Stories

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

Betsy Bluey Cook with her mom, Cathy, in a photo taken by a dear family friend.

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

We lost Mom right after Valentine’s Day, on Feb. 17, 2015.

My Dad, brother and I miss her so much. But Mom would be happy that we are honoring the love our family received through CaringBridge, by matching gifts, up to $25,000, made on Feb. 13-14, 2018.

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.

Comments (10)

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Cathy McDougal Jul 09, 2018 4:32pm
Lung Cancer Took "Family’s" Breath Away??? Are you kidding me! Who wrote this terribly insensitive headline? I'd say the Mother's breathe was taken away much more and worse than the family's! Lame and insensitive, and, I suspect, intentional. Shame on you!
Edith Feb 07, 2018 2:40pm
Perfectly nice way to tell the tale about the end of life realities.
Joy Rene' Neel Feb 07, 2018 1:43pm
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 Feb 07, 2018 11:12am
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 Feb 07, 2018 9:24am
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 Feb 07, 2018 9:15am
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 Feb 06, 2018 8:30pm
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 Feb 06, 2018 6:57pm
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 Feb 06, 2018 6:07pm
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 Feb 06, 2018 5:38pm
Thank you for sharing this wonderful about your mom. You have my sympathy. God is faithful to meet our needs.