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Mother diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, lobectomy performed


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Hi all, my name is Tamara but I go by Tammy. My mother (64 yrs old) was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in September of this year, she underwent a lobectomy (upper right lobe) on October 29th. The past couple of weeks have been difficult for her, I am afraid that she is getting depressed. She is not improving well and still in a lot of pain. She has never been one to just sit around and she is very independent so this is taking a toll on her. We have finally been able to get her out and about some but she gets tired very quickly. To compound the problem, we went to her 3 week follow up with the thoracic surgeon, her lung has not fully expanded and the lower lobe is filling with fluid. We have to go back in 3 weeks, if no improvement, they will have to put her back in the hospital and put the drain tube back in. Another problem that I am dealing with is that at the follow up, the surgeon told us that the biopsy of her lung showed there was no cancer! He said that it is possible that the biopsy removed the cancer. I don't know if that is actually possible but I am hoping that maybe you guys could provide a little insight because now we are also dealing with an anger issue. In hindsight, there are many things I wish we had done differently, we were never referred to nor have we ever seen an oncologist and I feel guilty for that, maybe if we had, she wouldn't have had to go through the surgery. I feel like I have let her down and I am at a loss on how to help her. Any ideas or suggestions you have would be GREATLY appreciated!!

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  • 1 month later...

HI Tammy,

I've been thinking about you. How are things with your mom since you first posted? Did the biopsy remove her tumor? Is she in treatment now? How is she feeling?

I hope the feelings of guilt on your part have subsided. You can't second guess yourself looking back. You're not a cancer expert. Chances are this is your first go with it and none of us loved ones had training or a how-to book on what to do, etc... you do the best you can while you become educated and familiar with what you are fighting against. Be easy on yourself. You didn't let her down. It sounds strange but surgery is actually a great thing and very few people are a candidate for surgery. Lung cancer is considered curative for those who are eligible for surgery.

How is your mom's anger issue? Being angry is really normal. This shouldn't be happening to her (or you or anyone!) and the feelings of it not being "fair", not being about to catch a break, being let down by your medical team, having your "normal" turned upside-down, stressors on relationships--man, it's alot to deal with. Sometimes patients just have to go thru the gamut before they can pick themselves up by their boot-straps. Sometimes patients (and their families) need the help of oncology social workers, therapists, counselors, and/or anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. Don't be afraid to ask for help and encourage your mom to do as well.

Also, consider if she would benefit from a LifeLine Support Partner. This is one of our programs that matches a mentor with a survivor. We even match caregivers with other caregivers. It really helps to chat one on one with someone who has walked that walk and come out the otherside.

We are thinking about you. Please post an update soon,



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Tammy,

I can relate to how you feel. When my Dad was diagnosed we didn't know where to turn either. I wish that when he was diagnosed, we would have had some type of pamphlet that was like a map with "if, then, else" type statements. You know, like a flow chart? We didn't know what to do next or who to talk to. Please don't feel guilty about that. You can't make the wrong decision if you didn't know.

How is your mom now? How are YOU doing?

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