My mother has been smoking for 40- something years along with EVERY single person in our family. My aunt (mom's oldest sister) just passed away two months ago after a battle with lung & brain cancer, and both of my mom's parents died of cancer (grandpa: lung, grandma; breast). So we all know that we are genetically suceptible to this devastating disease.
Lately, (for the past year and a half) my mother has been experiencing a very horrible cough that has recently gotten worse. It is such a deep, dry cough that rattles her whole body, and wears her out physically. However, last night I thought we would have to call an ambulance for her because the cough was so bad. She was literally gasping for air for a good 5 minutes and choking, and gasping continually. She was helpless. When the coughing fit ended finally, she could barely talk, but stated that it was the first time something like that had happened (which isn't true) and that it must have been caused by the dust in the room, or her sinuses. She constantly complains of a dripping sensation in her sinuses, but i dont know about the validity of that claim. I think it may be an excuse to cover up the cough.
Since the death of her sister, she has made repeated comments to me such as " If I ever have cancer, I do not want to know about it, it seems as if everyone goes downhill fast as soon as they find out about the disease" and "If I ever get cancer, please make sure that I do not receive any treatment."
She is a very strong willed person, and kind of marches to the beat of her own drummer. She wont listen to anyone, and she certainly is refusing to go to the doctor at this point, primarily because I think she is afraid of what the doctor will tell her. Even if she did go to the doctor, I know she won't tell him to complete truth about the coughing fits, and her raspy breathing. I have mentioned going with her to see a doctor, and she just continues doing whatever it is that she is doing at that moment as if I did not say anything.
I am just torn right now and I am upset and nervous that she is going to choke one night when I am sleeping and I won't know how to help her. I really have no support system because my siblings live in other states, and while they have always been there for me, i know that they can't physically be here for me. My father likes to pretend that everything in the world is fantastic, and that nothing is ever wrong (he pretends that my mother quit smoking 4 years ago, and she smokes a pack a day...just not in front of him) So its kind of like I am in this battle by myself, and I am not sure what to expect. I am aware of the fact that she more than likely has cancer or emphysema (however, I am not trying to diagnose her, I am just accepting the fact that something is wrong with her) but I am not sure what to expect. I don't know what is going to happen if something like this goes un-diagnosed. Does anyone have any experience with this? Or, what is it going to take to get a diganosis? Will it be an emergency that finally gets her to the hospital? I just dont know what to do....any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Geezzz, I don't know what to tell you at this point. There has been no diagnosis so it is impossible to tell for sure if these symptoms are a result of cancer. I can tell you that my Margaret coughed much like you are describing. She also would choke on drinks quiet often, as if her drinks were constantly going down the wrong pipe. The only argument I could help you with, to get her to see a doctor is that Cancer comes with allot of pain. If she waits (and I understand why should would), she may be in for a few very uncomfortable weeks. What I'm saying is that when the pain starts (if she has Cancer) then she will have to wait for a diagnosis and who knows what else until she can get pain medicine that is sufficient to keep up with her pain. I really do understand why she would be reluctant to go threw treatments but she won't be able to avoid the worst symptoms that Cancer brings, if she really has it.
My husband treats cancer and he always told me that he would never get treated. He would just let it take it's course. Your mother should get looked at, if it's treatable then what's the harm. If she does have cancer then there are meds that can help ease her pain. I'm sure she's very scared and she may know something you don't. Some people think that death is unbeatable so why bother fighting it. I hope your mother seeks a doctor to at least ease her symtoms. Dying of lung cancer isn't pretty, somtimes you can drown in your own fluid. That's not a pretty way to go and letting her children see her go that way isn't a very pleasant thought. Good luck
I guess I was just venting, because I am totally at wits end, knowing that something is wrong with her. Its so hard because my mom and I are very very very close, and we always have been. I know that she is probably so scared, especially because she has a brand new grandson from one of my siblings, and she wants to be there to see him grow up. Because I know her so well, I know that she thinks that if it is out of sight, it is out of mind. I know she also thinks that if there is no diagnosis of anything at all, then that surely has to mean that nothing is wrong with her. When she stopped breathing the other night, i said something to the effect of "God, that was scary" and she said "Well, it doesn't scare me!" She is just pretending that nothing is wrong with her. And by urging her to go to the doctor, I dont want her to think that I want her to be diagnosed with anything, its just that if she does have something that is treatable and curable, i want her to get it taken care of before it gets out of hand. I just don't know what to do any more. thanks for your support everyone. You are all in my prayers.