Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Mother Has Lung Cancer

The reason for my lack of posts. Been debating since April to post about my mother's diagnosis. She has Stage IV lung cancer. At first I was shocked and devastated. We didn't see it coming, it was like being hit with a mac truck. She never smoked in her entire life. She took good care of herself. Ate healthy, went to the gym. It was hard to comprehend and I was constantly asking the question, "Why her?".

So basically, if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. And I hate the barrage of questions that people ask one of them being, "Did she smoke?". As if she deserved what was coming to her.

I am trying to be hopeful but reading the statistics don't help. In April, the doctor said without treatment she has 6 months to live, with treatment 14 months. I quit my job, I dropped out of school to spend the remaining time with my mother and to help her fight for her life. In a panic, I moved up my wedding from July 2012 to May 2011. I planned my wedding in 2 weeks. And I didn't care about matching napkins, or centerpieces, even my dress! I just wanted my mom to be there. Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of your life marrying your best friend, but I wasn't the blissful bride knowing that this may be my last major life event my mom will attend. It was a bittersweet day but I'm glad my mom was well enough to participate and the look on her face while I was walking down the aisle was priceless. I'm glad I was able to give this gift to her. But the day was emotionally confusing for me.

She was in the hospital last week. It scared us. And the question in the back of my mind, will she come home? Luckily, she pulled through and did come home. We learned that her chemo is working and there is no progression of her cancer, just stable, no change. On the downside, the chemo is damaging her organs.

This is the thing about cancer. You are filled with uncertainty and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hope for the best, expect the worst.

Cancer sucks. It has terrorized my family. My carefree, innocent days are over. I get to witness my mom in pain and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I never thought it was humanly possible to produce so many tears. My life has changed forever.


Grrlscout said...

My father also had non-smokers lung cancer. I found myself nodding along with much of your post and wanting to give you a virtual hug. He never smoked, rarely drank, and though he was a bit overweight, was active most of his life.

My dad had the same prognosis given (6 months or 14 months). He lived another four years before having enough. I was flying over from England at regular intervals to visit him, wishing I could do more. It sounds like you've had some good news in your more recent post to this one, and I'm happy to hear it. I wish I could have spent more time with my dad, but it wasn't possible. He was also a very proud man, and he found it difficult to accept what was happening to him. You may not feel very lucky at the moment, but you actually are. Being able to spend time with your mother right now is such an incredible gift... :)

Anyway, found this blog a while back because I too am a California girl who's tangled up with a Northern Irish guy. He normally lives in England, as I do, but he's over there atm, and is likely to stay there for a while (no matter how much we both wish he could be here). Conor is from Kilkeel, and is now living in Enniskillen. I'm doing a programme in law @ Durham University, and am planning on doing a social policy programme @ Queens Belfast. Any advice you have about all things Norn Iron is more than welcome.

Flippin' Yank said...


I'm sorry about your father. It's comforting to hear from someone who has been there. All my friends and extended family have distance themselves for fear of not knowing what to say or do. You are right in reminding that I do have the gift of time with my mother and that I should take full advantage of it.

As for Northern Ireland advice, ask away. I don't know if I'm the best person as I didn't like living there but I'll try my best.

I'll make sure to add your blog to my blogroll so I can check for your latest posts.