Jump to content

Mom Has lung cancer. I'm a mess

Recommended Posts

Hello Everybody, I have been reading all of your stories for the past few days and I am so comforted by them. I have gone back and reread them several times.

On March 4th 2007 my 77 year old mom was walking the dog and fell. She broke her right arm. My husband and I took her to the emergency room where she was treated and released. Two months went by and her arm wasn't healing right. She went to another hospital, U.C. Davis Medical Center. There they took an x-ray that revelaed a black mark on her lung. The doctor ordered a ct scan. The ct scan came back and it did not look good. My mom had smoked for 69 years and because of this she was told that it was probably cancer. She would have to see a specialist to know for sure. An appointment was made with a thoracic surgeon at U.C. Davis Cancer Center. He felt around on her neck and found a lump. He gave his opinion of what it might be. He ordered a biposy.

The results cam back and it is lung cancer. The doctor said he could not operate. It stated in the lung and has spread, but not sure how far. She goes in tomorrow for a breathing test and a PET is set for this month. She is susposed to start chemo next week and does not want to because she does not want to lose her hair.

My mom is very active and does not look sick. She is 5'2 and is 147 lbs. When she was told all of this, I went on-line to find symptoms and she does not have any symptoms.

My mom is my best buddy and I am so scared for her. I'm most afraid of the unknown. I don't know anyone who has had lung cancer, so I don't know what to expect.

I do know that her diet needs to change. She loves Burger King and Denny's. Right now she is living with me and I would not have it any other way.

When she was told that she has lung cancer she said that she could care less, that she just wants use of her arm back.

I know there is along road ahead, but I will do whatever it takes toget her better.

Thank you for your time and for listening to me ramble.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I am sorry to hear about your mom. It sounds like she is having all the right tests and that the Docs have come up with a plan. Keep a positive outlook, get a second opinion if you think it is necessary. In the meantime, please let your mom know that you don't necessarily lose your hair with chemo. My mom was on carbo/gemzar for 6 cycles (about 4 months) and she didn't lose any hair. It really depends on what type of cancer your mom has and what the Dr. needs to use to treat it. I wish her the best with her treatment and her arm. Shelley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, and welcome here.

I like your Mom's attitude already--that she wants her arm to feel better! That's the way to do it-- Concentrate on the thing that's most important to you!

It's good that she doesn't have any of the symptoms, because that might mean they've found it early.

It's nice to "meet" you, and I'll be keeping you guys in my prayers.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry about your mom's health problems. Many people don't have any symptoms when they are diagnosed. I was diagnosed "by accident" as was your mother. I had a chest XRay for another reason and the tumor was found. You both should consider the fact that, altho. losing your hair (if that should happen, and doesn't always) is quite a bit less traumatic than losing your life! If she doesn't treat this, that's probably what will happen. It sounds as tho. it may have been caught early. Her chances for many years of quality life are probably quite good if the cancer is treated. Please do something about it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know how overwhelmed I was when my mom was diagnosed. My mom's was also found on "accident". It was such a blessing that accident happened. My mom just finished her chemo and chaest radiation and she did lose her hair. This is very difficult for some people, but I told mom it was her hair or her. I'm just not ready to lose her!!!!

There are alot of options with wigs and scarfs and hats. The American Cancer Society has a great catalog to order from. ALso some hospitals have a place for their cancer patients to get wigs on site.

I am so sorry you have to be here but know you have found a great place for support. It has been a blessing for me!

Please let us know results and I'm sending prayers your way,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mom didn't have any LC symptoms when she was diagnosed either. For a long time she refused to believe she had LC at all (she was convinced it had to be some other kind of cancer). Not being sick from the LC at diagnosis is good because you can generally tolerate the chemo and/or radiation better if you are stronger at the beginning. My Mom did lose her hair, some people do and some people don't. Perhaps your mom doesn't want any chemo because she doesn't think it will do any good, or if it does she will be so sick that she won't be able to enjoy it. That is genrally not the case. There are very effective treatments for even stage IV cancers and many rs seem to be much more sensitive about the quality of life issues than they used to be. Help her to understand the facts so that she will make her decisions based on knowledge rather than fear.

I know this is frightening for you. At first it is so overwhelming and terrifying, but you can ask questions here and someone will likely have had experience with it. We will do what we can to help.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry you have landed here.

That is the evil part of this disease, nothing seems wrong, but something is...it makes it really hard to swallow. I can read the frustration over that...many of us here get it.

As far as her diet, if she wants to continue through treatments and eat BK, more power to her...it may be tough to do...but maybe not.

Also, I would just say the one thing I didn't read was if she had an brain MRI. May change the chronology of treatment and choices if things do or don't show up there...

So I would hope they are doing that...

Best o0f luck to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome and don't be to quick to change her diet. Some folks tend to loose weight during treatment. My doctor told me to eat anything and everything I could stand to eat and I put 20 pounds on. My lung cancer was inoperable but I received chemo and 35 radiaition treatments. Tomorrow it will be one year since my first radiation and as of now they are saying "stable". If you mom can keep a good attitude, laugh a lot and expect a miracle then I think she will do just fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for all of your support. You have no idea what it means to me. Big hugs to all of you.

Nick C. mentioned a brain mri. That so far has not been talkied about.

Last week when she saw the surgeon for the first time, he ordered a bunch of tests and they are all clustered together.

Today she had a breath test done. Fisrt, they took blood from her wrist because they needed blood from an atery. They put her in this machine where she had to blow into a hose with clips on her nose. They kept the door to the machine open, but they did have to close it for a few more tests. She did not like that as she does not like small spaces. While she was doing these tests, her blood work came back and it looks good. She is not anemic as she thought she might be.

Todays visit was fine. After we left I took her to lunch. She still has a great appetite.

When she was there on Friday, June 15th, she had a needle stuck in the lump in her neck to make sure it is cancer. The 2 docters were fine with us, joking and what not, but when only one came back in the room with such a long face, well we didn't know what to make of it. I thought maybe he was thinking of a fight he may have had with his wife/girlfriend, or perhaps his shorts were too tight. Who knows. But when he came back in after looking at this thing with a microscope, his demeaner had changed. He shook my mon's hand and said it had been a pleaseure meeting her and walked out. That is when the surgen came in and said that he could not operate and she would not be seeing him again.

She sees her primary Dr. on Thursday and goes in for a PET scan on Friday. They want her to start Chemo this week, but so far she is not on board with that.

I firmly believe in the power of prayer and the power of hope. I am praying for all of you wonderful people who are sharing such a personal journey. My thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as your family and friends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I'm sorry that your going through this. You've come to a great place for information and support.

My Mom was very active like your Mom and when we found out that her Chemo would cause her to lose her hair the Doctors office was able to give us a name of a local wig shop. By going in prior to losing her hair, they were able to see her hair style and color and they made a great wig. My sister ended up liking the wig better than Moms her real hair! LOL.

Good luck,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vespa--It might help if your mom were to talk with some folks who have been through chemo. It was our biggest fear and we were so relieved when mom discovered it wasn't going to be nearly as bad as she feared. She can always start chemo and stop it if the treatments are too hard on her.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


My dad age 77 has NSCLC and been thru chemo without losing any hair. His first symptom was a husky voice so lung cancer was the last thing on our minds. We had a massive shock. It is now 9 months since his diagnosis and he is on Tarceva and feels ok. So, don't give up and be positive.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice to meet you, Vespa. Sorry you have to be here but really glad you found us..this board is a wonderful place to come for knowledge, support and love

My mom was diagnosed on a fluke as well. She had concurrent radiation and chemo. She took Taxol and Carbo. She DID NOT lose her hair but it did thin.

Your mom kinda sounds like my mom..feisty, LOL. When she first started chemo she said if she got nauseated she would just pretend it was morning sickness! All she really cared about was being able to play golf again and she got her wish. She plays nine holes about every two weeks :)

Lots of prayers for you guys. We're here for you

Love, Libby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, I am very happy to be here. I tried the live chat on Tuesday, but I don't type very fast or very well for that matter. If you saw my name,but didn't see me say anything, that is why.

Mom has 2 appointments today, or should have said had 2 appoinments today. One was for 10:30 this morning, but she missed it. She dosen't like mornings and is resentful for a morning appointment. She has another this afternoon, but she does not want to go. She has never really been grouded in reality and so far it has worked for her. Now I'm not so sure. It is very frusrating for me, because I can't make her go.

I am her youngest child. She has 3 others, but have been estranged from them for more than 20 years. They don't know that she has cancer and she dosen't want them to know. I have had limited contact with my oldest brother's wife. The last time I talked to her she told me she was told she was not to have any contact with me because of my relationship with my mom. If she was to keep in contact with me it would have to be a secret because my brother has forbidden her from having anything to do with me. This brother is 20 years older than me and was married and out of the house by the time I was born. I can probably count on one hand the times I have seen him in person.

The only people that know that she has cancer are her doctors and those that read this board. All of your prayers and well wishes mean a lot to me. I thank you all for taking the time to write a note to me.

There was a mention about her talking to someone about this. I don't think she would do it. I have thought about a social woker or a cancer survivor, but I don't think she in that place yet. The only time we talk about it is when we are talking about appoiments.

She has a PET scan tomorrow and I told her she can't have her morning cup of coffee, that did not go over well. She insists that she is fine and the doctors are trying to make her sick. Because doctors are motivated by money and all.

I need to get her ready for her appoinment today. She is dressed. Getting her in the car is going to be a battle.

Thank you for listening. Vespa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sorry that your mother has been diagnosed, but I am glad you found this site. I still feel very new here...but you're right....it is so comforting to come here and read about others who are in the same situation. My mom is the same way about doctors....she actually called the first dr. who was her internal med dr. and fired her!! This doctor seemed new..no real bedside manner....everything was, "It doesn't look good...." But she never brought my mom to sit her down & tell her WHAT didn't look good or WHY. She owed her that much once Mom learned it wasn't pneumonia & that it might be lung cancer!! But the worst was when this dr.s office charged my mom $274 to make a phone call to the Pulmonary specialist! Hello!? And then "accidently" charged her twice. That's when my mom told off the staff. So then, when her oncologist asked who her primary doctor was, Mom and I looked at each other and laughed. Then she said with a smile, "Well, now YOU are." LOL

I think it's wonderful that your mom has YOU. I know it's hard to be the only one...I'm an only child. So even though I have aunts and cousins, I feel that Mom and I do much of it together. But you'll find the needed emotional support here, on this site. UC Davis is a remarkable hospital. I'm sure your Mom is in good care there. My mom & I drive past it every weekend on the way to our cabin. =) Just try to keep her appointments...try & make the appointments around her schedule. Those little details make everything else so much easier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I am sorry you need to be here, but glad you found us.

My husband was diagnosed 2.5 years ago and although it has been bad at times

Alan is currently living a very high quality of life.

This is all very overwhelming at first, but believe it or not you will find a rhythm.

As others have said, do not be in a big hurry to change your mom's diet. Eating will be a very

essintial part of her recovery. Alan's diet is a nutritionist nightmare, but he is eating and that's what matters.

I will keep you and your mom in prayer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.