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Frank S., MA

Last year on November 2, my mom became ill when she came home from work. She felt dizzy, and parked her car crooked when she arrived home. My dad took her to the ER afraid she was showing stroke symptoms. They ran many tests that week, and found tumors in her lung that had spread to her brain. It was already Stage IV. She had brain surgery on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Another tumor became aggressive and they needed to operate on the brain again on that Saturday. The surgeries were successful. She then needed radiation for a month while in rehab. After a while, she began chemo. The chemo was definitely making her weaker, but it looked like it was working on her lung tumors. Then they found them coming back again in her brain last May. They were going to start her on a chemo pill that could attack both the brain and lung together. It was a long wait of three weeks for the insurance to cover it, and they had to pay around $1600 to get a month's worth. Then the weakness kept getting her, and she collapsed at home in my dad's arms. He called an ambulance, and my mom never came home again. She went to the hospital, and the doctors told her the cancer was too aggressive. The chemo side effects would kill her sooner than the cancer would. From the hospital, she entered a nursing home the day after her birthday on June 3. She had trouble feeding herself because her left side didn't work because of the brain tumor. Pain increased because of tumors throughout her body. They started her on a strong dose of morphine when it became evident death was near. My mom passed on July 21 very peacefully. You always wonder if there is more I should have done. Should I have pushed harder for the chemo pill to arrive quicker? Ultimately though it did not work for her because the side effects were too strong. I loved my mom's doctors. They were so kind and understanding. Because it was Stage IV, it was tough right from the beginning. I wish it was discovered two or three years prior. She had bronchitis often with a bad cough but was never tested for lung cancer. I love my mom and miss her so much. It's hard to believe that almost 3 months have gone by. I told her I loved her all the time, and I hope she knows how much I did. I had to let her know it was OK for her to go, and I just hope she realizes how difficult that was for me. She needed to end the pain and not fight any longer. She needed to be at peace, and I feel she is in a better place.

First Published: October 29, 2013

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