Mom has Extensive Stage Lung Cancer and I live 2 states away

My mom has just been diagnosed with extensive stage small cell lung cancer that has metastasized to her lymph nodes and liver. She begins her first round of chemo on May 2nd. I just read that the prognosis for this stage of small cell lung cancer is 6 month to a year on chemo. I currently live in North Carolina and she lives in West Virginia. I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of information and the prospect that my best friend could only have such a short time left. I don't know how to care for her being so far away, but me moving to her or her moving closer to me is not possible right now. Her insurance is state Medicaid and her home is in WV and she wouldn't want me to give up my career.

I don't know how I feel minute to minute - one second I'm fine, the next I'm hopeful, the next I can't stop imagining her funeral and sobbing uncontrollably. I keep telling myself that this must be normal - but I don't feel normal! When I feel okay and I am just doing normal things, I feel guilty and when I am sobbing and unable to function, I feel ridiculous. I constantly feel hopeless inside even though I am trying to be strong for her on the outside. I don't know what I am looking for through this community board, whether it is support - or just a place to be honest about my feelings where she won't read it?? Either way, I thought I would give it a try.


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  • ncw515ncw515 Community Member
    I'm sorry to hear about your mom. I have non small cell lung cancer w/ mets to the brain at 27. I know they are different, Small cell is way more aggressive, but I figured I could connect on some things. I'm going through chemo right now and out of work because of it.

    Don't feel ridiculous. Believe it or not, your feelings are completely normal. I question my feelings with it every day...don't be afraid to talk to your PCP about it. You're not weak, you have to deal with the harsh reality of what is going on. Being brave doesn't mean hiding your emotions. Your mom needs you to be brave for her. And that may mean just talking about things that aren't cancer related. Read the same book, have a movie night (where you watch the same movie while on the phone with each other), etc.

    My number one suggestion-- DON'T GOOGLE STUFF!! It's easier said than done, but that was the first thing I was told. She can seek second opinions and all of that, but the internet is scary. My oncologists have said that the internet is the worst thing to happen to internet.

    My mom is my best friend too. I can't imagine losing her or watching her go through this. I know that you wish you could take this away and do it for her--but it's her battle... She is feeling the same things about herself that you feel. She's worried about missing out on the future and about leaving you behind.

    The reason your mom doesn't want you to quit your job is 1) she loves you (and believe it or not knows whats best), 2) knows that you need to live your life too and would hate herself if she took that away from you, 3) your mom needs emotional support. FaceTime, send cards/daily emails to brighten her day. It's more the little things that count...

    I hope this information helps. If it doesn't--I apologize. If needed I can provide my email and I would gladly talk with both you or your mom.
  • Hi, my daughter has stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer, is only 34 and has a beautiful 2 year old son. I'm with you...I completely go with all the same range of emotions. Even though the prognosis is not good for her, reading books like 'Radical Remission' make me hopeful that she could be one of the lucky patients who can turn this around. There are nine things in the book that the author says people try...not just one of them but maybe all of them and more. It sucks when I ask the doctor about any non medical treatment and she says we shouldn't muddy the waters. I say muddy the damn waters and try everything possible. Thanks for your feelings, it helps. I'm so desperate for her to survive this and it's so hard being 2500 miles away from her. I'm only ok about 3 days a week.