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Hi. Long "venty" introduction, sorry.


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My name is Vivian and I'm my Aunt Paula's primary support as she battles NSCLC - diagnosed 4/07. My father passed away from lung cancer 5 years ago, and I am still grieving. His sister passed away from ovarian cancer just 6 months later. Now his last sister is having her turn.

I feel very alone. With my father, me and my two aunts rallied around him and supported each other. With my other aunt I still had Aunt Paula for support. Now it's just me and her, and I have no idea what I'm doing.

I don't know much about her condition, since in an attempt to "shield" me from her cancer she quit letting me come into doctor's appointments with her last month. I know from reading her chart and talking to the oncologist in the hosptial when she was first diagnosed that it's Stage IIIB, and inoperable. She is 71 years old and has emphysema from smoking all her life (she's still smoking). She's had radiation and chemo, which has shrunk the tumor "somewhat". She's about to have a PET scan and I don't know if she'll be honest with me about the results. She's lost weight - down to 79 pounds.

When i try to talk to her about it she makes some casual remarks and changes the subject. I feel helpless, and her every ache and pain scares the hell out of me. I know I should just be there for her, but I feel like I should be doing something.

Anyway... this is me.

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I am sorry about your aunt. It sounds like she has you approved to get her medical information so you should be able to discuss her condition with her doctor. It is nice that she is trying to shield you, but you may want to tell her you prefer to support her and go with her to appointments. It's hard to do this alone-- she really needs you with her. Welcome to the board.


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Welcome Vivian,

I'm so sorry your aunt is going through this....after already losing so much to cancer. It is a difficult journey. My brother-in-law died from cancer 5 years ago and my sister died in a car accident 4 years ago and then my mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 3 years ago. When my cancer was diagnosed I thought that there was surely some kind of mistake. Some families have to endure so much heart ache. Take heart--there is much hope here. Offer to go to the appointments with your aunt. As much as she wants to shield you from all this she needs to have some support right now. Vivian, make sure you take care of yourself too. It sounds like you have always been in the caretaker role. Make sure you take time for yourself. Come back with questions and take care.


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Dear Vivian~

Welcome, I'm so glad you found us. Wow! what a history. I agree that you should if you can, remind your Aunt that you are both vertan fighters and you have no desire to drop out now. Thers a true push-pull here and it's real. You are worried for Paula and she for you.

Visit this site often, take time for yourself too.Tues. night is a "chat" on line I try to visit about 8pm, light banter just to share, we'll be looking for you and wish both of you some sunny days ahead. Mary

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