1. Take paper and pen with you to take notes. There's so much coming at you if it's new to you that the second you walk out of that room, you're going to have a hard time remembering some things.
2. Ask for a copy of the radiology and pathology reports when they are available from the scans and biopsy. Ask if there is a way to view these records online. Having these reports covers a lot of the things about which you would ask questions. Of everything, I wish I thought to get copies of these the first time around.
3. Get a notebook to put all these things into, and print a calendar that you can record everything on-- dates of diagnosis, appointments she went to, chemo days, record everything. That makes it easy when you try to recall days later.
4. If I could have had only two things to read to prepare before dad's first lung cancer appointment, they would be these choices from the National Cancer Institute:
and the treatment PDQ summary for whatever type of lung cancer. You have listed non-small-cell, so here is the one for that http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/non-small-cell-lung/Patient/page1/AllPages
5. I would ask for a clear answer as to what stage the cancer is. I think a lot of questions I might have asked, you would already know the answers to, with your nursing background. If it's advanced, I might ask more about the prognosis.
6. If she's going to go ahead with chemo, I would ask for any prescriptions up front so you have them ready at home. Something like compazine for the nausea was good for dad.
7. How long until we know if the treatments are working?
With dad's first lung cancer, he had stage 2b non-small-cell, was able to have lobectomy surgery, and chemotherapy with taxol and carboplatin. That treatment was successful. Then two years later, he ended up with a new, different cancer. I learned far more on my own than through the 2-3 minutes with the doctor. I think doctors are good for answering basic questions like:
Where are we now?
How do we know that? What did the tests and reports show?
What are our goals?
What is the plan and why? Is that the best way to proceed?
Are there any other options available?
What is the realistic outlook short and long term?
How will we know if we're making progress and when?
What, where and when is the next step?
Can you prescribe something for the ________?
We had this rash pop up, and she has a fever... what do you think?