Mom’s Diagnosis of Lung Cancer Took Family’s Breath Away

My Mom, Cathy Bluey, was insistent that Thanksgiving was coming and she needed to make her pumpkin pies. Sadly, the date was Dec. 19, 2013.

The next day, after her MRI revealed gray areas of concern, our healthy wife, mom and nana was diagnosed with Stage 4 small cell lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain and hip. We struggled to find a reason why a non-smoker could have lung cancer.

Her primary care doctor immediately started talking about palliative care. We had never heard the term before, and were startled to learn it meant end-of-life care.

We Needed Science, and Jesus

My Dad, brother and I were determined to try everything that might reverse, change or cure the cancer.  We did not look at my Mom’s situation like it was too late. We would do whatever science would let us do to keep her in this world. We needed science, and Jesus.

Family and friends wanted to know everything.  Their concerns and prayers washed over us, and we felt loved. But we also felt like we wanted to spend as much time as we could with Mom. Taking several phone calls a day was overwhelming. And exhausting. We were all living with the cancer.

My Mom was a nurse, and had always taken care of everyone, and everything. When it came to worrying, she always wanted to do the worrying for us. After her diagnosis, we had to learn to do all the worrying … about everyone and everything.

Cathy Bluey
Cathy Bluey gets a hug from her granddaughter, Katie.

My Dad had to learn how to learn to ask for help, and keep a chart with all of Mom’s medications. My mother-in-law had to move from Connecticut to Florida, to help care for my young daughter, (Mom and Katie, by the way, were so very close. There was no better nana to her three grandkids.)

We Communicated by Holding Hands

As for me: I had to accept that I could no longer communicate through words with my best friend. But Mom and I continued to communicate by holding hands. I have no way of knowing if she heard my words or understood my tears. And I hope she knew I understood her tears.

While we couldn’t always get to the phone or return emails, we could share my Mom’s story through our almost daily posting of words and photos on CaringBridge. It was our answer for how we were going to communicate, share difficult emotions, and receive daily comfort and love from our extended family and friends.

We needed CaringBridge. And it was truly the only way we could connect, to form a bridge that spanned two continents of friends and family.

Honoring the Love Our Family Received

Our beloved, Catherine Bluey, left us on Feb. 17, 2015, to be with her Lord and Savior … so much sooner than we ever expected or desired. We are forever grateful to Dr. Brown and Dr. Zafar and their staffs for their knowledge and expertise, and treating our Nana with love and kindness and not simply as a “case.” We are also most appreciative of the devotion of her caregivers, without whom we would have been overwhelmed.

Cathy was the Nana to three clever grandkids, a loving wife, an extraordinary mom, her daughter’s best friend, an aunt and great-aunt. She was the person who always had her cell phone set to ring (just in case), and the person you would meet who would share her funnel cake at a circus with you, even if you had just met.

Our Nana had a simple philosophy: Be kind to others and always be there to support others. Our family always said that Nana never met a stranger. She believed in the power of prayer and took great comfort from studying the Bible and attending her church.

Catherine, our Nana, is missed every day. She taught us many things in life that we would have to do. But she never taught us how to cope with the hurt of losing her. We love and miss you, Nana.

She would be happy that her family is honoring the love that came to her through CaringBridge, by matching gifts, up to $25,000, made on Feb. 13-14, 2020.

Here’s a link below to make sure your donation gets doubled. CaringBridge was there when we needed support. We want it to be available to everyone.

Donate to CaringBridge

Betsy Bluey Cook, of Fort Myers, FL, is the daughter of Cathy Bluey, who used CaringBridge during her journey with lung cancer.

  • shamim

    this is a very good site

  • HM Jarvie

    Thanks for this great article.

  • Edith

    Perfectly nice way to tell the tale about the end of life realities.

  • Joy Rene' Neel

    Betsy and family, I know you don’t know me, but I wanted to let you know that honoring your mom through Caring Bridge and seeking financial support for Caring Bridge is a beautiful gift to give so that someone else has an opportunity to share with others about the care, and daily report of their loved one to all!!!! It’s difficult in these situations to contact everyone and using Caring Bridge to connect to friends and loved ones is a blessing!!!! We lost our mom in 2016 and miss her dearly, but cherish the memories! Many blessings to you and your family! Joy Rene’ Neel

  • Bob and Linda Bluey

    Betsy – We think about Cathy everyday. Your Mom was one in a million. We miss her also. When you guys were going through those difficult times, we also needed our daily report about Cathy. Caring Bridge provided an amazing service to help keep all of the extended family up to date and in touch. We will continue to support them. Thank You for writing this.

  • Bruce W Smith

    Thank you for sharing your incredible story. As a Board Member at CaringBridge, a donor to CaringBridge and a husband/father that traveled a similar journey with my spouse, I want to thank you for your generosity and willingness to share your story. Best wishes and prayers go out to your entire family.

  • Dianne Brummond

    A marvelous tribute to your Mom and the work of Caring Bridge. I will contribute on Feb 13-14, 2018.
    Thanks for sharing so we can help even more with your generous match.

  • Elsie Wietzke

    Our daughter Susan survived, miraculously, angiosarcoma. Equally miraculous was the uplifting, healing support made possible by caring bridge. Prayers, friendship, love–all made their way to Susan’s heart and to those who love her! We are grateful to God and to caringbridge for these gifts.

  • Richard Parke

    Thank you so much, Betsy, for sharing this wonderful and poignant story of God’s care for and faithfulness to your mother and your family even in the worst of situations. The photos you shared are precious!
    Lamentations 3:19-23

  • DJ

    God bless you and your family. My mother died in my arms in 2004.To this day ,I still cry…I will pray for all of you.

  • Rosemary Fields

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful about your mom. You have my sympathy. God is faithful to meet our needs.