On Her Mother
Our family became acquainted with lung cancer when
my sister-in-law told us her mom, Susan, was diagnosed. It seemed everything happened so quickly. Then in December of 2010 my mom got diagnosed with small cell lung cancer too. For my brother and his family, it was a horrible replay. For me and mine, we had so much hope that mom would pull through this. But as we started to learn more, we realized a few things: the medicine hasn't changed much in 20 years; the options given to Susan were the same ones available for my mom; and this might have been preventable or caught at an earlier stage if a simple chest x-ray was part of a physical.
As the appointments and testing started, we knew that based on the metastasis she had 1 of 3 cancers: LUNG, MELANOMA, or BREAST. So we prayed for breast cancer knowing the odds were better, survival rates were higher, and treatment options were plentiful.
A few days later the results were in: not only did she have the cancer in her brain but it was lung cancer. The next 7 months were not easy for her but she never complained and was only ever concerned about the ones she loved. She stayed strong and fought like hell through everything.
I will never forget sitting with my mom, with her holding me as I cried saying, “No not you Mom!” My mom got all her checkups and fought and beat not only breast cancer but also stage III melanoma. She never had any symptoms that she thought meant anything at the time; she had to admit that she was sick even though she didn’t feel sick.
If one positive thing came from this it’s that we learned to rely on each other for the sake of Mom. We found strength in each other and grew stronger as a family. We made tough decisions along the way and always made sure they were the decisions mom wanted. When she finally decided the fight was no more, we called hospice. They got us everything we needed at home so mom could stay and be comfortable. Mom lost her battle to lung cancer on August 5th 2011. I beat myself up asking, “What if…” The answer is I don't know that anything would have changed the outcome. But what I do know is if I can help at least one family stop this before they fight the battle we did, then that is progress.
Her doctor, Jared Weiss, was one of the most caring doctors we have ever met. He prepared us but also encouraged us to never give up. When I asked him if I could get involved somehow, he gave me information on the organization and told me that when I was ready, they would love to have me help raise awareness.
My mom had an amazing way of fixing everything for everyone and I believe by raising money and awareness in her memory she will continue to fix things and help people! She loved the beach; the lighthouses, the sandpipers, the waves, and sitting at the edge of the beach with her book and her toes in the water. In her final months we went to Disney World. When she got diagnosed we I asked her what she wanted to do that she never got to do. She asked if she could take her grandkids to Disney World. And for those 10 days there was no radiation, no chemo, and no doctors. She just enjoyed her time with her family. For us we chose to focus on the good days and the great memories, even though the hard days are still there.
My mom lives on through us! Our hope is that enough people listen and understand that you don't have to be a smoker to get lung cancer and that this is the number one killer of women NOT breast cancer! Lung Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it strikes the young, the old, the rich, and the poor!
We will fight for all those we have lost to lung cancer; won’t you help us by joining the cause?