As many of you are aware our lovely mother was diagnosed with non small lung cancer in July 2018. She had never smoked nor had any risk factors for lung cancer, the cause until this day is unknown. Despite various different chemotherapy treatments, her cancer continued to spread from her lung and was eventually in her brain and bones.
After her diagnosis mum started her first block of chemotherapy weekly for 12 weeks with no side effects, you probably wouldn't have even known she was sick (and apart from us and dad, no one knew about her cancer as she did not want to be a burden on anyone). In December 2018, the scan results were pretty good, the lung tumour had shrunk and we were told that the next step would be to operate and aim for a cure. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, scans before a surgery could be planned, showed a possible spread to her bones (in the sacrum area). After a painful biopsy of the bone, it was confirmed that cancer had spread and was incurable. The scan also spotted a deposit of cancer in her left shoulder bone, which caused her immense pain.
In January 2019, mum was due to start a new chemotherapy and immunotherapy regime just to extend her life, but again we had another complication. She suffered a stroke, we were told that the MRI which diagnosed the stroke also showed a small deposit in the brain but that was likely to be a very slow growing, non cancerous tumour. Luckily she made an almost complete recovery from the stroke after a week and in March 2019 she started the next regime of immunotherapy and chemotherapy again without any side effects. Again, the scan results were promising, the cancer in all the affected area's were shrinking, some by up to 40% of their original size. However, we hit another complication, the deposit that was in the brain had grew to nearly 4cm, it was indeed cancerous, growing rapidly and needed brain surgery to remove it.
In May 2019, she stopped her treatment and in June 2019 she had brain surgery. Mum could not be kept down for long, the surgery went well and she was back walking and talking the 12 hours after brain major surgery and was back home after 3 days. She was scheduled to have 5 radiotherapy sessions to the area where the brain tumour was to reduce the chances of the cancer reoccurring in the brain. After 3/5 sessions, she unfortunately suffered further complications. Whilst stopping the immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatment to prepare for the brain surgery, the lung tumour had grown significantly, and started to bleed. She was coughing up vast amounts of blood with practically every breath, it was a very scary time and at this point the extended family and friends were informed about mums diagnosis. Once again, mum pulled through after she was given radiotherapy to the bleeding part of the lung tumour and the bleeding stopped. At this time, she was very weak and the doctors told us that they would not recommend any further treatment as it could cause more harm then good. In October 2019, her left shoulder started hurting again and she was in a lot of pain, radiotherapy was given to shrink the tumour therefore ease the pain as this was thought to be due due the cancer growing in that area.
Mum being the fighter that she was became stronger once again and the doctors reversed their decision and put her back on immunotherapy and chemotherapy treatment in early November 2019. The last 3 - 4 months of her life were the hardest, we probably had an inclination that the treatment wasn't working as she had really bad aches and pains all over the body, and needed radiotherapy to her sacrum to help with the back pain.
Despite the best efforts of the doctors and the medicines available, mums cancer was uncontrollable, relentless as in many cases it won. Mum did not have the strength to fight any longer and sadly passed away on Sunday 5th January 2020. She was surrounded by her husband and kids until her last breath and had a peaceful and pain-free death.
From being fit to death was 18 months, that's the aggressiveness of her lung cancer, it can take away your whole life in a flash and not even peacefully there is a lot of trauma and pain along the way. Together we can make a difference, mum wished nobody else to suffer from cancer and that's why we have to try our best make her wish come true.