was and that she was asymptomatic. My Aunt insisted I have her come back to NY to be treated in the city at MSK. She is on her 2nd cycle of chemo and it was discussed two days ago that he wanted to start radiation tx but not for another two weeks and we could discuss it with the radiologist. I get a call from my mom yesterday that they want to start radiation today. My mom has made it clear to my sister that she didn't want any tx and was only doing the chemo for us. My aunts have made it clear that they are in charge and have purposely with held information about my mom's treatment from us so that we can not voice our opinion. My mom is 65 and in very good health (other than having cancer) is asymptomatic and has had no symptoms from the chemo other than being alittle tired for a couple of days. I am in conflict. I feel like my aunts and the doctor are pushing my mom into something she does not want to do (she says no) and my mother unfortunately has always been one not to stand up for herself or just go with it to avoid an agruement or conflict. My two children are extremely close with my mom and it would kill her and them if they could not have good quality time together. Not sure how to handle all of this. Any advice would be great.



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Everything can be overwhelming at first. Your Mom has to be the one to make the decisions about her treatments. You certainly deserve to know all he relevant information. A lot of times people feel that they are "protecting" others by withholding information.

Unfortunately your Mom also has to be the one to stand up to her sisters. Can you arrange to be with her for one of her doctor's appointments? That would be the best way. It would also be helpful if your Mom could list you as one of the people that the Dr. and hospital can release information to. That way you don't have to rely on your aunts.

In the meantime feel free to ask any questions. There are people here who are loving and supporting and VERY knowledgable!


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Jenn: I agree with everything Susan said. Sometimes the initial diagnosis of lung cancer can be terrifying & it's difficult at first to be able to make informed decisions. I don't believe that anything should be kept from her. She is the one who ultimately will be making decisions regarding her care. You say she is 65 and in otherwise good health so she should be a good candidate for treatment. Let her adjust to her new normal and encourage her to look into all her treatment options. The doctors at MSK know what they're doing & if they think radiation is a good idea I think I'd try to encourage her to go for it. There can be short term issues with both chemo and radiation but the long term prospect can be good especially with treatment from a facility like MSK. Good Luck & God Bless


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Have her sign a medical power of attorney ASAP. She will be able to designate the person she wants as the one to make medical decisions for her in the event she is unable to do so herself. It may also include specifics as to whether she wants to be on a vent. She also must inform her family as to whether she wants any resuciative efforts made if she should go into cardiac arrest. If she assigns you as her POA, then you can override your aunts' wishes if your mother becomes incapacitated, but you cannot override your mom's wishes if she is of sound mind to do so, no matter who may be influencing her.

Maybe a family meeting is in order, where you could facilitate a discussion as to what your mom wants and how each family member will support that and what roles thay will play in her care. But realize, too, that her reluctance may be her non-confrontational way of telling you she's too scared to make the decisions for treatment and so she is "letting" her sisters make those decisions by default.

It's a very tough discussion to have, and frankly, some feelings will be hurt. But the bottom line is that your mom has the right to decide how she wants her cancer treatment to go and how she wants to spend her days, and everyone must respect that.


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