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I really need some advice please


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my mom was diagonosed with nsclc with mets to brain and adrenals in Sept of 07. She never asked any questions therefore, really did not know her prognosis. She was deep in denial. On Friday we met with her oncologist and he gave her the talk. Told her there was nothing more he could do for her b/c there has been an increase in her tumors and she was very weak. My mom is so down and has asked me to get her tranquilers and her doctor prescribed her Zanx. She said all it does is make her sleep and not help anything and she is very depressed. How can I help her with this?

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It is so sad to read this. My husband's onc had to tell him the same thing, he was too sick for more treatment. Talk to her Dr. so he knows the Xanax is not helping, there are so many other prescription RXs out there. Maybe she needs some other kind.

I hope she can find some calm in this time.


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I'm so sorry. My normally upbeat, mentally and emotionally strong mom bottomed out when she got the initial diagnosis from an x-ray, before she was even biopsied. The first thing she asked for was anxiety medication. I was shocked, I always envisioned she would be this pillar of strength, with words of comfort and wisdom, etc, if she ever got sick.

It's very hard to see your mom go through this and feel this way. I agree with others - do whatever you can to try to get some meds that will help her mentally. Be there for her, tell her how much you love her, try to arrange things so someone is usually with her - a family member, a friend. I know my mom had a hard time being alone (my dad was always with her, but his sad and downbeat attitude was not helpful, to say the least). We tried to be there as much as possible to keep her propped up at some level.

I'm just sorry for you and your mom. I wish I had more advice for you. Hang in there...I'm saying a prayer for her tonight...

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Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear about what's going on with your Mom. I'm no expert, but it sounds like maybe some sort of an anti-depressant might be in order for your Mom. Ask the doc about this. Even if nothing more can be done in terms of treating the disease, it's very important to keep your Mom's mental attitude in as good a shape as possible.

Wishing you all the best,


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Get a second opinion!! You do not know for sure if this Onc is right or not. IF the doc says give it up Are you gonna roll over or stay and fight with someone who will fight!

Thats my advice! Thoughts and Prayers for both of you right now in this difficult time.

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I think that you should get a second opinion re: treatment for your mother. If the 2nd opinion also says it is pointless to do more, at least you'll be certain that you've done everything that could be done.

Lots of people with cancer diagnosis take ativan, Welbutrin, zoloft, or paxil - there are probably some others too. You might ask about one of them. Also, the Xanax might be just fine for her, but the dosage too high. Some people don't need as much of a drug as others do. Ask the doctor about reducing the dosage.

Good luck


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I agree - if she wants to continue to fight, get another opinion and give her the opportunity to fight like hell. An onc told my uncle 13 years ago when he first got a prostate cancer diagnosis that he had 6 months to live - well, he will be going to eat with us tomorrow for my mom's birthday lunch!!!

The problem with some anti-depressants is that they take several weeks to "build up" in your system and start to work. If she needs them, please ask a doc for something that starts to work right away.

Good luck and please keep us posted. I am so sorry that you are going through this.

Hugs - Patti B.

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Your mom should definitely check in with her doctor regarding her response to the Xanax (either the dosage or the drug may be wrong for her).

As to her response, although each of us will react somewhat differently to our diagnoses and prognoses, presumably all of us are affected emotionally in one way or another.

On the day I was dx'd, I seemed to be handling it well, but my doctors hadn't told me how bad the news was. By the next day, I had figured it out for myself--after researching on the Internet (particularly the government's cancer.gov website), and the morning after, I was on phone to my PCP begging for valium (not just for anxiety attacks, but also because the stress had knotted every muscle in my upper back).

The valium worked as a temporary stopgap until I had processed the information, but I was concerned (despite having conquered anxiety) that next I would sink into depression. I knew that I did not want to either live or die in that state and so the next step I took was to make an appt. with a therapist. I have been seeing him once a week since last October and feel strongly that it is because of this outlet that I have been able to avoid depression and anti-depressants so far.

This does not mean that I'm against the latter. I am fully prepared to take whatever mood balancers are appropriate if and when the time comes that I need them; and do not feel at all that I am showing "weakness" when it comes to either the drugs or the therapy.

Instead, I consider it a sign of strength for us (both patients and family members) to acknowledge that we need help and then take the appropriate actions to ensure that we don't stop living emotionally just because we (or our family members) may be dying physically.

My apologies for going beyond the original question (about Xanax), but I do think the subject of anxiety and depression is an important one, and that too often we (and our doctors) concentrate on the physical and ignore the emotional when the two are equally critical.


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