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Mom, 67 diagnosed with NSCLC


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Hi all. I've been lurking here for the past month. Figured it was time to create an account.

My mom was diagnosed with NSCLC adenocarcinoma in June. She has a nodule that's ~2cm in her lower left lobe. On Thursday, it was confirmed that the "reflection" or "shadow" that was seen in her upper left lobe is indeed another nodule, slightly smaller in size. This was confirmed after a heart PET scan last Monday. My mom was supposed to have a lobectomy done. But stress tests completed the week before last suggested she was not in great shape health wise for the surgery. She will be 68 this year, 5 ft, ~95 lbs with a mechanical heart valve in place since 2012 as a result of mitral valve stenosis. Her thoracic surgeon is now proceeding with a wedge resection this Friday. He will try to remove the second nodule in the upper lobe at the same time. 

It's been difficult to get information out of my parents. But it seems these two cancers are independent of one another; not metastasis of the other, with no identified mutations. No lymph nodes or pelvic organs appear to have metastasis of the cancer. No scan has been done on her brain much to my dismay. Though she has been declining somewhat cognitively since an episode of PRES in 2012 following her mitral valve surgery and incorrectly being removed from her high blood pressure medication.

She's getting a coil put in her back tomorrow in preparation for the surgery Friday. She is quite nervous about it as her lung collapsed during one of the diagnostic tests for cancer (might have been the bronchoscopy?) She said it was extremely painful. She cried all weekend thinking about it. She is more worried about tomorrow than Friday. Generally, she has been very positive about her outlook. I'm going out to see her in August. I offered to come early. But I have a baby and she doesn't want my daughter around during the initial part of her recovery. I'm not sure if it's that or partly she doesn't want me to see how sick she is. My family acknowledges that I am sensitive. My sister went out at the beginning of the month and indicated my mother looks very sick. My sister called my mom this weekend and told her she hasn't been able to sleep the past few nights because she is worried sick for my mom. Extremely immature of her to do that. I can't say I'm happy about her adding that stress to my mom when she's been doing what she can to stay positive. 

I'm trying to stay positive myself. But my mom is so little to begin with, is not in good shape physically, and continues to smoke like a chimney. Apparently the oncologist can feel one of the nodules through her rib cage just through a physical exam. My mom and I have always had a very close relationship. I will be somewhat devastated if she passes. I would like her to be around as my daughter grows up. Seeing her sick will be very hard on me. I started seeing a therapist last week. But I'm under a lot of pressure with work right now. So we're starting with addressing my immediate anxiety related to work and going to address my feelings about mom once the next two weeks are behind me. If I think about mom I start to get weepy. My MIL passed away of lung cancer last August. She was diagnosed late July and passed away two weeks later; a week before my daughter was born. We will be going to her memorial service on the same trip next month when I go down to see my own mom. My husband was not super close to his mom because of her mental health challenges. But he understands what I am feeling and has been a great support for me. 

Thanks for reading.

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I am so sorry to learn about your mother. My mom was small in stature also (4'8") and 90 pounds on a good day. But she was "large and in charge" raised 4 sons (2 career Army Officers) and led a full life.  So I understand your concern about your mother's size, and I share your concern about your mother's continued smoking. I can't imagine recovering from thoracic surgery (and I had 3) while smoking. Even recovering from a bronchoscopy and smoking would be extremely unpleasant. I'm sure your will do your best to encourage her to quit, hopefully for good, but at least until her sutures are completely healed.

Surgery with your mom's heart problems and high blood pressure is indeed concerning. Has your mom seen a radiation oncologist? Certain types of radiation can be as effective as surgery. Here is some information explaining the procedures (click on the right arrow with the title How is radiation therapy administered, then scroll down to Types of EBRT). I would encourage a consultation with a radiation oncologist to see if (precision) radiation will work for your mother.

I hope for the best outcome for your mom.

Stay the course.


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Hi in Y Y C

So sorry to hear of both your mom and your mother in law. Life can be very unfeeling at times. At 68 your mom is young and I bet has a lot more strength than you think.

Is your sister in the loop with the docs? Has she heard of us? Has your mother.

Such an awesome amount of knowledge and love here. Please keep us informed.



PS: I'm calling you Y for ease of typing!

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