My experience with lung cancer
My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer about 4 1/2 years ago. I was 29 years old at the time, newly married, and living 10 hours away from my parents. I still remember the whole conversation- they had called my husband first so that he would come home from work and be with me when they told me. Well, my husband was out of the office, but he knew something was wrong (although we would've never dreamed it was cancer)-- he called me and we conference- called my parents. They thought we were actually together because they could hear both our voices and they told me. Needless to say, my husband rushed home. 3 days later we got her prognosis and more information about the cancer- I literally dropped to the floor on my knees. I remember it like it was yesterday.
So, the last 4 1/2 years have been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Luckily, I live only an hour away from one of the best hospitals in the world- Johns Hopkins. My mom has had all her surgeries and lots of treatments done there, staying with me for months on end as she recuperates. I've been her primary caregiver during those times and also am the "manager" of her care 24/7. When my mom is home (which is most of the time now), my dad is her primary caregiver. He's doing most of the caregiving these days. But in my "manager" capacity, I oversee my mom's overall care- keeping up with her scans, keeping an eye on the overall picture and trying to be proactive about treatments, setting up therapy and rehab for her, communicating with her drs. at Hopkins, etc. My dad and I are a good team. I don't believe any 1 person can do this all by themselves. It's just too much.
Anyway, my mom has already lived longer than statistics say she should have. She is a survivor. But the cancer, particularly the brain tumors, have wreaked havoc. She is legally blind, has limited short-term memory, mild dementia, aphasia, and severe cognitive and processing difficulties. She's in a wheelchair due to balance problems and severe myopathy from long-term steroid use to control swelling in her brain from radionecrosis. But she's still here, and some days are great! She has been through more than is even imaginable. We joke that she's like a Timex- "she takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'"!
I try to be a lung cancer advocate every day. My mother is literally battling this disease. My grandfather died from lung cancer as well. I just wish the stigma around lung cancer would change and that no one else would have to suffer like my mom.