Annie01 Posted March 13, 2009 Share Posted March 13, 2009 Hello, Please forgive me for this long message. I want to ask your advice about a few things, but feel I need to provide some background information first... We finally got a diagnosis for my mom this week. She has Stage IV squamous cell NSCLC with some metastasis to lymph nodes in the chest. The thoracic surgeon who provided the diagnosis referred her to an oncologist who will see her 3/23 to discuss treatment options, so we're back to waiting AGAIN! Ugh! In addition to the cancer on the lungs and lymph nodes, the PET scan showed some really bright spots in the brain, liver and bladder. When mom asked the surgeon about it he said not to worry as there's always a great deal of metabolic activity in those areas which the PET scan picks up. Only an MRI would tell us about cancer growth in those areas. My sister and I have noted on a few occaisions that my mom seems to be getting "forgetful' which seems to coincide with her learning of her lung cancer. For example, I spoke to her a few days ago and she mentioned a visit from my cousin and went on to tell me about their conversation in detail. We then went on to talk about a couple of other things and she then said, "oh, did I tell you John (my cousin) stopped by?' It struck me as odd, as it had been less than 5 minutes since we had talked about him. My mom is 69 years old and has been smoking for 50 years. She is still smoking which I totally understand. In fact two different doctors told her now is probably not the time to quit. The stress of trying to quit might be too much given all the other stress she's dealing with now. I have been a smoker about 27 years and quit cold turkey 2 days ago. I am determined to stay quit. Part of the motivation was obviously my mom's diagnosis. In addition, my 9 year old son started crying last week and said to me he was scared because "Grandma is so sick and it's probably because of her smoking and you smoke too". Well, I felt like the worst mother in the world at that moment. So I decided, "if not now, when?" I am achy, irritable and restless but I keep reminding myself this is nothing compared to what my mom is facing. Now my questions... 1.) I was under the impression PET scans would show metastasis anywhere, otherwise why do they scan these "high metabolic areas" if it's not going to tell them anything? Should we ask the Oncologist for an MRI of these areas or is it standard operating procedure to order an MRI before determining treatment? 2.) Is the forgetfulness "normal"? Perhaps she's been talking with so many people lately and under stress that she forgets who she's told what to??? Because of this should we insist on checking out the brain? 3.) I live 200 miles from my mom but my son and I will travel to visit her over his spring break at the end of the month. One of the things we always do at her house is sit around the kitchen table, smoking cigarettes and talking about everything under the sun. I really am determined not to smoke anymore, but I know how much my mom enjoys our talks and part of me thinks we sub-consciously bonded over smoking. (No one else in our family smokes.) This probably sounds very strange, but how do I make sure my mom still enjoys our talks around the kitchen table without thinking twice about me not smoking. I don't want her to feel bad or guilty and I don't want to feel that way either. Any ideas for something loving and helpful I could say? Or do I just ignore it and act like it's no big deal, which seems a bit disingenuous to me. 4.) What general information can anyone provide about dealing with stage IV NSCLC, treatment plans, things to watch out for, ways to make her the most comfortable she can be etc. Thank you so much! Annie Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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