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Old 08-15-2003, 11:41 AM   #1
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kathylynn HB User
Question How Long Does my Mom Have?

My mom has recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. I don't know if it is NSCLC or SCLC, but it has spread to the bones. She is being tested today to see if it has reached the brain. She is on oxygen, her legs are terribly swollen, she isn't eating and she has severe arm and leg pain. Her symptoms have been here for months, but she had thought they were simply from "getting old". She is 67.

My brother passed away in 1996 from lung cancer. He was 40. From the time he was diagnosed to his death was 5 months.

I'm trying to brace myself for what is ahead. I know what to expect (I shudder to think of it) from what we went through with my brother, but I just wish I could put a timeline on this somehow. The doctor told my mom she could live for up to 5 years -- but she knows -- and I know-- that is not likely. I truly believe she has given up her will to live. My brother's death in 1996 almost killed her. But then my sister was killed in a car accident three years later, and she has just never been the same. She is just numb. She has no will to go on.

I live 50 miles away from her and I have a full time job and three little boys. My aunts have been taking her to appointments and trying to help her at home. She is still able to get around some (the swollen feet are a problem, though) and she can still take care of her personal needs. What is frustrating is not being able to be there with her every day.

Could some of you please post how long your family members lived after their diagnosis? Have any "gotten better" after a Stage 4 diagnosis with chemo? I fear that my mom won't even want to try chemo because the doctors advised my brother not to do chemo and when he did he got much sicker and died shortly after. And I know she is going to reject Hospice, because she is still mad at them for "starving" my brother to death in his last days. (That's what she thinks, anyway. But I know that's just a mother's reaction to watching her son die and not being able to do a thing about it.)

Thank you in advance for any advice and information regarding my mom's prognosis. It helps to be here where you know everyone is going through or has gone through the same thing.

[This message has been edited by kathylynn (edited 08-15-2003).]
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Old 08-15-2003, 01:17 PM   #2
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hope1220 HB User
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Those are my shoes you have on. I lost my mom from lung cancer after a 17 month fight. She was only 65. We were told right from the start the chemo was only going to prolong the inevitable - and no one knew if she would be terribly sick with the chemo or not. Fortunately, mom wasn't that sick until about 11 months into chemo then she was terribly sick. My mom said right off she was not going to take chemo treatments (my grandma - her mom died from breast cancer and had taken chemo) but I begged her and gave her the whole guilt trip about how she should do it for me and Dad - how she just couldn't give up. I have no way of knowing if it was the chemo or the cancer that stripped my mom of her dignity in the end - but she was terribly ill for the last 6 or 7 months of her life - she was miserable - so I am not sure if adding those months to her life was really worth it - she didn't think so - she died in May 2003 17months after her diagnosis - but her actual death was painless - she was so weak and just quietly stopped breathing one night - 15 nights after my wonderful 60 year old father died - from cancer that we never knew he had until 12 weeks before he died. He had been so busy taking care of mom he refused to see a dr. about his "backache" it turned out to be lung cancer worse than mom's and it had already spread to his bones. He died 1st May 3rd then Mom on May 19th. I too have 3 small boys and live about an hour away. You will drive yourself crazy with "I should have's" and "I wish I had's" your boys are about to loose their grandmother - try and keep it together for them - boys are generally very disturbed when their mom is upset. Take care of yourself Hon. you will make it and I will keep you and your mom in my prayers. Hope, B.

 
Old 08-15-2003, 05:42 PM   #3
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kgray HB User
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My heart goes out to both of you and my story resembles your too. My dad was dx'd with stage 4 nsclc on August 23, 2002. He died on November 6th, 2002. His last week was horrible. I will never forget that. But he opted for no intervention other than palliative care and the hospice was great with that. It was hard to go through since my Mom had died from a massive heart attack less than a year before. It is hard to cope with losing one parent...but to lose two so close together, well, the pain is overwhelming at times.

I am so sorry that you both have had this horrible tragedy in your lives. How does anyone make it through something that seems so unfair?

Please take care of yourselves.

 
Old 09-15-2003, 09:21 PM   #4
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Your story sounds a lot like mine. My Mom is 68 and has been diagnosed with malignant pleural effusion. In case you haven't heard of that, it is the layer of lining around the lung. She is waiting on what they are going to do next. She took a vacation and now I am waiting in frustration, because I know her doctor can't tell me what they figured out. The problem being they can't find the primary site. She has already gone through 6 months of chemo for colon cancer. My Dad died 14 years ago of a massive heart attack. I feel for everyone on this site who either smokes, or used to. I begged my parents both for years to stop, but would not. I wish cigarettes were never invented, because they have take away so many lives unneccessarily! It's hard to say how much time someone has. I know a few people who have had different types of cancer (one of them lung) and the prognosis was different than the outcome. You can only hope, but do as much research and be your own advocate. Doctors only can go on what you tell them. My Mom witheld too much and that probably didn't help. I will post when I get her diagnosis. I hope your Mom pulls through.

 
Old 09-16-2003, 06:54 AM   #5
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Thank you for your message. It is with a heavy heart that I must report that my mom passed away on September 7, peacefully, in her sleep. As my original post mentioned, she was diagnosed just about 4 weeks prior with Stage 4 lung cancer. After more tests, it was discovered that she also had cancer in her spine, spleen, liver and a very large mass in her uterus. I was not prepared for her to go so fast; but I am so thankful that her suffering was not lengthy and she is now free. whatnowblonde, encourage your mom to seek all options for treatment. Even if her cancer is too advanced for a cure, she might be able to lengthen the time that she has here on earth with you and make that time more comfortable with treatment. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I miss my mom and feel so empty inside but I am certain that she is in a wonderful place where there is no pain or sorrow. Much love to you.
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:05 AM   #6
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Thank you also for your reply and I am so sorry about your Mom. Honestly, I am not expecting to hear real positive news at my Mom's next appt. In fact, it really scares me, because I know for sure they are putting a chest tube in and will have to put in a sealant in the lining of her lungs. She has already been through so much and I hate to see her in pain. When she had colon cancer last year I wasn't surprised I guess, because the symptoms were there, but she just didn't want to go in. I get conflicting answers from her doctors too. Sometimes they all don't agree on what should be done and this can get confusing for her. I don't think she even understands what is happening. Her oncologist is very optimistic, but at the same time giving false hope too? Her pulmonary doctor was not happy she took a vacation, but she needed to see her family. I am just nervous that the fluid around her lungs will fill up before she gets on that plane and will be in so much pain again. Sorry this is so long, but thanks for letting me vent.

 
Old 09-16-2003, 10:51 AM   #7
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I am so sorry for your loss. Peace be with you all.

 
Old 09-16-2003, 11:20 AM   #8
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whatnowblonde, my email address is kathylynn@lucent.com. Email me anytime you want to talk. It might help us both.
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Old 09-26-2003, 12:10 PM   #9
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Hi there, I have just newly registered and was recently told my mother who is 64 years old has stage four lung cancer that has spread to her brain. I am just wondering what hope there is for her survival. Her original prognosis was that she has 6 - 18 mos and she has been on Decadron steroid that they are not successful in weaning her off. I am thinking that her time is coming near to an end. Does anybody have any info regarding stage four lung cancer. I would also like to know whether I should let my mother know what the doctor told me and my siblings. She is getting upset at people talking around her.

Would somebody please respond if you have a similiar experience to share, I am feeling lost trying to keep the rest of my family together and we are having a hard time coping with this news.

I can relate to others' and my heart goes out to families sharing this kind of trauma. God bless

 
Old 09-27-2003, 03:39 PM   #10
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jbart HB User
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Hi DelGwood and others,
My mom was on decadron for lung/brain cancer and it made her very very weak. Since then the cancer has gone to her liver. She has been battling this for over two years and it has been a rough journey . Since I am afraid to be too repeatitive I invite you to please look for my new posting on the topics list. jbart

 
Old 11-29-2003, 09:22 PM   #11
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Re: How Long Does my Mom Have?

[Read: Crossing the creek.... Its on the net, just surf and you will find it. The text will fill your needs and help you understand what your mother is going through. Please read this....I know what your feeling I have been there. I just wish this info was there when I needed it. You are in my prayers

 
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