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Mum diagnosed with Cancer...

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I generally don't post these sort of notices.
But today, I learned that my mum has been diagnosed with cancer in her lungs, adrenal glands, and lymph nodes.

She is in Vancouver at the moment and is coming back here to start treatment next week. She is still in the hospital at this point.

All of this week, we have been awaiting some sort of news as they have been doing numerous tests.
There are no tests left to be done.

I don't know the prognosis of this type of disease and have never faced it. My heart goes out to all of you who have had to face this horrible thing.

Does anyone have any advice or insights on this sort of cancer?

I am beside myself but oddly after hearing this news today, I feel ABSOLUTELY NUMB.

IS this normal?

Tx for any wishes and good thoughts.

post #2 of 54
Oh Cin...feeling numb is normal. You just can't process this difficult news about your Mother yet. I'm sure that soon, you will receive lots of messages of hope & prayer for you & your Mum.
I will add your family to my prayers. Please, use this thread to let us know how your Mum is doing.
Remember to take care of yourself.
post #3 of 54
I'm very sorry to hear of your mother's diagnosis. It is very normal to feel that way....you've just absorbed alot of info and that's hard to process all at once. I will be praying for you and your family.
post #4 of 54
Despite the medical prognosis, my belief is that it can be fought by strength of spirit... do your best to keep the fire of hope in her and never let her give up.

Only the best of luck as you go through this time. I know the numbness you feel... too well. Lock yourself in a quiet room, let it sink in a bit, and scream it out like you're being murdered. Believe me, it might sound odd but dealing with it even in that small capacity will help you get a better grip on the situation.
post #5 of 54
I am so sorry to hear about your mothers illness. Your mother and you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Please let us know how she is doing. Hugs.
post #6 of 54
i'm so, so sorry.

If theres anything i can do please let me know.

you and your family are in my thoughts xxx
post #7 of 54
I am very sorry, Cindy. The best way to learn more about her illness and upcoming treatment are to talk to the doctor. When my Mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I found out there were many types. I'm sure it is the same with your Mom's diagnosis.

I wish there were words that could help! Please keep posting about your Mom's progress. I will definitely pray for her and your family!
post #8 of 54
I'm sorry to hear about your mum's diagnosis, Cin. I wish her a hasty recovery from any treatments she will be undergoing.

Don't forget to take care of yourself during this time. Often we put our own health on the backburner in these situations. Be strong.
post #9 of 54
I am so sorry. Your mum is in my thoughts as are you.
post #10 of 54

I am sorry that this has happened to you mom. Having lost my mother already I know that this will not be an easy trek for you no matter what the outcome. All I can say that may help is, Be there with her as much as you can. Talk to her about anything and everything you have ever wanted to know or wanted to tell her. If everything works out in the end you guys will be so much closer, and if the worse happens you will always have great thoughts and memories of your mom. I know it is very hard for you right now, but I would like you to know that I personally will be thinking about you and your mother!!!!

Silly Jilly
post #11 of 54
Dear Cin,

First I believe you feel numb since you never had to face somthing like this so therefore you're not sure how to 'feel'. The numbness also is a feeling of 'what can I do?' You feel helpless.

My sister had a brain tumor, removed, then had cells of lymphoma (cancer) in her eyes. She has just finished her last treatment yesterday. A total of 18 treatments altogether. MRI's, Catskans, Petskans, X-Rays, Blood Tests, all are showing they got all the cells. She will be testing every several months to see if, at all, any cells re-occur. They're not expected to at all. But they check so that this way if any do, they catch it right away and it is treated. Treated consists of finding it, and killing those cells so they don't spread.

After 5 years if all tests are still negative she is said to be 'cancer' free!

NEVER think THIS IS IT!!!! It's not. Save your reaction for when the event takes place. Nothing has taken place now, or yet. What I find of great news, is that they said they are treating it. Which means it's treatable.

Whether it be radiation, chemo, both or whatever. Keep her spirits up and attitude positive. No reason for it to be otherwise. New technology in the medical field have done wonders. We just get terrified at that "C" word.

Numbness is just your bodies way of saying subconciously you're not knowing what you're supposed to feel.

PM me anytime! Love, Cheryl
post #12 of 54

I'm very sorry to hear of your mother's diagnosis. I lost my mother to cancer 5 1/2 years ago, and I know there are a few others who have also gone through the same thing. My heart is absolutely with you and your family. Please know that we are here for you to go through the ups and downs that are just a part of cancer treatment with a loved one.

One thing that I remember so vividly is our first real meeting with the doctor who oversaw all of Mom's treatment. Dad wanted to punch her. I was just in shock. She was so very matter of fact it seemed like she saw Mom as a file and a case and not a person. That ended up not being the case at all; she was a very lovely person and great doctor. But in the beginning, they have to give you the facts and they have to be very down to earth and realistic. They will give you the worst case scenario to prepare you. Don't let that get you down too much. They WILL do everything possible to treat your mother!

The other bit of advice I have for you is to let your mother express herself to you. If that means screaming, crying, or quietly accepting - let her have those emotions. Be someone that she can lean on when she needs to.
post #13 of 54
Do you know what type of cancer she has and what stage she is in?
post #14 of 54
Oh, I am so sorry. I think feeling numb is totally normal. I don't have any advice about the illness itself, but I just wanted to say that I will be keeping you and your mum in my thoughts.
post #15 of 54
Aw I'm so sorry to hear this!
post #16 of 54
Cindy, numb is absolutely normal. You have been given so much good advice already. I know how incredibly difficult it is for you to be so far away from her at this time; I was 2000 miles from my mom when I got the call, and it was my husband who snapped me out of it and told me "Go home, now!" My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in Nov 2001, with a very good prognosis. She was on convalescent leave for 6 weeks to recover from surgery and went back to work as soon as the internist cleared her. In the next 3+ years of chemotherapies, she never missed work except for the odd flu bug. Work was how she dealt with it. That and being too stubborn to leave her husband alone

SillyJilly is absolutely right. Spend the time, as much as you can, and talk to her about everything you never thought you would or could talk to her about. This is my one regret of the three wonderful weeks Mom and I had together before she passed away last month, that I didn't talk with her enough.

I will be praying for you both in the coming weeks. Feel free to PM anytime
post #17 of 54
I am very sorry to hear of your mom's prognosis! As an oncologist, I do know a significant amount about lung cancer but I hesitate to provide info because there are several types of lung cancer - qith many differing prognoseses. I DO know that we have been doing so much more with lung cancer and depending on the actual type and how far it had progressed when it was diagnosed and how her health is now - before the diagnosis - there have been some excellent cures (5 years plus is considered a cure with cancer). Just this AM, I met a young woman (a patient of mine) who has been cancer free for 10 yrs (she is 15 now) from lung cancer and yep, kids do get lung cancer - second smoke being a big reason for THAT, sigh!! (I have to admit I have very little patience with smokers and wonder if like a colleague, I would refuse to treat smokers. I doubt it but I do not understand people who knowingly abuse themselves).

I am little taken back by the person who said her dad wanted to punch the doctor. I often cry myself to sleep because I cannot be emotional in talking to patients (tho I do cry with them sometimes, admitedly - older ones, not little kids!). I bet that doctor was the same. Oh - just read the rest of that post - so you understand what I am saying. In my work, I have to cope with the family as wel as the child and help them all navigate this scary path!

I would talk to your mom's doctor -if she wants you to. Docs won't give info to anyone without a patient's permission. She needs an advocate right now - someone who can go with her to appointments and take notes, remember what was said because she may be in shock. Someone to sit with her while she undergoes chemo or radiology. In my experience, people in the oncology unit become like family and you will learn as much from the other patients as you will from the doctors. Nurses are also a great support as are hospital chaplains and others you will meet.

I myself accompanied my grandparents as both suffered thru cancer. When my grandfather was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, a colleague of mine - forgetting in his excitement about the unique type of cancer it was and the potential for research said to me "Look at this!" - as he pointed to the microscopes and slides. "Isn't this just the most amazing cellular structure!" He went on for some time in that vein (I do research - have a PhD in biochemistry as well as my MD and various Board certifications in hematology and pediatrics so he was used to calling me for consults). Finally, I told him - trying not to be in tears - that yeah but this "specimen" was my grandfather who I was extremely close to. People froget - it is the natire of therir work - and this doc is an amazingly caring soul!

But I know from going with my grandpa to his chemo treatments how patients help one another what it is like to wait in an office. I am also a cancer survivor myself - endometrial and cervical cancer in my case and I hope the experience makes me better at my work. I have endured a lifetime of medical probs so I always wanted to be the kind of doctor who bonds with patients.

But that is my advice to you. Do not look just for the prognosis. Look for the people who have survived. What did they do? How did they manage? I have found a person's outlook does indeed change the outcome of the course of the neoplasm. Sort of like hoe cats -who are so easily stressed, can be affected by stress to the degree that they become ill. Look at it as an opportunity to meet new people, encounter new surroundings and it will be easier! That worked for me as a child facing surgery that was alledgedly 33% successful - it has been performed 3 times in the wortld before and the results were one death, one paralysis and one survival. I survived but I had to be able to see it as an adventure!! A few prayers and letters and cards from what was prob my ebtire town back home helped too!!
So maybe get your family and friends involved!

Thats my advice at this stage!

I wish you and your mom the best of luck!! Vancouver has excellent cancer resources! One of my best friends is a patient advocate at a hospital there so let me know if I can help with that.
post #18 of 54
What you are feeling is normal, honey. In fact many people say that after a diagnosis such as this they can't even remember what happened (and can never remember) in the time immediately following. It is such a lot of difficult information to take in. People grow up their whole lives dreading being told one day that they have cancer, and this kind of fear is too much to handle straight away if it actually comes true.

There are some amazing and wonderful treatments nowadays for these kinds of illnesses. No matter what you do, find out everything you can, and don't let doctors put you off if there are things you need to know. Mostly they won't do this but there are some who are not the best communicators.

This is very sad news and I am so sorry for you and your family. My heart goes out to you and I wish you all the very best in the months to come. If you need anything at all don't forget that everyone here is more than happy to help, and you can pm me any time if you need a cry or a vent or a shoulder. Thinking of you.
post #19 of 54
Originally Posted by CyberKitten

I would talk to your mom's doctor -if she wants you to. Docs won't give info to anyone without a patient's permission. She needs an advocate right now - someone who can go with her to appointments and take notes, remember what was said because she may be in shock. Someone to sit with her while she undergoes chemo or radiology. In my experience, people in the oncology unit become like family and you will learn as much from the other patients as you will from the doctors. Nurses are also a great support as are hospital chaplains and others you will meet.
I totally and utterly agree.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer when i was 14 years old (I am now 31). She was in remission after her bone marrow transplant for 6 years. Then the cancer came back. We spent those months together because she lived on the island at that time, and i lived on the mainland, so I took care of her for about 1.5 months before she finally had to be admitted. Through that time I did energy work with her, and I didn't even understand what i was doing, but I just felt like I had to do it. I would do it when she was asleep beside me and I would put my hands close to her body and try to take energy from wherever I could (me, the universe, etc.) and try to help to heal her.

I noticed she was extremely, extremely drowsy and totally out of it, and I asked the doctor if her Morphine dose was too much because I just had a feeling something wasn't quite right. He seemed surprised that I asked, and then checked things out and said I was right. At that point her liver couldn't metabolize that high dose of Morphine, so she was put on a lower dose and became a bit more alert.

Point being, ask anything and everything of the doctors and don't be afraid to. Spend time with her and talk to her, but don't expect her to tell you exactly how she's feeling. Just be with her silently if you both need that, and try to give her good energy.

As for you feeling numb, I have a funny way of dealing with her illness. I am the most emotional person you will ever meet, i cry over everything, commercials, songs, you name it. But when it comes to her, I get cold and clinical and a lot of my friends still don't know that she's ill or what's wrong with her. Like right now I almost want to erase all this and get off the computer, but my need to try to comfort you is greater at this moment.

Please take care of yourself, of her and the rest of your family. I will be thinking of you.....
post #20 of 54
I just wanted to send a hug and say I am sorry for the news. My mom is one year post treatment for breast cancer, I remember how I felt. I was over 3,000 miles away, but we did a lot of talking, I did research, she would share her lab results with me, doctor reports, and I was fortunate enough to still have a good friend in the medical field in her home who could tell me who the top guy was in town, and she went there for a second opinion, I was able to find research online to direct her to a different medication for post chemo...so...be as involved as she is comfortable having you be, get the specifics, do research, it will help you support her, and help you know a bit of what to expect.
post #21 of 54
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
I am very sorry, Cindy. The best way to learn more about her illness and upcoming treatment are to talk to the doctor.
I totally agree!.

My mum had mouth cancer when she was in her 70's and she was in remission for a few years before she died, but it wasn't the cancer that killed her.

We have come a long way forward in medicine and treatment which thankfully is a big plus!

Sending your mum (((((healthy and calming vibes)))))) and you know were all here to lean on!
post #22 of 54
Originally Posted by CyberKitten
But that is my advice to you. Do not look just for the prognosis. Look for the people who have survived. What did they do? How did they manage? I have found a person's outlook does indeed change the outcome of the course of the neoplasm.
I think this is very good advice. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1976. I didn't understand understand much since I was only 13 years old but later found out that is was serious and her prognosis was not the best. But through all of the chemo and surgery, she became cancer free for another 20 years. The second occurrence showed up near her collar bone and was taken care of with radiation and tamoxifen. I just found out yesterday that "hot spots" were showing up on the PET scan but Mom's doctors feel that she should do well with a new medication and monitoring.

Concentrate on what you can do and accept that it all is overwhelming. Find out what your mother wants because I'm sure she's feeling powerless in this and doesn't need everyone second guessing her. I have your mother in my thoughts and prayers.

post #23 of 54
I am sorry to hear the news...In May my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have her left breast removed. Those 5 weeks of finding this out to her recovery seemed like eternity. I had so many emotions at different times. I would be fine, then i'd be angry, then i'd be sad and scared..its not an easy road when you find out that a loved one is ill. Right now my mother is going through the chemo, which is very hard on her...and i hate to see her go through this. I have done alot of research, there are alot of online support places...and the doctor is very kind to talk to the family whenever...you need to have strong faith, but at the same time dont forget about yourself...being strong for others takes ALOT of energy. This isnt the end of the road...there are many paths that this illness can take....no one really knows what the outcome will be. I thought it was the end of things simply b/c i was so uneducated about cancer....Thenl i discovered that There are some amazing survival stories out there--that gave me hope--and i think you need to really reach out...grab some hope...and in the meantime- dont forget about your friends on here....If you need to talk or vent please know that you can PM anytime. Again, i'm sorry to hear this news.

P.S. It took me a while to know that its okay to have ups and downs of emotions...and your feelings are always accounted for...its okay to cry, laugh and mope...you need to "feel"...it took me a while to figure that out!!!
Good luck to you and i will be saying a prayer for you and your family.

website to check out http://lungcanceronline.org/
My email- sneakybugg78@hotmail.com
post #24 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much, everyone, for your wonderful, caring and helpful responses.
You don't know JUST how helpful they really are.
It gives me hope that there are so many knowledgable people on here who have been through a similiar thing.

Coccocats: They say that its lung cancer but they also found cancer in her lymph nodes and adrenal glands..
I actually had to look up WHERE the adrenal glands were! Shows me how much I know about the human body!

The funny thing is she quit smoking 12 years ago..

I don't know enough yet other than what my stepfather has told me over the phone. I have only talked to my mum for 2 minutes this week as she is too weak and in pain.
She initally admitted to the hospital for Pancreatitis and we thought that it was clearing up as she was feeling better, they had taken out the feeding tube and taken her off the morphine and put her on demerol shots..

Then the surgeon called in a lung doctor (Sorry to the medical profession for not even knowing if there is a name for that).. He then brought in another lung doctor for a second opinion of her CT Scan.

I can identify with the seemingly clinical way things are handled but just like Cyberkitten and Valanhb said, they really have to prepare you for the bad.
Before her next test to confirm the cancer (they injected dye into her to see where it was), they told us that it didn't look good.

I was so mad at them for that..Here I was on pins and needles all week and crying on and off and then without the results, they tell us it "might" be bad...
But now I understand. What are they supposed to say? Sugarcoat it?
I really don't envy someone's position that has to give that information out daily

She isn't staying in Vancouver though. SHe is originally from Winnipeg and she has decided she wants to come back here for treatment (even though I hear they have better doctors there so this had me worried). I told her I would come there today! But she didn't want me to....She doesn't even want me to come help sort her stuff out to pack up..

I just feel helpless not knowing what KIND of cancer it is actually or as someone asked here "what stage its in" ...I am afraid I have no idea. I will know more next week when I can hopefully talk to the doctors here..Thanks for all of your support in that.
I will stick by her like glue and bother the doc with a thousand questions.

I urge those of you who are going through this and don't know alot of information yet not to attempt to gather information from the internet as you often see alot of clinical, depressing statistics that you can't possibly understand and may make things seem worse...

Cyberkitten: I read something about this 5 year plus thing but didn't really understand it..Could you explain it?

Although, what someone said here about attitude is right I think. I did read an online essay by a Harvard Prof. who was diagnosed with a fatal kind of cancer where his prognosis was only 8 months. He researched the disease thoroughly and said that he would beat this thing mainly on attitude alone, as in "I WON'T GIVE UP". And I think it was years later and he is still alive.

Thanks to all who said that NUMB was "normal"
I feel that I can scream and yell on my own time and when my mum is around, that this attitude may be more helpful. I really want to give her the impression that we will get over this.

BTW, it is radiation treatment that the Van. docs suggested to start with. I don't know if this is good or bad..Is it better or lesser of a hard treatment on your body? (if that makes sense)...

Thanks again all, I will keep you updated as the week goes on.. I may not learn more about the specifics until next week. I am afraid to ask but its something I have to do...

Thanks again so so so much.
Hugs to all of you.
post #25 of 54
Cin, radiation is much less invasive and much easier for the body to deal with than chemo. Radiation is directed at specific areas where the cancer is (Mom said after her radiation treatments she felt like she had a sunburn), whereas chemo is directed at the entire body. Chemo treatments do work, but along with the cancer cells it also kills healthy cells which is where most of the side-effects (i.e. losing hair, losing all sense of taste because tastebuds are very sensitive cells, etc.) come from.
post #26 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick answer, Heidi

Can I ask if your mum went into the hospital to have this? I feel stupid but is it a pill or is it like an xray machine that they direct at you?

I am glad to hear its the least invasive. Hopefully that will be the only one she has to endure.

post #27 of 54
I sure do hope that's the only treatment required too!

The radiation treatment that Mom got was an outpatient procedure. I don't remember how often, if it was once or twice a week, but the course I remember was for about 6 weeks. It was just like going to a regular doctor's appointment, I think the treatment took between 1/2 hour and an hour. (Forgive the vagueness, this was probably 8-9 years ago when she had radiation.) It is more like an x-ray machine that they direct at specific points. Mom was thrilled because they had to tattoo the points of direction on her - literally tiny little dots. But she thought it was so cool to tell people that she had a tattoo now! LOL (Silly memory, I hadn't thought of that in a long time. Mom was employed at a church, so she wasn't the tattoo type at all!)
post #28 of 54
My mom preferred the radiation treatment to the chemo. When she had chemo she was horribly ill for days afterwards. With the radiation treatment, she was actually living alone and we just helped with the driving every once in awhile.

Your mother's cancer is more complicated so I don't know how extensive the treatment will be but the radiation treatment is definitely easier than the chemo.

post #29 of 54
My mom had both - a decision we made after a spot was found on her lung (same side as the breast with cancer). First she had a lumpectomy, then radiation, then chemo...gave it both barrels!
post #30 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks Heidi and Jana...

Hopefully it won't be too hard on her. I have heard all that horrible stuff about chemo.
The thing that worries me is that the lymph nodes are the glands that protect AGAINST disease (if I am stating that right) so if they have cancer in them, that doesn't sound great to me..

I will have to wait and see I guess what the doctors say...
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