Terminal cancer

Hi everyone,

I wrote a post here a few days ago asking for advice about my mum's lung cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, we were informed by the oncologist yesterday that it's terminal and she has been given just a year or two to live even with chemo. This was a huge huge shock because all the news we had had so far seemed like good news - the tumour was 4.4cm (stage 1 sized) and it hadn't spread to the rest of her body. My mum is only 49. The oncologist said that because the tumour is in her lymph nodes, there's nothing that can be done. She has having chemo anyway in an attempt to slow the cancer down.

I'm appalled that myself and my family were lead to believe that everything was going to be okay because they knew about the size and location of the tumour weeks ago after her tests and only yesterday were we given the prognosis. My mum went to her GP later in the day who then told her to ignore the oncologist because they're all overly dramatic. I find this both unprofessional and slanderous but hopeful too. I believe the one to two years estimation comes from averages and lung cancer is usually most prominent between ages 60-80.

However, I'm also worried because my mum has a drinking problem and I know that this could interfere with the chemo. The oncologist told her she can have a drink but she shouldn't over do it but my mum is an alcoholic in denial and doesn't believe that getting drunk every night is a problem.

Thanks for listening


24 Replies

  • Good Morning Pearle, OMG! How dreadful. This is awful for your Mum, you and your family. How does that work - the consultant is overly dramatic?! How unprofessional. I couldnt read your post and disappear without wishing you and your family the very best and sending you lots of love. The only thing I could suggest is that you ring the BLF helpline and ask their advise. Perhaps it is time to ask for a second opinion. Take good care, TAD xxx

  • I'm glad you agree, they shouldn't be undermining each other like that. Thank you so much for your support. We want to do all we can to help my mum. She starts chemo in a couple of weeks so we want to make her as comfortable as we can. Perhaps you're right, there's no harm in a second opinion xxx

  • Hi sweetie, I am so sorry for your mum, you and family. What a horrible situation. I agree maybe time for second opinion- sorry I can't give any advice, but wish your mum and you all the very very best. Remember miracles do happen....Hugs and kindest thoughtsxx

  • Hi Jenss, thank you so much for the support. It is horrible and strange how life can change so quickly. It really teaches you not to take things for granted. xx

  • Hi Pearle and so sorry with what you and your Mum are going through - def ring BLF help line for advice xxxx

  • Thank you! xxx

  • I'm not an expert but I believe that if your mum follows these daily steps she may give herself a better chance, if not more quality time: 1. Quit drinking as the liver will become stronger in filtering the blood and help boost the immune system to help in fighting cancer cells. 2. Light exercise everyday that increases breathing, this will oxygenate the body better and help slow the cancer growth 3. Blast with nutrient supplements morning, daytime and evening. Generally the more expensive ones are better. Particular concentrate on Vit D, Vit B, iron, magnesium and zinc. 4. Fresh food and organic. Google all anti-oxident foods and foods that help fight cancer. 5. Cut out eating crap like sugar, high glysemic, processed foods. Hope this helps!

  • Hi MightyS thank you that's really great practical advice! I'll be sure to pass it on. My mum is being given steroid and vitamin injections this week but she isn't eating well with the stress of it all. The doctor advised to eat little but often.

  • Hello Pearle - I so feel your pain and worry. What with the shock, and the worry of it all, you must be tearing your hair out! It will be difficult for your Mum to give up drinking (I was married to an alcoholic and have lived the nightmare) One thing I would advise is to leave it up to your Mum about her drinking - nagging, pleading and talking about it won't help. It won't help you and it won't help her. What you need to do is to try and take care of yourself, so that you can be there for your Mum. If you get so worried, anxious, full of dread, you will be no help to yourself or your Mum. Please don't think I am lecturing you - I know what it's like to take care of someone you love who is very ill. Wish I knew then what I know now..... it is dreadful that you have had such confusing diagnoses.....do try and speak to a BLF nurse - it won't do you any harm. I will be watching out for you on here, and I wish you all the very best. :)

  • Hi Louisiana, thank you so much for your support and sympathy. I didn't feel lectured at all! I will take what you say about her drinking into account. You are right because I have already tried for years to encourage her to stop. She takes pleasure in it and it almost seems harsh to take that away considering everything she is going through. I think it's going to be very difficult to be strong but I have to try. Family and friends and even strangers have rallied around to show their support though, I think it means the world to her.

  • Yes, that will be very comforting to her....and to you too. Don't forget to think of yourself as well, as you are carrying a lot of worry and concern......your Mum is lucky to have you and her friends. do know you can come on this site and say whatever you like - that will help you release some of your tension ....don't be shy ! :) I send you lots and lots of good wishes. :)

  • Sorry to hear your sad news, I can't add to the advice that has already been given but I do hope you can get a second opinion. Lots of hugs xx

  • Hi Astrel. Thank you! I'm not sure how you go about getting a second opinion but there seems to be a general consensus. xx

  • Pearle I'm so sorry for you and your Mum - maybe your doc has the same attitude as my old one used to have; when a consultant gave my late husband "a year, two at best" he was quite angry and adamant that you can't put a time on anyone's life. He was right in that my old treasure lasted for eight years, albeit with heart failure/diabetes etc, not cancer. Go with the flow and remember that this is your Mum's life and she has the right to decide how to spend what could be the last part of it in her own way. I grieve for you but you will be given strength to bear everything. Visit us often - there's always someone here to listen.

  • Hi so grateful for your support, thank you

  • Has she tried AA. I joined in 1977 and stayed sober since and my drinking took me to a mental Hospital in the Midlands. Pity I did not give up the smoking at the same time because where the booze failed the fags have got me!! Plus working in a very dusty environment for many years.

  • Hi no she hasn't. Unfortunately, she doesn't believe she has a problem. Hopefully the chemo will prevent her from wanting to drink. All we can do is take each day as it comes and be there to offer support and encouragement.

  • Something is bound to get us hallentine47 - I hope you've kicked the smokes now though, if not why not? Perle's mum has enough to contend with as it is - if it's a choice between booze and chemo I know which one I'd opt for in her situation. Just saying.

  • I was diagnosed with COPD 10 years ago and immediately stopped smoking but I had been slowly cutting down for over a year fro 60 a day and a pipe and the odd cigar!!! You are probably right about the booze. Its a bit late perhaps. I am ending lots of love and healing thoughts.

  • Hi Pearle sorry to read your familly problem love, When I first had cancer I also thought the worst, if mum can lay off the booze, as I also was a heavy drinker but have not had a drop now for seven years and I reakon like others have said it helps with the chemo etc and also if possible and I know it will be hard can you all try and be positive as there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For instance Pearle I was not aware of a procedure they carried out on me in January called RTA (you can look it up) where they went in and burnt the tumours, there are new things happening all the time. Speak again you seem a strong person x

  • Hi Holly thank you for your kind message. Well done on quitting drinking, such an achievement! I am definitely going to act positive, at least around my mum. I believe she can fight this. Many people have told me on here that they were given 12 months and are still here after 4 years.

    Thank you for the info about RTA! I'm actually collecting as much information as I can at the moment to pass it on to my mum so she knows all of the options available to her.


  • To be fair to the Oncologist, the lymph nodes may not have been affected at the time of the original diagnosis. The Oncologist is used to seeing worst case scenarios, so would be reluctant to give false hope.

    The GP was trying to make your Mum feel better. When we are vulnerable and frightened, everything is magnified.

    Personally, I would want to make the most of the time left, rather than submit to chemotherapy. I would want to do something special with my family, like a weekend away. Better a shorter time with happy memories for my family than drawing things out with chemotherapy.

    The final choice is with your Mum. I would suggest you find out as much as possible about the possible side effects of chemotherapy, also the amount of benefit to be gained. Quality of life and the type of palliative care available are very important questions to ask.

    Sending prayers for you and your family xxx

  • Perhaps but scans revealed the cancer hadn't spread fairly early on in all this. My mum started her chemotherapy almost a week ago and so far, she'd doing great. No side effects that I know of. Thank you for the support xxx

  • I can understand how angry and frustrated you feel about the delay in a full diagnosis. When are Oncologists going to act more quickly?. Perhaps if you have time to write to your MP an investigation will be done.

    I sincerely hope your Mum is responding to the chemotherapy and that you have more time together.

    Have you been able to see anyone about palliative care in advance? It may be easier to do so sooner rather than later. It really can make a difference.

    With love Christine xxx

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