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.
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