My Mom is Stopping Chemo

I got a call from Dad this afternoon. My mom has decided to stop her chemotherapy treatments. Hospice is showing up tomorrow to start helping out and make things easier for her.

Mom was diagnosed a few months ago with lung cancer. The tumor was pretty small, and they thought chemo might take care of it. She has some other respiratory problems caused by 50 years of Lucky Strikes and catching a lung full of solvents 15 or so years ago; so surgery and/or radiation were not an option.

Mom responded well to the initial chemo treatment and felt better than she had in quite a while. The second treatment left her tired but okay. After that one, the doctors noted that the tumor had stopped growing. Treatment three put her in the emergency room for a night. After that she went on home oxygen. Treatment four, last week, put her in the hospital for four days. She’s coming home tomorrow.

Mom decided to stop chemo because it’s taking too great a toll on her and she’s afraid it would end up killing her anyway. She discussed it with her doctors and with Dad, and they all agreed, not that it was anyone’s decision to make but hers.

I’m not looking for hugs or prayers or anything of the kind. I just needed to vent a bit. I am, of course, upset and (if any of you knew me in the flesh you’d be stunned at this admission) scared, but Mom has always lived according to her own terms, and I fully support her right to die by the same rules. I’m going to give her and Dad a few weeks to adjust to having hospice come in and then take a trip home to see her, knowing full well it will probably be the last time we get to talk face to face.

I would like to add this tag, though: The American Tobacco Co. is not responsible for my mom’s condition. She contributed to her own illness. I’m not mad at her about that, but it’s the truth. I tried to quit smoking when she was diagnosed, but fell off the wagon and am nearly back up to my old levels. Now, though, I’m re-inspired to quit, and I would urge any of my fellow dopers who are still smoking to quit as soon as you possibly can. I don’t want to see any of your loved ones making a post like this.

My wife died in May from lung cancer. She went through the same ups and downs as your mom and finally made the same decision your mom did. I was grateful to have the extra time chemo and radiation gave her but it was a long, hard time for everyone. Your mom needs your support but don’t forget about your dad. He may need you as much if not more than your mom. Good luck in the coming weeks and make the most of the time you have left together.

wow, I understand why you’re scared. But there is always hope. My grandmother had breast cancer back in the mid 80’s. Had a mastechtomy and chemo and all that jazz. But the same thing happened she up and decided OK I’m going to die, no more medicine or treatments ever. She stopped and has now lived 15 years after that. I can’t tell you how much trouble we had getting her to visit the doctor a couple of years ago. Her arm would swell up with gout and I’ll say you gotta go see the doctor, and she’d always reply that doctors are for sick people. sutbborn stubborn. I know breast cancer and lung cancer are different, plus I don’t know too much about cancer but you really never know.

FallenAngel, please accept my sympathy. I’m a smoker with mild (so far) emphysema and am taking Zyban. (Again.) Whenever I hear something like this from a smoker’s loved one, it helps.

Please don’t take this wrong, but you said you were going to wait a few weeks before seeing your mom. I assume you’re in close touch with your dad, who’s in close contact with your mom’s doctors, so you know the prognosis. But are you sure you need to wait that long?

You have my sympathy.

My mother’s cancer recurred after her being 20 years cancer-free. The diagnosis wasn’t good but at first she fought it very aggressively. After a bout with chemo nearly killed her, she decided to manage the cancer instead. She had several good months that she probably wouldn’t have had if she’d continue to fight it.

Good luck with the quitting efforts, Auntie, and thanks to you (and the other posters, of course) for the thoughts and well-wishes.

The delay is that Mom and Dad are in Ohio and I’m in Arizona. I’m in close touch with both of them on a regular basis; so the month between now and then really isn’t so bad. Also, it makes the airfare a touch more affordable, and since I may (although it’s unlikely) have to make a couple more trips home for “false alarms”, which her doctor told me to expect when I talked to him after posting this, that will be a help.

Thanks again.

All my sympathies, FallenAngel.

You are confronting a lot of things at once. I don’t know if you’ve ever lost anyone you loved before, but it’s definitely one of life’s large experiences. I wish you all the best in dealing with it, and I hope you and your family get the most out of your last months together with your mother.

As for the smoking, I did the same thing you did… my much-older sister, who, like my entire family, smoked, had a stroke several years ago, and I was immediately scared into trying to quit. It didn’t work. My sister had another stroke 6 months later and died shortly thereafter. The Hospice people were fantastic, and we were all with her when she died. It was, in certain respects, a really great experience.

Anyway, back to the smoking.

I smoked 2 packs a day for 26 years.

I finally quit last September. I know, absolutely, that I will never smoke again. I am completely cured. I did not do it using Zyban (which gave me a horrible case of hives) and I did not do it using the patch or gum. I did it with this book, and I swear to you, all discomfort with quitting was virtually over in 3 days.

This book saved my life:

You can only get it on, but it’s worth the extra shipping and hassle. Read the reviews.

Good luck.


My sympathies to you, FallenAngel, and your dear family. I wish there was something more I could say that could take away the pain, the fear, or otherwise provide comfort. Your family is in my thoughts, and as Stoid says: Good Luck!