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Caregiver to Mom 88 NSCLC


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My mother is 88 and very active for her age. She was diagnosed with NSCLC in October 2012. They went in hoping to remove the lower left lobe and tumor but upon the biopsy of the lymph nodes on the left side found them to have active cancer cells (stage 3B). Also, the tumor was too large and too near her heart and aorta. We are now waiting for a baseline results of a brain MRI to be sure it has not traveled there. She is scheduled to have Chemo once a week for 7 weeks and radiation 5 times a week for 7 weeks. I know she will be zapped of all energy. She is getting more and more depressed as we wait out all of the tests. Any suggestions on what the family can do to help her emotional state. Her husband (my Stepfather) had to be placed in a Board and care home due to dementia at age 97. So she is living alone now and it is very difficult for her emotionally. I am her youngest (not young) but I have a full time job and my sisters both retired are in town also. I try to go and have dinner after work with her at least twice a week. My sisters switch off and take her to doctor appointments during the day while I am at work. After her surgery we took turns spending the nights and days with her until she was recovered enough to be alone for overnight.

According to the doctors this radiation and chemo will extend her life for maybe a year to year and half but they keep telling us that it won't cure the cancer. If the lung tumor shrinks enought with radiation they may schedule to do a lobectomy of the lower left lobe in the spring. It is all confusing for us and my Mom is thinking all of the treatments will somehow cure her of the cancer. We have talked to her that this will not most likely be a cure. She gets more and more depressed. :cry: Judy Barnhart

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there goes those darn doctors again playing god..... first off pay no attention to that part..only God knows how long we have and she don't tell us til she wants to talk and see us in person. Yep said she and we know god is a woman so...

A lot of the time the waiting for the treatment to start is the hardest part of the journey in and of itself. we wait and we think too much and we cry and we get all the bad emotions out of the way. then when the treatments start the mind goes Hooray we are doing something to fix the problem and the fighting mode kicks in and beats back the fear of the unknown... for the time being a suggestion that i offer everyone is to take a look at the Good news forum and the Inspirational forum in here.. These 2 forums focus on the positive of things around here . all kinds of great news and uplifting thoughts and pryers and offerings of comfort.....

On another note about the cure... right now there is no known cure 100% for Lung cancer or any cancer. Scientists and researchers are focusing on the goal of making cancer a maintainable disease first then looking for a cure. there are treatments that work towards this goal. the goal is to stay fighting in hopes of the scientists finding the treatment that works the best for keeping the disease at bay. They want to get cancer on the same level as heart disease or diabetes or a number of other treatable diseases so then they can work on finding a cure for it....

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Until the best plan of action is determined and started, it's a very stressful time. I lost weight and sleep during that period. I don't have much to suggest on how to deal with the emotions of it. To me, it's disappointing to know my life will end sooner than I had hoped, but I never expected to live forever.

If sleep or anxiety is an issue, a primary care physician may be able to offer an Rx to help her with those for a while.

There are many positive success stories that might feel encouraging and can offset the old statistics. (Statistics that were from the days before certain useful drugs that are available today.) I'm one example: a year and a half ago I thought I'd only have 2 years or so left to live; instead, with the help of a new miracle drug, I'm still walking around like a healthy person with no significant side effects from the pills. (I've been on the drug 14 months so far and it's still holding up, though I'm lucky.)

Has her oncologist determined which specific type of cancer it is? Has testing determine which driving mutation is driving the cancer? For some driving mutations, a mutation-targetable inhibitor drug can be an option that usually (not always) is effective for a number of months (and sometimes years, if lucky). I'd like to elaborate, but the odds of something useful depend on which specific type of cancer it is (e.g., adenocarcinoma, and on smoking history.

Best hopes,


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I'm so sorry about your Mom but I'm glad that you are here. There are many wonderful people who can offer you information and support.

I worry about your mom being depressed. My personal opinion is to try and have a positive attitude when riding this roller coaster of emotions. Does she have close friends or activities in her life. Living alone and too much silence isn't a good thing right now.

I hope you can visit some of our other forums and do some reading. You'll find a lot of useful information here.

Please let us know how your mom is doing and feel free to post.....post and post your questions or thoughts with us :)


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Welcome to the club none of us want to belong to, but I am glad you found us. This is a great place to come for support and information, and just to vent.

I can't add much to the advice the others have given, but unless I missed it you might talk with the doctor about an antidepressant. There are many patients who take them after diagnosis, even if just for a short time. It is true that once treatment starts quite often people begin to feel better, but if the depression continues this might be something to check into.

Please keep us posted on how you and your Mom are doing.

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Hi Judy,

Wow, to be 88 and have to go through lung cancer treatments-that's got to be tough on your mom and your family.

I'm glad you have the help of your sisters-this is a lot to deal with.

As far as the depression goes, I think the family doctor should be consulted on that. Depression is common for those of us who are facing cancer treatments and there are some medications that can help. It won't make everything all better but it does help.

Keep us informed about what's going on.


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