I spoke to my mom on Wednesday and found out more about the lung cancer. It's Stage 3BT4 (you can follow exactly what that is here). It's basically advanced lung cancer with tumors. Here's a breakdown of her specific type:
Definition of Stage 3B Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Stage 3B lung cancer is defined as a tumor of any size that has spread to distant lymph nodes, has invaded other structures in the chest (such as the heart or esophagus), or has a malignant pleural effusion (fluid build-up containing cancer cells between the layers lining the lungs).
T4 – The tumor is any size, but is located in the airway, or has invaded local structures such as the heart, or the esophagus. A tumor is also considered T4 if cancer cells are present in the space between the layers lining the lungs (malignant pleural effusion).
I spoke with her on the phone last night and she started coughing. I was immediately reminded of Laura and listening to her cough after being diagnosed, and subsequently watching her die. Mom will meet with her oncologist on Tuesday (I'm planning to be there too) to find out specific treatment options and what he recommends. Based on the online article, her life expectancy - with treatment - is about 13 months. Based on listening to my mom cough, listening to her describe what her x-rays looked like and everything else, I suspect 13 months is a long-shot. I know that probably sounds morbid, and I hope I'm wrong, but I do have really good gut instincts. I will do my best to halt my prognostications until after meeting with the doctor on Tuesday, though. Ugh. This blows.
While I know people can and have developed lung cancer without ever smoking - my mom has smoked for many years. Her lung cancer is a result of smoking. People, please quit smoking.
Here are some links:
American Cancer Society
American Lung Association - Tips on quitting smoking
Oh, by the way, my divorce was finalized on Wednesday too. It's sad (because no one enters into a marriage hoping it will end), but it's something that has needed to be done for a long time. We split in 2007 - so it's been quite a while. We've remained kind and cordial to each other and suspect we will remain so.