Posted by Evan on Apr 2, 2019 4:39 pm
I got the call from my mom today, the 3cm mass they found in one lung earlier this year has officially been confirmed to be cancer. Now she has to do bone scans and other such tests, and then surgery to remove it.
They had already tested her lymph nodes and they were clear, so that’s good. I’ve never personally dealt with Cancer with someone in my family, so I’m a bit confused, scared, optimistic, and hopeful.
It’s adenocarcenoma non-small cell. Whatever that means, I’ve been doing some research and it seems not to be the worst thing... I guess I just came here to hopefully hear people’s thoughts, advice.
The hardest thing for me personally is my mom and my family are all in the interior of BC while I’m in the lower mainland, so I feel quite useless...
Posted by Brighty on Apr 2, 2019 5:47 pm
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Apr 2, 2019 6:33 pm
I’m my Dad’s caregiver - Dad had non-small cell lung cancer last year. Actually, this time last year, he’d had his surgery and was half way through his chemo.
That’s interesting that they already tested her lymph nodes, but it’s also good! They won’t be absolutely sure about what stage she is until they’ve done her surgery — it’s the pathology from the actual surgery that will tell the tale, and they’ll no doubt take more lymph nodes closer to the site and test them, too. Granted, it sounds as though they’ve already done a needle biopsy, given on the amount of information you have. I’m no doctor, but based on my experience, your mom is in a very similar position to my Dad — you can’t get much better news than this.
The next steps will likely be (at least this is what happened with Dad) a PET scan, and an MRI. These tests check the whole body for cancer cells. Dad didn’t have a bone scan at this point — he just had one last month.
I don’t think you’ve been useless at all! You’ve done some research (do watch Dr. Google though... he’s not the most reliable doctor...) and you’ve come here to look for help for your parents. You’re probably your parent’s “techie,” as I am, so I’m going to point you to the Cancer Services Locator site http://csl.cancer.ca/ you can put in their postal code and it will come up with services available in their area.
The feelings you’re having are quite normal, too — all of them! As you’ve quickly found out, your mom’s scenario is one of the most optimistic one can have.
My recommendations for your parents is to organize - My Dad decided to move his bed down to a lower level of the house so it would be easier for him to access his kitchen and bathroom for those midnight watering and de-watering runs. 😏 I set him up with a notebook JUST for his cancer journey - We included all of the meds and vitamins he was taking (hospitals are going to ask for that repeatedly) and I recorded his questions for the doctors and their answers in it. It was also a place where he could record any symptoms he was having along the way. Making meals ahead is a great way to keep busy, and have something for Dad to eat for a few days around Mom’s surgery. My Dad also buys pre-made meals from our local hospital - they’re nutritionally balanced, and he quite enjoys them.
My recommendation for you is to plan as many trips home as you can in the coming years, for you’ve just got your first reality check about life being short. Also, be proactive and diligent about your own screening schedule.
Dad is now one-year “cancer-free” (the medical community uses “no evidence of disease”). Dad is also a prostate cancer survivor (16 years). As he and your mom sure know, there’s a lot to be said for early detection.
Do give us updates when you can about how your mom is doing.
Posted by jorola on Apr 7, 2019 7:48 pm
Getting a call like that, especially from your mom would be very scary and overwhelming. The great news is that being stage 1 is that they caught it super early! This means the drs will be focusing on getting rid of the cancer and curing her which is extremely likely. I know the stats on the internet look scary but please keep in mind this is based on information is 5, 10 even 15 years ago. I can tell you as my husband is nearly a 5 years survivor of stage 3b lung cancer, treatments for lung cancer have changed dramatically even since he was diagnosed and all for the better. More and more lives are saved every year. So have hope, dear Evan. I do, for your Mom and you.
I know it is hard to be away from a sick parent. My father has prostate cancer and about 2 hours away from me. It may not be that far but I work full time and it is hard to sneak away to visit. He is doing very well right now but I worry. I phone a lot. We talk about everything under the sun. Sometimes, when he wants to, we talk about his cancer. I don't push it though as it is non-life threatening at the moment. See your Mom when you can (maybe make one a surprise visit!) but simple phone calls and emails mean a lot too. Does she use a computer? Know how to skype? That is a great way to visit. If she doesn't maybe on a visit down there you can teach her. I don't know if you can afford it but send her on a spa day or just to get her hair done. Women love that and it would be nice for her to be pampered. These are just some ideas I can think of but you know our Mom the best. You know what would best cheer her up or best help her out. You'll know what to do. Trust yourself.
We are all here to help you along this journey. Please keep us posted. Ask questions and we'll do our best to help you out ok?
Posted by Daughter22 on Apr 8, 2019 3:11 pm
Posted by ashcon on Apr 9, 2019 10:06 am
I'm glad that you did find this site, and that you posted here.
I'm sorry to hear of your mom's situation and diagnosis, but I'm glad that it is finally being addressed!
I am a cancer patient myself (stage 3 breast cancer currently "clear" of any signs of disease after 9 months of treatment), and I can tell you that regardless of Stage or type of cancer, it is a disease that affects you 90% mentally and 10% physically, what with all the fear and anxiety!
Let the doctors tackle the physical aspects of this disease.... Now it's time for you and your mom to take care of the psychological toll this is taking on you.. Don't underestimate how important this aspect of the care plan is for both you and your mom.
I'm sure you've read on various posts on this site the resources that are available to you and your mom, and to her other support people, to help deal with the emotional aspects of cancer.
Support Groups in your area. Social Worker at the hospital. This community.
Also from the Canadian Cancer Society:
Cancer Information Specialist
This publication: Coping When You Have Cancer
How many more radiation treatments is your mom getting?
Posted by Daughter22 on Apr 9, 2019 1:13 pm
Posted by Dolphin on Apr 9, 2019 10:46 pm
My heart breaks for you. I too , like Ashcon , am glad you found this site. My mother had terminal brain cancer, and she died this past July.
It was , needless to say perhaps, very difficult. I learned from another woman I met. whose daughter was terminal, to just let my mom direct
things in any way she wished, as much as possible. I also learned to never push my own agenda- to talk about things, perhaps, that my mom would rather not.
I found other people to speak to for some things that I needed to speak about, and this part is very important I believe. You will need lots of support too, as you support your mother. It was such a profound learning experience which continues .... I found she appreciated my company and just my presence, whether we sat together and watched something or to just be together quietly sometimes , maybe with some conversation, but I wouldn't force anything, and tried to just follow her lead. It was hard because I often wondered what else can I do? And even now I once and awhile wonder what else could i have done. Trust yourself as much as you can, and know you are doing your very best. You will find your way through this, as will your mom in her way with lots of love and support from you. Remember there is no right or wrong to how you feel. Day by day is so important and so precious.
The irony for me is that I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of the year and i have recently had surgery, with more treatments to come.....This site is really helpful and people are so generous here. Please keep reaching out.
I am thinking of you Daughter22 and sending you much tender and loving energy.
Posted by Evan on Jun 26, 2019 6:48 pm
Thanks for all the kind messages, and I'm glad another user was able to utilize this thread as well.
I'm sorry I haven't been on here. I posted that when I found out, read your posts, but needed time to cope with what I had learned. I too have dealt with anxiety since finding out. Mostly anxiety over life, death... my own health. Any pain I feel in my own body makes me worry. But I am starting to get better with that and just breathe and let go.
An update on my mom:
She had her Lobectomy two weeks ago, and got her update today now that they've been able to look at the lung removed. They've bumped her to stage 2, as it ended up being a 4cm mass. It did not spread to any nodes which is great news, but they do think it seemed aggressive. Possible recommendation for Chemo, but have to wait to meet with oncologist and also having a CT scan done.
Before the surgery they did a bone test, which was good and no signs of it in bones. They also did another scan of lungs before surgery, and they did find 2 very small somethings on the other lung, but they are too small to do anything about or know what they are, so they thought it best to ignore and check back on those in 6 months. If they knew they were cancer they wouldn't do surgery, but as they don't they thought it best to move forward with the surgery. Hopefully those are nothing.
My mom was rightfully upset today when she called me, as she really hoped the surgery would be the final step for her. But onward we go! Still caught early, nothing in nodes... Being very optimistic. I was up with her for 4 days after the surgery, and trying to support her with love from afar.
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jun 27, 2019 1:24 am
Like you, my heart sank when the doctors talked about my Dad having a chemo after his lung resection. I felt a little better when they explained that the purpose of the chemo is to “clean up” any “stray cancer cells” that could be “floating around.” (That in its own right was a scary thought.) Plus, they can’t test all of the lymph nodes, so even when the lymph nodes are clear, there’s a teensy chance that one of the ones they didn’t test might harbour a bit of the disease.
The good news about the “two small somethings” on your mom’s other lung is that you can bet they’ll watch them very closely. My neighbour behind me had something on her lung about 8 years ago, and they kept an eye on it. As a result, her cancer was ultimately caught about as soon as possible. I have to give props to the medical field for the way they stay on top of such things! And, too, there is also a chance that those spots could be scar tissue from pneumonia or some other event.
The prospect of chemotherapy is daunting, even with the improvements to the meds these days. If it does come to pass, try to take it in stride, and just follow everything they suggest you do. Of course, if you have any more questions, just ask.
Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 26, 2019 5:48 pm
Posted by Evan on Nov 27, 2019 7:25 pm
Question for anyone who maybe is in my boat, where you had a very close family member with Cancer.
How do you manage your own health anxiety? I used to be a rock, never really thought much about it... but since my moms diagnosis I feel like I drive myself mad with worrying about my own health. That any pain, feeling, little tiny bump somewhere must be cancer.
I didn't have a family doctor since I moved out to the coast on my own over 8 years ago, but my partners doctor took me on this year. She has been wonderful listening to me, helping me through my concerns, testing things to rule out concerns.
I just can't tell if these things are in my head, real and should be checked etc, and I feel like I just spend most days dwelling on this or that.
Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 27, 2019 8:41 pm
To answer your question, cancer is in my family. My older brother is currently battling it. There are a couple of points.
1. Live your best life. Eat healthy, exercise, use your mind, socialize and be kind and giving. Get regular checkups.
2. My personal belief is stress can impact the body. Waiting for cancer to strike is like giving it an invitation. Dont let it get a foothold in your mind.
3. Causes of cancer are many. External, internal, DNA. Regardless of what you do it might still strike.
4. Treatment when caught early is much more successful than in previous years. Survival rates are high.
There is a high incidence of cancer diagnosed for every100 people. When I was diagnosed, my first thought was, I am not special so Why not me?
Give yourself a day to let go of these nasty thoughts. Then do like Taylor Swift and Shake It Off. Whatever comes your way, when you are healthy, you can conquer it.
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 28, 2019 4:40 pm
Have you ever heard the saying, “what we believe we become”?
It stems from a belief that how we respond to experiences affects our well-being, and, to a degree, our destiny. When we respond with fear-based thoughts (OMG - that lump - could that be cancer?), we will be more adversely affected than if we respond with mindful, compassionate thoughts (Hmm, I feel a lump. If it’s still there next week, I will call the doctor and have it checked). Compassion includes self-compassion.
The day my mom passed away, the doctors said to those of us present (my Dad, sister and myself), “You women are now at increased risk for heart attack.” Kind of a scary thing to hear, especially in that moment. For a few months, I wandered around thinking “Holy - I might only have 19 years left!” But then, I remembered that “a thought is a thought, and a thought can be changed,” so I shifted my thinking. I started to tell myself, “my mom died because of her lifestyle and her DNA. My lifestyle is different, so my story can be different.”
Do I ignore that doctor’s words completely? Nope: I think of them every time I reach for a bag of chips. Do I put the chips down? Sometimes, sometimes not.
Years ago I had some work-related workshop, and the facilitator spent considerable time talking about turning our vocabulary around. It was life changing, and in a good way. I began replacing “no problem” and “no worries” (both double negatives) with “my pleasure” and “you’re welcome” (both of which contain a positive, personal message). In just a few months, using those positive words lifted the weight of my workday.
Years after that, a friend recommended a book by Louise Hay to me called You Can Heal Your Life. To this day, at least once a day, I remind myself that I am safe. Oh, there’s an odd day where I don’t exactly believe it, but there’s something extremely calming about putting a hand on your heart, taking a deep breath, and thinking or saying, “I am safe.” I encourage you to try it. It’s all part of being mindful and in tune with my self (as opposed to myself). That book is where the quote about “a thought can be changed” comes from, too.
There is a doctor (Ph.D.) in the states named Jon Kabat-Zinn who has written several books about mindfulness, as well. If you’re interested in mindfulness, and positive thinking, either of these authors is worth your time.
Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Nov 28, 2019 6:31 pm
As to your question, I lost my dad to cancer, I had it, mom had it, sister had it. There is no way these things don't play on my mind. But the important thing for me is to listen to my body, get something checked out if it is a concern and try really hard not to dwell on any of the what ifs. Sometimes easier said than done but if we live in the what ifs of the future we are missing out on the present. And what a waste of time that is when so many don't get that opportunity.
Wishing you and your family good health
Posted by Brighty on Nov 29, 2019 11:18 am
Posted by Faye on Nov 29, 2019 1:09 pm
Welcome to the forum
Lung Cancer is a hard diagnosis to cope with and with a move to a new area you have probably left friends and thereby a support system behind. The good news you have your family for support and from experience it’s family that will be there to offer encouragement, love and care through your cancer journey.
You have stated you are booked for surgery and I can’t offer advise on that as my lung cancer was inoperable but understand it is a manageable surgery. I wish you much success with the surgery.
Do you know the stage or if you will need further treatment after surgery.
I want you to know there is so much new treatments being offered for lung cancer with amazing results.
I am a 3 year lung cancer survivor and am grateful for excellent care and for every day I am able to enjoy this world.
I understand the worry and stress but try to not let it overwhelm you and try to do things that you enjoy so that the worry doesn’t overtake you.
You will find this forum very supportive so I hope you continue to come here for information and support.
There is a sub group for lung cancer, if you read through the posts there you may find it useful.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask me.My good thoughts will be with you as you proceed with treatment
Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 29, 2019 8:06 pm
Posted by Rayline on Nov 30, 2019 11:48 pm
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 1, 2019 8:32 am
Early detection doesn’t get much better than stage 1, so you have that knowledge on your side.
The timing of your pre-op appointment appears to match the schedule Dad had. Before his surgery, they sent him to “lung school” where they taught him various techniques to cope after his cancer (things like pressing a pillow to your side when you have to cough). We also met with “the vampires” for his bloodwork, and had a long chat with a pharmacist about his smoking. (Which he completely ignored once he had recovered.) Dad had his surgery on a Friday, and he was sent home the following Monday. It was remarkable to see how quickly he recovered (he was 78 at the time of the surgery).
If I can help answer any questions, I’m here!
Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 5, 2019 1:54 pm
He has not given up smoking, sadly. He’s a dad, so if he was afraid, he did his best not to show it, but my hunch is that he was - if he wasn’t, then he also has some superhero qualities he’s been hiding, because — how can you not be afraid, at least a little?
Dad is back in treatment. They discovered this summer that his cancer (a rare, aggressive type) has metastacized. The doctors were thrilled with the way his body responded to the treatments after his September CT scan and he is currently on a “maintenance schedule” or as I refer to it, “chemo light.” As I said, the articles I’ve read about my dad’s form of cancer say that it is only found in 0.1 to 0.4 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses, so his case is rare, indeed.
Your surgery is coming up soon. Please try to think pleasant thoughts between now and then - warm sandy beaches, favourite songs, playing kittens - to try and keep yourself occupied. Keep us posted as to how you’re doing when you’re able.
Posted by jorola on Dec 10, 2019 10:48 pm
Hope your surgery went well yesterday. When you are up to it, let us know how you are doing!
Thinking of you,
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