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wendysider
@wendysider

Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 17, 2017

My Mother’s Daughter - When Lung Cancer Hits Home

Posted by @wendysider, Oct 22, 2017

My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3A lung cancer on August 29th of this year. I am a Canadian, and while I don’t live in the same city as my parents, I have become their primary support person, their main spokesperson with doctors, and their researcher of the latest and best practices in treating lung cancer. I’m removed ever so slightly from the immediate fallout zone. The shock of the diagnosis was terrible, but once it sunk in, I became the person within our family who asks the questions. And, I continue to ask a lot of them.

I’ve met Mentor Linda personally, and with her amazing energy and persistence, I was able to bring my Mom (and Dad) to Mayo Rochester this month to seek a second opinion on both surgical opportunity and the planned chemo-radiation treatment proposed by local doctors. From the moment my parents and I walked into the atrium of the Gonda building, I felt that we were in an incredible place of healing and understanding. The doctors that we consulted with at Mayo have become team members with my Mom’s local doctors. They willingly and directly reach out to us when we have questions, and they remain available to us even though my mother’s wish is to undertake at least the preliminary stage of her cancer treatment at home.

There are many things that are beyond the control of anyone diagnosed with a serious illness. And, family members can feel particularly helpless. However, the peace of mind that is gained in seeking out a second opinion on the diagnosis can last a lifetime. I know, and my family know… we’ll always know, that we are doing everything that we can to provide my mother with the best possible outcome.

I feel blessed to be touched directly by Mayo. And, I know that there are many others, as witnessed by this forum, who seek answers to their questions and reassurance that their treatment approach is the best one possible for them. Sharing information and participating in dialogue around cancer offers a sense of control to all of us. At the end of each day, it’s really about knowing that everything that can be done, is being done.

REPLY

Hi @wendysider and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I’d like to introduce you to a few of the other members of the Lung Cancer group. Please meet @burrkay @lorinusbaum @shortshot80 @merilee @bestcare @wallyk, and, of course, you’ve already met @llwortman both in person and here on the forum. You can read more about everyone in this intro thread:

* Living with lung cancer – Introduce yourself & come say hi http://mayocl.in/2m0p4ZO

If you’re comfortable telling us, what treatments is your mom getting? Will she get her treatment only at Mayo or will some of the treatments be administered locally in Canada?

Wendy:
It was an honor and pleasure to assist you with the introduction to the Mayo Clinic Thorasic team in Rochester MN. It was also a great honor to meet you and your parents in person. You are doing an outstanding job and your support is remarkable. I hope that you are taking care of You! Colleen has given you some great connections.

I wish CONNECT lung cancer would have been available for me 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. With that being said, I understand
very well the shock of a cancer diagnosis; and I now also know that Mayo Clinic is doing remarkable research to give patients the best quality of life possible.

Your mother is a strong woman and I’m sure you have heard that half of the battle with disease is attitude. You and your mother and father have an amazingly positive attitude as you all fight this journey together. Cancer may not have known what it was dealing with when it paid a visit to your family?

I really want to commend you and your parents for so courageously coming to Mayo Clinic in light of the position Canadian patients are faced with when diagnosed with a disease like lung cancer. I hope that your experiences will enlighten and bridge the world of lung cancer and medicine especially with physicians and researchers in Canada and the USA.

Remember, I took the challenge to run a 10K race in every Canadian Providence to help change the face of lung cancer in Canada. So let me know when you are ready to work on this goal together? I will be running for you Mother with every breath I take.

I’m grateful that you took time to reach out to Connect! I appreciate your kind words and your courage to share your experience. You have a special connection here especially knowing that Colleen is Canadian as well. Please give our best to your parents, and let them know we are thinking them daily.

Big hug!
Linda & Jerry, too

@colleenyoung

Hi @wendysider and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I’d like to introduce you to a few of the other members of the Lung Cancer group. Please meet @burrkay @lorinusbaum @shortshot80 @merilee @bestcare @wallyk, and, of course, you’ve already met @llwortman both in person and here on the forum. You can read more about everyone in this intro thread:

* Living with lung cancer – Introduce yourself & come say hi http://mayocl.in/2m0p4ZO

If you’re comfortable telling us, what treatments is your mom getting? Will she get her treatment only at Mayo or will some of the treatments be administered locally in Canada?

Jump to this post

Hi @colleenyoung – Thank-you for the welcome. I’ve been meaning to get in touch, again with the encouragement of @llwortman. What a bright light she is to all who battle serious health challenges… and she and her husband have become wonderful new friends to our family.

To answer your question about my Mother’s present treatment regimen:

With confirmation from the Mayo thoracic surgeon that we met with that my Mom is not a surgical candidate, she returned home to start her chemo-radiation program. The doc at Mayo will review repeat-imaging taken through the course of her treatment to determine whether there’s any sort of surgical opportunity afterwards. I understand that the window for surgery post-treatment is quite narrow which means the assessment will fall into a tight timeline at the 4 week mark after radiation concludes.

She is starting week 2 of concurrent treatment today. It’s chemo and radiation today, and daily radiation through the rest of the week. She has 6 cycles of this, and then optional chemo in weeks 9 and 12.

My mother’s case is challenging because it’s ‘locally-advanced’ in the area of her upper right lung. Mayo is currently undertaking genomic and immuno ‘checkpoint inhibitor’ testing of biopsy sample to look for targetable mutations or proteins such as PD-L1. The Mayo medical oncologist who we met with believes that there is a reasonable shot in finding a mutation, as my Mom has a ‘remote smoking history… she quit 40 years ago.

So, we all await the results of the testing and hope that it will offer another avenue of treatment approach down the road. I’d be interested in hearing from others who have received targeted drug therapies. It certainly seems to be a very promising area of treatment. In fact, there is a paradigm shift underway between the traditional standard first-line IV chemo approach and new ‘smart’ oral drugs that seek out target-positive tumour sites. This is really exciting stuff.

@llwortman

Wendy:
It was an honor and pleasure to assist you with the introduction to the Mayo Clinic Thorasic team in Rochester MN. It was also a great honor to meet you and your parents in person. You are doing an outstanding job and your support is remarkable. I hope that you are taking care of You! Colleen has given you some great connections.

I wish CONNECT lung cancer would have been available for me 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. With that being said, I understand
very well the shock of a cancer diagnosis; and I now also know that Mayo Clinic is doing remarkable research to give patients the best quality of life possible.

Your mother is a strong woman and I’m sure you have heard that half of the battle with disease is attitude. You and your mother and father have an amazingly positive attitude as you all fight this journey together. Cancer may not have known what it was dealing with when it paid a visit to your family?

I really want to commend you and your parents for so courageously coming to Mayo Clinic in light of the position Canadian patients are faced with when diagnosed with a disease like lung cancer. I hope that your experiences will enlighten and bridge the world of lung cancer and medicine especially with physicians and researchers in Canada and the USA.

Remember, I took the challenge to run a 10K race in every Canadian Providence to help change the face of lung cancer in Canada. So let me know when you are ready to work on this goal together? I will be running for you Mother with every breath I take.

I’m grateful that you took time to reach out to Connect! I appreciate your kind words and your courage to share your experience. You have a special connection here especially knowing that Colleen is Canadian as well. Please give our best to your parents, and let them know we are thinking them daily.

Big hug!
Linda & Jerry, too

Jump to this post

Hi Linda – I feel the hugs and I’ll pass one on to my Mom today.

I think that your push to increase lung cancer awareness has been remarkable. Why do we hear so little about it when it takes more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined? It must be stigma, as you’ve explained.

There’s huge opportunity to bring ‘Running Lungs’ events to more centres, and to Canadian cities as well. I wish that I could be at Mayo Rochester on November 2nd. There’s an amazing day of events planned.

@llwortman

Wendy:
It was an honor and pleasure to assist you with the introduction to the Mayo Clinic Thorasic team in Rochester MN. It was also a great honor to meet you and your parents in person. You are doing an outstanding job and your support is remarkable. I hope that you are taking care of You! Colleen has given you some great connections.

I wish CONNECT lung cancer would have been available for me 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. With that being said, I understand
very well the shock of a cancer diagnosis; and I now also know that Mayo Clinic is doing remarkable research to give patients the best quality of life possible.

Your mother is a strong woman and I’m sure you have heard that half of the battle with disease is attitude. You and your mother and father have an amazingly positive attitude as you all fight this journey together. Cancer may not have known what it was dealing with when it paid a visit to your family?

I really want to commend you and your parents for so courageously coming to Mayo Clinic in light of the position Canadian patients are faced with when diagnosed with a disease like lung cancer. I hope that your experiences will enlighten and bridge the world of lung cancer and medicine especially with physicians and researchers in Canada and the USA.

Remember, I took the challenge to run a 10K race in every Canadian Providence to help change the face of lung cancer in Canada. So let me know when you are ready to work on this goal together? I will be running for you Mother with every breath I take.

I’m grateful that you took time to reach out to Connect! I appreciate your kind words and your courage to share your experience. You have a special connection here especially knowing that Colleen is Canadian as well. Please give our best to your parents, and let them know we are thinking them daily.

Big hug!
Linda & Jerry, too

Jump to this post

Wendy:
I am extremely grateful to you fir your understanding and reply. I personally have experienced first hand the stigma (even though I never smoked) associated with lung cancer the disease.
If I remember correctly your experience with doctors at Mayo Clinic deepened your understanding about this disease
and you clearly understand why I am
committed to changing the face of lung cancer so people will support research.

Again I am honored to know you and your Mother and Father. So, let’s stay Connected. Know we are here for you, anytime.

Take care,
Linda

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