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Confused and Terrified

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

My 69 year old mom was diagnosed around Thanksgiving with 2 primary cancers, one small cell and one non small cell. I am not sure of the stage, but after reading other peoples I realize that is question I need to ask doctor.
I am my Mom's caregiver since Jan 2009 when we lost my Dad to COPD and emphysema. My mom had a stroke 10 years ago that has left her with some brain damage, and she also has crippling arthritis.
I think what I am the most confused about is making the choices for her. She understands somewhat is going on, but I know that whichever way I think is the best that is what she will chose to do. I am terrified of making the wrong choice!
We started chemo 3 weeks ago, she went for her 2nd treatment on Monday and the nurses could not find a vein to put an IV in, so she is schedule to get a port put in Friday, they did not want to do a port as her lung collapsed on her 2nd biopsy and today the majority of her hair fell out.
I feel like I am going in circles, I am wondering if any body has any advice of where do I start, do I deal with the port, do I deal with her hair loss, and how do I help her with that and how do I stay strong and sane to do this??

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Dear Haynes,

First, take a long, deep breath. You are already familiar with being your mom's caregiver, so half the battle is won. Did you and her ever have conversations as to what her wishes would be should she become ill? I mean, before she suffered the stroke? If you did, perhaps you can use some of that to help you with decisions at this time.

If you didn't, think of how she was, what things were important to her before. Let these memories help you in deciding now.

I have heard and read that some folks can have both types of cancer. But, as you said, have her Oncologist explain the diagnosis to you. Take notes, review them, hi-lite what needs further explanation.

Many chemos will cause the loss of hair. It is traumatizing. Buy some pretty scarves and hats that fit her personality.

A port can offer many conveniences during treatment. As all procedures during this time, it can be scary to the patient as well as the caregiver. After implant sutures heal, there is no special care. Her team will keep an eye on it, and numb area before treatment. No more getting "poked" repeatedly!

Love her, love yourself. Ask for assistance with her care from good family and friends. Inquire as to Hospice care. It is not just for the end of life, it can enhance a patient's and caregiver's lives.

Come to this site often, especially when you need reassurance,compassion and ideas. I have found a treasure of folks here!


Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

I think Lucy's advice is good and especially about asking for the assistance of other family members and good friends. It's just to hard to go down this road with your mom alone. Sometimes people hang back because they don't know what to do, but gladly pitch in when asked.

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