The C Word

I haven’t posted anything on my blog about the exclusive club my family  suddenly found themselves new members of, but after a few weeks of dealing with it, I’ve finally been given permission to talk about it, here.

My mother was recently diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer. The news was both shocking and devastating, needless to say.

Every single one of us, my mom, my sister, my husband, my kids, we were completely blindsided by this news and it took us a few weeks just to find our sea legs. Now, at least, we have our life jackets on and know where the exits are. But, when we first were told, it was like we were stumbling along in a fog–I found that I couldn’t stop crying. And, I wasn’t even the one having to personally deal with the disease.

I can only imagine how my mother felt….

I certainly can’t say that we’re out of the storm–her chemo treatments will last 4-6 months, as far as we can tell right now–but now that my mother has a type and name for her cancer, and because she’s already been through her first round of chemo, it does feel, at this moment, more manageable.

At least for me.

I can’t speak for my mom, obviously, or even for my sister, because we are all dealing with this in our own personal ways.  And, again, I can’t imagine how my mother feels walking through this.  Manageable would probably not be the word she would choose.

I’ve learned a great deal over the last few weeks.

Things, like:

1. small-cell lung cancer is quite aggressive and can spread rapidly

2. small-cell (lung) cancer supposedly responds quite favorably to chemotherapy (thank the Lord!)

3. the anti-nausea medications have improved very dramatically over the last few years and seem to work quite well

4. there’s a very real side effect caused by chemotherapy, called chemo brain

5. chemo brain is a mental cloudiness that can happen before, during and after chemo (Google it–it’s interesting)

6. even if lung cancer spreads to the liver, or brain, or bones, or wherever, it is still considered lung cancer; in other words, wherever the cancer is first discovered, that is the type a person has

7. cancer, whether you have it, or a loved one has it, is no fun

8. cancer is life-changing

9. those are stupid and obvious statements, but true

10. the internet is a great place for research, but it is also overwhelming and many times wrong

11. I despise cancer

12. my mother is amazingly strong

13. so is the human body

14. I am now praying for scientists and doctors who do research on diseases, like cancer

15. nurses are also amazing

16. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is a very concentrated city of doctors, nurses, and incredible researchers

17. I have dear friends, upon whom I can call

18. when you lose your hair from the effects of the chemo, you lose ALL your hair…everywhere.

19. 7-10 days after the actual chemo treatment the body’s immune system weakens, for a few days, so a chemo patient must be mindful of germs and infection

20.fever after a chemo treatment can mean a trip to the ER

21. once you talk to others about what you are going through, it’s mind-boggling how many people have been or are being effected by cancer

22.you can learn a lot from those who have walked this path before

23. my mom is a scrapper

24.suddenly some things don’t seem quite as important as they did before the C word entered my life

24. telling your mom you love her becomes even easier when she has cancer

25. i love my mother

E.

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23 comments

  1. Sally

    Oh, Elizabeth, you made me cry. I can’t imagine this path because we have not walked it (yet…. based upon statistics) in our family but yours is now in our prayers. Thanks for sharing.

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      I pray you never have to walk it!
      Thank you for you prayers, friend. They continue to be coveted.

  2. Janie

    E, I’m so sorry you guys are going through this. What a hard thing. I was just diagnosed with thyroid cancer yesterday and am definitely still in the What? stage. We’ll get it figured out…

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      Oh, Janie,
      Please keep me posted on what you find out. I will definitely be praying for you…

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      I know you do, Donna.
      There’s always room for hope. Always.
      I’ll pray for you, if you’ll pray for me! 🙂

  3. Beverly Merriman

    Elizabeth,
    So sorry you and your family are having to go through this. We are keeping her in our prayers. As hard as this was for you to share, I found this very interesting and knowledgable. I think maybe we all need to see this sometimes through other people’s eyes to remind us just how precious life is and how thankful we are. Let me know if I can be of any help.

  4. Paul Morris

    Wow, I know what you are going though. Seth was diagnose at 3. It felt like my heart was being torn out. You learn alot about yourself and others during these times. I learned Heather is a stronger person than I. God was so good to us. The support from friends and family. At first all you want to do is go home and shut the door, but on the other hand the more people we had praying for Seth, the better I felt. These valleys are hard to go through, but you know God will not put us through anything we can’t handle. These times make us rely on him more, and make us better people. Know that we will be praying for you, your Mom, and the rest of your family. I know your mom is a strong person.

    P.S. Seth has been clear for 5-6 years. God has really blessed us.

    Love in Christ,
    Paul

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      Paul, your words of encouragement and understanding mean so very much to me. I remember praying for Seth and I’m so grateful to God that he is clean and clear…Praise God! You, Heather, and your entire family is a beautiful example of being faithful through the struggles of life.
      You and your family will always hold a part of my heart.
      E.

  5. Launda

    Elizabeth,

    My memories of your mother all center around the library. She is a dynamo of a woman who I thought knew everthing (in a good way, she ran the library for goodness sake!) I can see her facing this new challenge head-on with a bucket load of determination. Much love and prayers coming all of your way!

    Launda

  6. Laura Sneed

    E ~ Please don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything. We can talk on the phone and/or I can come to your house ~ whatever you need.
    Love you,
    L.

  7. Robin

    Elizabeth,

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hate Cancer too… and your mama is a scrapper..

    LOVE YOU!!

    ME

  8. hgjules

    Hello Elizabeth,

    Sending love across the pond to you and your family, especially your Mom.

    I seem to have happened upon your blog as I was searching for fellow thyroid cancer sufferers (I started one of those unforeseen journeys this year too) and I guess it picked up on the c word.

    Will continue to follow you if that’s ok.

    Jules

    • Elizabeth Simmons

      Jules,
      I appreciate the note! I pray for the very best outcome for your journey…
      And, yes, I’m not the most consistent in blogging, but I have fun with it. I’d love to have you visit again!
      God bless you,
      E.

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