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Non smoker w/lung cancer

Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2011

First I would like to say I am so glad that I found this site because I see that me and my mom are not the only one that is going through this ugly thing called cancer. Never in a million years we thought we would be going through this.
My mom (non smoker) was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma in 2009. She had the surgery to have the tumor removed off the top left lung. January 7th 2011 the cancer came back. We were devastated. I can not imagine life without my mom. We are praying and I'm doing as much research as possible. I cry every day cause my mom is in pain every day, some days are worst than others and it breaks my heart. No matter what I have to keep the faith that we are going to beat this thing. Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated.

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

I hope that your mom's pain is kept under control, and if it is not, let the medical staff know. No reason for her to suffer! I will pray for her, and for you. Is she going to receive chemo or radiation? Have the Oncologists informed you all of the "plan"?
Always "keep the faith", it is what will see you and her through this!


Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

I am also a nonsmoker with cancer. I eat right, exercise most days, don't smoke, and I have a great family history with no young folks (under 75) with cancer. The house doesn't have radon either, We tested for it. Nevertheless, I have been diagnosed with both breast cancer and lung cancer before age 50. I started paying a bit more attention to the fact that only 8 or 9 lung cancer patients out of 10 get cancer from smoking. I'm one of the 1 or 2 out of ten that also got it, and for me the reasons aren't known. The fact is that all cancer is genetic. It involves genes of the cells that have gone nuts. Tobacco products start the process in some folks, so does radon in others. But some cells in some folks malfunction for reasons we still don't understand. Cancer isn't a punishment for a bad habit. It's just a nasty disease and we all need a cure.

In the meantime, get to the best pulmonary oncologist you can get to and ask what they recommend. Can they use radiation therapy to stop a met from causing pain? Does she need assistance with breathing so she is not uncomfortable? Is there a treatment plan that will benefit her without causing undue side effects? If not, is there a palative care plan to stop pain and make the most of whatever time she has left on this earth? These are a few of the questions I would ask the doctors. There are many folks here that have been through chemo treatment and have benefitted greatly. But there are side effects to all medical treatment and not every treatment is for all patients. That choice has to be left up to the patient and doctors will give you what you ask for. It is rough to decide not to continue aggressive medical treatment and start palitive care. I don't know if that is where you are at from your letter. But I still remember when my grandmother in her 80's asked our family if it would be okay if she didn't have all the tests and treatment for an aneuresym in her stomach. Such things are treatable for sure with surgery and the doctor wanted to run tests to see if surgery was needed. But she had COPD bad enough that walking across the room was a chore (no, she didn't smoke either and boy was she, at 80, mad as a hornet to get that diagnosis! The doctor told her that she would have died by age 50 with her lungs if she had smoked and that made her feel a bit better. Guess I inherited her lungs!) She was worried that we wouldn't understand and think badly of her if she was not wanting treatment. But she figured she had lived a long enough life and continuing aggressive medical treatment would only continue the suffering in her life--expensive and uncomfortable suffering that she didn't want. She said she knew where she was going and thought it was time to stop with aggressive treatment. For her, life on the other side of death was better. We let her make the decision. Her final years were lived the way she wanted. She visited with her daughters and played cards at a family gathering the night before she died in her sleep. She was not in pain and though she told me she was sorry that she probably would never hold my firstborn (I was pregnant at the time), she was happy with her decision.

I'm still at the stage where I will choose aggressive treatment for myself. I see a pulmonologist for breathing problems. I take whatever meds doctors recommend and call nurses and doctors anytime I'm having problems. I try to avoid colds and take my flu shot without fail as soon as I can get it every fall. I check the internet for the latest happenings and drive across states to visit the best doctors I can get to. But I try not to forget the things my grandmother tried to teach me too.

Good luck with your decision making!

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