Janmarie_1's Message Board Messages

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We all grieve in our own way. Like you I thought I would fall apart when my mom died of Lung cancer on Nov 25. 2006, The next day life continued on and my sister and I thought this is weird this is not how we expected it to be. Now that I have a few months behind me I understand it better.

First I believe we are all spiritual beings having a human experience so my mom has just moved on to her next experience. Physically she is gone from my life but she lives on in a spiritual sense as she lives on inside of me, my siblings, my dad , her grandchildren and countless friends who's lives she touched.

My mom loved life  and would want everyone to continue to live life at its fullest, to not do so would be a dishonor to her.

I have worked in a hospital for over 25yrs so have even come to view the cancer as a gift. That may sound weird to some of you but my mom died knowing how much she ws loved and she had made peace with her death by the time she died. She died peacefully at home with her family and pets around her. Too many deaths happen in a cold hospital environment or with out loved ones around.Alot of deaths are sudden. I on the other hand have the comfort in knowing that I know what the last thing I said to my mom was. I have a friend that lost her mother to a sudden unexpected death and she is driven crazy by the " what is the last thing I said to my mom question" My mom survived stage IV NSCLC for 2.5 yrs and the cancer changed all our lifes as it put life into the proper perspective. We all know what is important in life and what is really the small stuff   and started living life as it was meant to be lived.We stopped taking each other for granted.

I hear people with cancer ask why me? or say this isn't fair. or how could God allow this?Now I know the answer to those. This is just life. Life is not fair and it never will be. Life is full of good, bad, joy, heartbreak,love, pain and it all just keeps cycling over and over.The only two givens in life are birth and death. No one escapes either. We will all die of something and cancer is just one of those somethings.God doesn't "allow" this rather this is how he designed life to be and we can not escape that no matter how hard we try.

We can choose to focus in our loss or I choose to focus on what I had and that was great mother as not everyone I know has been that lucky. I was blessed to have the mother I did and that makes me happy, yes I miss her alot everyday but she made me who I am and for that I am blessed. 

Yes life goes on and it is ok to laugh and smile and enjoy what life offers us even after the loss of a loved one. 


I think many people feel the way you do and that does not mean we did not love our loved one. Jan

Sorry about all my spelling errors in the above post but it is 3AM here and I really become dyslexic when I am so tired!  I would like to recommend a book to you called Final Gifts you should be able to find it in the grief. death and dying section of a good book store and everyone that is dealing with an endstage illness in a loved one should read it. Jan

My mom stage IV NSCLC adenocarcinoma with mets to the liver was one of the earlier people to benefit from Tarceva she started it when it first came on the market so the stories I posted about her gave alot of people hope and many asked to try it and are doing well . I have had lots of people I have met on various boards and various places later thank me for posting about my mom. The tarceva did away with my mom's actual lung tumor and it never came back,and  it shrank the liver mets for awhile. By doing so she had a great quality of life for well over a year and ahalf. The tarceva did not save her life in the end but she did survive her cancer 2.5 yrs. We will always be thankful for Tarceva as it did give her some great quality time that was very precious to us and to all that knew her.

Have everyone you know pray for your dad too, it may sound crazy but there have been studies done that show prayer does help. I will add him to my prayers. Enjoy the time with your dad and let him know how much you love him as you will never be sorry you did so.Jan

Hi, My mom had NCSLC stage IV adenocarcinoma. Her first line chemo was taxol and carboplatin. She got some shrinkage out of that but during a 2 month break from chemo the cancer started growing again so they put her on Tarceva. She got a very quick responce to tarceva and we did not have to wait unti the next CT to know it was  working as she was soon claiming she was breathing better then she had in years. Her CT supported the fact it was working. 

She did have liver mets  from day one and at first the Tarceva was working on them too but then after 7 months they started to  progress so it was back to chemo. The good news was the Tarceva did away with her actual lung tumor and it never came back. The bad news is it did not save her life as she died after a 2.5 yr battle but she probably died from a pulmonary embolism as she was not in liver failure and being her only active cancer was the mets in the liver that is how she would have died had the actual cancer killed her.

She did get the rash but hers was like teenage acne so not too bad and her skin got very dry, finger tips cracked, her hair lost from that prior chemo was very slow to grow in but she felt great and continued to do so until late 2006 when the chemo started making her extremely fatigued and kept dropping her blood counts. She considered the side effects from Tarceva a small price to pay for the fact Tarceva gave her her life back and she enjoyed all that time it gave her. Having lung cancer but no symptoms of any lung problems really made her battle much different then the average lung cancer patient.


I have known people that responded to just the Tarceva and some are on it still after 2 yrs doing well and are NED and I have known some that took it with Chemo for several rounds then took it alone and they too are doing well and some are NED. I myself believe that drugs like Tarceva and Avastin will one day replace chemo and it will be a thing of the past thank God as it can be very hard on your body.  Best of luck in what ever you decided to do. Jan


Soory to hear about your mom. I don't come to this board much but am having a slow night at work so decided to check it out. My mom died of NSCLC stage IV  Nov. 25th 2006 after a 2.5 yr battle with it. My mom was not only a mother to me but a best friend and at first I felt why her? Why is God allowing this to happen to yet another non smoker? I thought when she dies my life will fall apart, but you know what it didn't.Yes I miss my mom alot but my life goes on as I know she would want it too and I smile and laugh like I always did. There are times that do not last long when I will feel blue because of some memory being triggered ,but I am alive and this may sound odd to you being were you are in the journey at this time but in some ways I see the cancer as a gift. 

It was a gift in that it allowed us to say good bye to my mom. She died knowing how much everyone loved her and by the time she died she had made peace with the fact she was going to die. Not everyone gets to do that and not everyone gets to say good bye. I have worked in a hospital for 25 yrs and have been around alot of death much of it sudden unexpected.I find great comfort in the fact  that I know what the last thing I said to my mom was. She died very peacefully at home with her family around her . She was not really at the point where the cancer would have killed her yet but was very weak from chemo and decided to stop chemo and we think she had a pulmonary embolism ( blood clot to her lung) . Had that not happened she may have lived a month or a few months longer but I am not sad it happened this way as I said it was peaceful and being the only place the cancer was still active was in her liver I feel had the cancer caused her death it may not have been so peaceful so I am not angry she died sooner then she should have.

You mention being angry at God and I can't remember if it was you or another post that stated this is not fair. Well God is not to blame the truth is this is life. Life is not fair, it is full of good and bad, love and pain, and  the only givens are bith and death and we ALL experience both. How can you be mad at God when this is just a part of life? Another friend that is losing his wife to cancer said He is evnious of all the people having a good life. Well before the cancer he and hid wife were those people having the good life. And the people he refers to will all one day be where he is when life is not so good. It is all a cycle and we can not escape it and we all must die of something and cancer is just one of the" somethings".

I believe we are all spiritual, beings having a human experience and while my mom is not with me in a physical sense she is in a spiritual sense. She lives on inside of me, my siblings , my dad, and all her grandchildren, and in may other who's life she touched.

People handle grief differently but I know my mom would not want us sitting around crying all day as she loved life and would want us out there experiencing life to its fullest and to not be doing so would dishonor her life. Rather the focus on my loss I focus on the fact that I had a great mother. Just tonight a coworker told me how envious she was to listen to me talk about my mom and all the stuff we did together as she has never had that with her mother so see I was blessed so choose to focus on that.

I will pray for your mother and hope that you can find peace with what is happening . You sound like you need a hug so here is a BIG ((((((HUG))))))  Jan

I am sorry to hear about your dad. I have not been on this board for awhile so just saw your message. If your dad was loosing weight two years ago it was probably already late stage. The bad thing about lung cancer is most people do not have symptoms in the early stages.When it is caught in the early stages it is often caught because of an xray or CT done for other reasons. By the time there is weight loss it is usually stage III or more often ( too often) Stage IV and it is considered uncurable. Your dad still should have been offered treatment as most are offered pallitive treatment in the later stages.
I think this has to be the patients decision and when it is we owe it to them to accept it and support them in the decision. My mom learned she had NSCLC stage IV  with liver mets in July 2004. She did chemo then Tarceva ( great results there as it did away with her lung tumor but eventually the liver mets started to progress) then she did two more lines of chemo and eventually felt so fatigued all the time that in Oct 2006 she decided she had had enough that the chemo was going to kill her before the cancer did. So as much as she hated to give up she decided she could not live with the quality of life she had.  She died Nov 25th 2006 at home and yes she was right  the chemo probably did kill her as she probably died from a blood clot that traveled to her lung ( pulmonary embolism) and it was caused from her sitting all day.( due to the chemo caused fatigue) She was not in liver failure which is what would have happened had the cancer killed her. She was ready to die and had accepted it so in away the way it happened was a blessing as it was quick and liver failure would not have been so quick and would have meant alot of pain. I did not want her  to die and miss her a great deal but there was such a sense of relief in the way she died and in knowing that it was her decision to stop chemo and accept death. A few weeks before she died she told me that she loved all of us and did not want to leave us but knew it was time to do so and I think I find alot of comfort in her having told me that. To me it would have been sadder if she had wanted to continue fighting and her oncologist had told her sorry but there are no more treatments left we have tried then all as that would not have given her control over her destiny . Hope this helps you some as this is one tough road to find yourself on. JanMarie

Julie, I have not posted here in quite a long time but my mom was stage IV NSCLC with mets to the liver and started Tarceva in Jan 2005 after 4 rounds of Taxol and Carboplatin, The Tarceva totally did away with her lung tumor and it never came back. It did away with some of the liver mets and shrunk others but after about 7 months they started progressing.


My mom had a good experience with Tarceva as we knew within days that it was working as all her shortness of breath went away and she never had another respiratory issue. She did get a rash but hers was not worse then teenage acne and it did not itch, Her skin did get very dry and her finger tips cracked and bled and it did slow her hair growth ( she had lost her hair from the earlier chemo) . She considered this all a small price to pay for how great she was feeling again. My mom was 80 when we learned she had cancer in July 2004.She lived a normal life while on the Tarceva and felt better then she had in years.


I am sorry to say it did not save her life as in Nov. 2006 she died peacefully at home  after making the decison to stop all chemo as she feared the Taxotere and Gemzar she was on was going to kill her  before the cancer did. She may have been right as it wiped her out and all she could do was sit all day and I think she died from a pulmonary embolism as she was not in liver failure which is how we had all been expecting her to die since the only cancer that remained was in the liver. Anyhow Tarceva gave her some quality time which we will all be forever greatful  for and it made her journey quite different as she did not have any lung related symptoms  after the Tarceva wiped out the tumor.


I think most doctors still require you to do chemo before they will use Tarceva thou there may be a few that don't and like the previous post said it is expensive $3000.. a month but in my mom's case her HMO covered it. Good luck and God bless you. JanMarie

Is this Issel's clinc in Summerland Califoria? My mom too is stage IV NSCLC with mets to the liver. We found out she had cancer in June 2004 and she started treatment in July 2004. She has had 3 different lines of chemo and also did Tarceva. The Tarceva did away with her lung tumor and it has not come back. At first it worked well on the liver mets but then quit working so it was back to chemo. The chemo is no longer working on the liver mets and there may be bone mets now ( she just had a bone scan to find out)My mom is just worn out to the point of total exhaustion so has decided if she continued on the chemo would probably kill her first thus last week she decided to enter hospice care. The doctors had been unwilling to give her avastin because of her age and she has had too much chemo to qualify for the clinical trials of HKI 272. So that would leave one more chemo to try and she is just too weak. I live in Santa Barbara and had considered having her come up to Issel's clinic in Summerland as I feel some of the things they offer work as well as chemo for some people. I also believe that you have to support the immune system in order to beat cancer, My mom did not want to be away from her home so we never went to Issel's. I believe that Tarceva ( when you have cancer that responds to it) and avastin along with some chemo and nutrition are the best options.If she only has a met or two in the liver you also might want to check out cyberknife.( my mom had too many liver mets to qualify for cyberknife) I do not knock alternative treatments as I have met people that have done as well on them as some do on chemo. Best of luck to your wife. JanMarie
My 82 old mom is stage IV NSCLC ( mets to liver). She is currently a 26 month survivor and is stable at this point in time on Taxotere and Gemzar. While there is fatigue from the chemo she is still pretty active and even goes to work 2 mornings a week! She eats very well too. She was on Tarceva for 7 months and it totally did away with her lung tumor very quickly so all we have been dealing with are liver mets for the last 18 months and so far they have not impaired her liver function or caused any problems. Her worst time was the first 6 months then came the Tarceva and it gave her a quality life back. They say they can not cure stage IV lung cancer but with drugs like Tarceva, Avastin, hopefully soon the HKI 272 and procedures like cyberknife the possibility of being able to treat it like a chronic disease for many years is approaching. Better throw in finding doctor who are willing to treat stage IV aggressively in the equation too! Don't forget no one knows how long they have to live, I could drop dead before I finish this so your mom and my mom are really not that different then you,I or anyone else reading this. My mom's neighbor was broken hearted when she found out my mom had advanced lung cancer. Well last year the neighbor got sick and they learned she had advanced breast cancer and she died within 2 months.Her daughter told my mom a year ago I never dreamed I would be standing here talking to you and that my mom would be the one that has died. Everyone thought it would be my mom but it wasn't and my mom goes on.Life is indeed a mystery. Your mother will be in my prayers. JanMarie
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Lung Cancer

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