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Mom dx with extensive SCLC


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My mother was diagnosed last week with extensive small cell lung cancer.  She has very poor health (for a 66 year old) with COPD and long term steroid use.  She doesn’t want to do anything for treatment and was given a prognosis of 6-8 weeks.

We have set up hospice for her and settled many of her affaiars for the end of her life.  It’s been difficult, but I feel so blessed that her last days will be ones that we can focus on her and when she does pass on, we don’t have to try and do “business” in that state of mind.  I know that I am going to put my affairs in order as much as I can for my children because of the relief I feel in this situation.  

It’s hard to believe that she has weeks to live because she has more energy than I have seen her in awhile.  Don’t get me wrong, she is not the picture of health.  She is on 4 liters of oxygen all the time and can still hardly do any physical activity without great effort.

I am hoping to connect with someone who is in similar circumstances (or has been).  I am scared of the next few weeks.  I don’t know what to expect.  I have read the hospice booklet about the stages of the dying process, but it seems like those are for folks who have been given a much longer time of survival.  

My husband and i were planning a trip to see his family out of state for Christmas because it has been several years since we have been able to do that and now I think that even if she is doing well, I don’t want to be gone.

I guess I am just rambling.  Looking forward to connecting to those of you who are fighting, surviving, grieving and questioning.

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I've very sorry to hear of your mother but buoyed by your hospice decision. We investigated and contemplated entering hospice when my treatments stopped working.  I was impressed with hospice methods and fortunately, shortly after our initial meeting with the hospice provider, my oncologist found a newly approved precision radiation treatment that fried a very stubborn tumor.

I can't speak for my wife's feelings but the hospice approach was so much more appealing than IVs, blood tests, chemo infusions, scans and Scanziety. As I recall in my discussions with the hospice provider, they did not give any timeframe on my remaining life. They focused instead on the quality of my remaining life and that for me, having endured surgeries, radiation and many, many chemo infusions was very appealing.

I can't help you make the decision about your out-of-state Christmas visit.  I'd suggest you ask your mother how she feels about it.  That said, I hope your family has a wonderful Christmas.

Stay the course.


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Hi Kate,

I apologize for being a few days late on my response...I want to let you know that you are hearing from someone who is fighting, surviving, grieving, and questioning.  I am NOT fighting cancer or surviving it, but I am fighting for my mom who is fighting cancer and (hopefully) surviving it.  I am also grieving my mom's loss of life as it once was and I am always questioning as to whether or not we are choosing to do the right things.  Your family's choice to enter hospice, although never easy, is a great decision.  My grandparent were both on hospice when they came to live with us the last 4 months of their lives - my grandpa with congestive hearth failure and my grandma with lung cancer.  I also have a friend who is a hospice nurse.  They are the most wonderful people on the planet!  My grandpa was on hospice for several years and had a few different nurses, they were all great.  

I don't know if any of us can know what to expect during times like these. When my grandmother passed, she did so in my parents home, where I lived at the time.  I was there, I closed her eyes when she passed.  It just happened, no big to-do.  It was the middle of the night, so hospice was not there (although they can come in the middle of the night), but the nurse had prepared us to deal with her passing.  My grandma's death is attributed to lung cancer, but none of us believed that she died of lung cancer.  My grandpa passed 3 days prior to her.  We all believe that she just wanted to be with him, so she stopped breathing.  It was heart breaking and heart warming all at the same time.  My mom's best friend died in a similar fashion, in her home, surrounded by loved ones.  I was not there when she passed, but visited her a few days before.  She was in and out of consciousness (I believe she was on morphine), but she knew I was there because she squeezed my hand.  Her final moments were peaceful as well.  My uncle also died of lung cancer, he was in the hospital when he passed.  So there were more bells and whistles when he passed, but his was not a big to-do either.  I don't know if any of this information helps or not and every situation is different, but I just thought I would share.

I don't have any advice for your holiday plans, but here's what we did for Thanksgiving - my husband and I (we do not have kids) go to our own parents for the holidays and we all come together for New Years.  My mom was in the hospital over Thanksgiving.  She was released Friday evening.  We decided to wait to have Thanksgiving dinner until Saturday.  It worked out great!  My point - who says you have to celebrate on a specific day.  It's called the "holiday season", why not celebrate multiple times????

Take care,



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