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Dear Members. 

I am fairly new to forums, but sadly not to the topic of lung cancer. My Mother, now 60 was diagnosed two years ago with stage III small cell lung cancer, thankfully no distant spread and underwent carboplatin+etoposide and radiation therapy. She was progression free until 3 weeks ago and now is under topotecan treatment. She' s a fighter, but can get really depressed sometimes and I just don't know how to be there for her. Can she have a life besides having cancer? I just don't know how to deal with the fact that, sooner or later, but the day will come when she will be getting sicker. How does one get through such a thing?

Thank you all,

Kata

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Hi Kata: Welcome to our group and sorry to hear about your Mom. It seems like cancer, treatment and depression go hand in hand. First of all you can't plan for the day when your Mom gets sicker because you don't know if that day will ever come. There is always hope that the new drug will help and you should only plan for that day.  And yes she can have a life beside cancer. For example I just returned from playing tennis. As cancer patients we take it one day at a time and react to the good and bad accordingly. You are welcome to visit here often, ask question and learn from our experiences. We will be ready and happy to engage. 

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Hi Kata, Gary is right, we ever know if that day will come. I'm a survivor of stage 1 non-small-cell lung cancer, so my prognosis is fairly rosy, so far as lung cancer goes. However, I previously had a rare and aggressive form of cervical/endometrial cancer, Stage 3, with a really bad prognosis. For a few years, i wouldn't make any plans for more than a couple months in the future because I didn't think I was going to survive long. Well, In March it will be 10 years since my diagnosis. Which goes to show that we just don't know and doctors just don't know. Best wishes to your mom. I hope she can live well one day at time.

Bridget O

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Kata,

Like others here, I'm sorry to hear about your Mother's cancer.  Gary and Bridget have already pointed out that there is "Life Besides Cancer".  If there wasn't, then what would be the purpose of wanting to survive it.  Learn all you can, share success stories with your Mother and live life with her.  Go out for a walk, do anything you can (during this crazy time of Covid), but make life fun and rewarding.  Cancer may well be the thing that takes any of us survivors out, but maybe not.  Chances for our survival get better every day and my belief is; "I will never be as young as I am today or as well as I am right now, so I'm going out to live."   I'll have to deal with tomorrow when that time comes.  As a caregiver it can be especially taxing to worry about your loved one and not always know what to do.  We have a guide for caregivers and that can be found here.  I hope it offers some ideas for you make the journey easier for you and your Mom.

LOu

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 I lost my husband to the small cell beast.  We were here for him everyday (one blessing of working from home during a pandemic), and we cherished each and every moment we had between progression.  That's really all you can do.  I am truly grateful he wasn't too depressed, so neither were we.  I actually had him in the shower one morning before a Dr. appt., a follow up from doing the Topotecan treatment.  I didn't realize he had pneumonia, only saw him short of breath once and for a short time, however, his blood ox was low and he was sent to the ER, admitted, and that is where he gave up a few days later.  So, I feel like the side affects from chemo and radiation, getting pneumonia was the actual cause of his death, and not another progression of the cancer.  It's really hard to know.  Your mother may or may not know. I can only advise just be there, you don't have to get it right, just being with her will be good enough.  Please reach out if you need us.  I am hopeful that she did well with the amount of time from her 1st line treatment to now, so the Topotecan should provide her several months more.  My husband didn't have too bad of side affects from that 1 treatment.  Blessings to you.

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She is young which is a big plus. I'm probably being naive (or hope full) that new treatments are just around the corner.  There has been some very promising progress and I actually think we are on the brink of major breakthroughs, actually there have already been many for some specific cancers. My Oncologist thinks in a decade cancers will not be categorized as Lung, Breast, Colon (etc) cancers, but instead be designated based on the mutations and targeted treatments will be the standard as opposed to the scorched earth approach that still prevails for most cancers.

My point is, as others have mentioned, take the good days as a blessing, the tough days as a battle and keep the hope. I personally believe we are close to being able to treat cancer as a treatable disease. I hope to live to see that day and I hope your mom does as well.

Peace

Tom

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Thank you all. Reading your thoughts is such a blessing for me. My Mom is a very private person and doesn't like to talk about her cancer or her struggles, but just the other day I was telling her about the stories I have read here, that proved the relativity of cancer statistics and she was really suprised and interested. For the time she was progression free she saw my brother get married and my little girl start kindergarten, so there were many ups to this period and we are holding on for just a little more time together. Maybe we count as the few people on this planet who are thankfull for 2020. 

The best to all of you wonderful people!

Kata

 

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I'm so happy she has been able to enjoy some of those happy events! My mom died of metastatic breast cancer (which she'd thought was gone after nearly five years) almost 30 years ago. But in that 5 years, she and my dad got to live in Hawaii--her dream place--and she got to do professional flower arranging, which she also always dreamed of doing. That time was so great for her to have. 

Your mom may be around for quite a bit longer--as noted, new discoveries are being made all the time, and they are starting to crack even the tough nut of SCLC. I think it's great you've been able to start a conversation with your mom about her cancer. I've found the support of my adult kids very helpful.

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