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Guest Deb J

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Guest Deb J

Hi to All.....

My name is Deb and I am a 45 year old Lung Cancer Survivor. My Dear Mom on the other hand, was not as lucky as me.

As the story goes......

The summer of 2006, my best friend/Mom-Carole was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. A mini stroke, prompted the hospital to run a Brain and Chest Cat Scan and a 3.5cm mass turned up on her chest films. After ruling out pneumonia with antibiotics, additional tests were done and it was indeed the dreaded Lung Cancer she had feared it might be. We got her over to Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC and initially, they thought it was Stage IIIB - as the cancer had metastasized to the lymph nodes. Prior to her starting up Chemo at MSK , they realized that they had never done an MRI of the Brain. Days later we were informed that the MRI picked up 5 brain lesions.

Hearing this news was so surreal to me at the time. My heart just SANK!!! As I write this now, the pain still feels so fresh.

MSK's suggestion was to have whole brain radiation. We were told that worst case scenario would be that her hair would fall out, fatigue up to 2 months, short term memory loss and that there would be a 50% chance that the brain cancer would not spread any further and hopefully the lesions would shrink.

Well, after the 15 treatments had ended, my Mom got weaker and weaker and within 5 weeks she slipped into a what MSK called "A State of Delirium"(...which they claim they had never seen before.)???? My Mom was now like someone with a tramatic brain injury would be.

My mother was perfectly fine before the brain radiation and the treatments had FRIED every healthy brain tissue in her head. Had they over radiated her, I thought?

Was this all part of the healing process? So many uncertainties~

On January 26, 2007 at 8:11pm, (after 7 weeks of being hospitalized), I watched my Mom take her last breath and slip into Cardio arrest. My Very Best Friend was gone.

I can't begin to tell you how traumatic this was for me.

Her demise was so painful to watch that I insisted that my Doctor run a Chest CT scan on me - as part of my yearly check up. I decided that I wanted to be pro-active in all cancer screening and avoid my family as well as myself from ever going through what my Mom had experienced.

Days after my CT scan, my results came back with a 1.4cm nodule in my left lung. I nearly passed out when I heard the news. The Radiologist informed me that the nodule was not characteristic of lung cancer and if it were his wife, he'd wait another 6 months (as my internist agreed - a pulmonary specialist, no less) and have another CT scan or.......I could have a PET Scan.

I immediately came home and made an appt for a PET Scan. The nodule had lit up - thus confirming that this was a malignant growth.

The following week I was under-going major lung surgery - only weeks after my Mom passed away.

It was all a BAD nightmare to me at the time. Just crazy!!!

It took a good couple of months before some of the pain from the surgery had diminished (as I could only take Advil - due to bad reactions I get to narcotics).


Had she not developed lung cancer, I would have would have never thought to request a CT scan from my doctor.

Thankfully, I was diagnosed with Stage Ia. All 5 lymph nodes surrounding the nodule came back benign - but had I waited another 6 months as the Radiologist and my Internist suggested, I might not be here today to tell my story nor be around to raise my 4 1/2 year old son.

My surgeon is confident that I have a 90% chance that it will never return - yet I must continue to go for X-rays and CT scans every 4 months. It is still difficult to focus on much of anything days before my follow up visits - in fear of hearing bad news.

Over the last year or so, what has been the toughest challenge for me has been getting over the loss of my Mom.

I had a 1 year Memorial Gathering in Celebration of her Life with family and friends and had put together a video mixed in with some tunes that she really liked. The Memorial gathering made me feel so much better for a few months to follow. I felt some closure and as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But lately, I am back in that "FUNK" - which I can't seem to get out of.

The oh so many tears, feeling of sadness......... the reality that she is no longer here to talk to, to feel, to love, to laugh and share my every day life with.

What brought me true happiness in my life was to make my Mom happy and give her all of those things that she never had or gave to herself. Happiness now takes on a different meaning to me.

The Sun has now gone down and my life will never, ever - be the same!!!

I miss you, Mom!

Thanks to those who took the time to read my story and I welcome those to share their own stories with me. I will be here to listen.

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thats a extraordinary story....sorry to hear about your mom...but as you say she saved your life...my condolences to you for her loss...and prayers for you as you make your way down this road. happy you were able to catch it so early and the outlook is good.

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Welcome Deb. That is a story for sure. You gotta wonder what god has in mind sometimes. I am so glad you found this website. It has been very helpful for me. And so many good folks and good information. Take good care and hope to see you on the boards


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Guest Deb J

Thanks for your reply.

You've been through so much and my thoughts are with you. Hang tight. You appear to be very positive and in good spirits. This will help to keep your mind and body strong. Let's keep in touch and feel free to shoot me out an email at any time.


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Welcome to the forum. You will find lots of wonderful people with a lot of information and support here.

Your story is amazing. Sent chills up and down me whenI was reading it. Your mom certainly was watching over you.

Hope to get to know you better.

Hugs - Patti B.

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Hello there,

What an amazing story, which reminds me of my dear mother who left us due to non-cancer issues. She is with me still and it uplifts my heart. You are an amazing woman to let us know all those deep inner thoughts and feeling you have. Do not let go of your mother's feelings back to you. They will never go away and are the biggest gift of all.

Keep us posted on how you are doing. There are several wonderful people in this site who have helped and supported me a lot.

Take care.

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Welcome Deb. There was an article posted in the last couple of days about the therapeutic value of writing about feelings towards cancer. You shared yours so generously with us and I firmly believe you will reap the value in helping keep cancer at bay.

Judy doing an infusion at MDACC

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