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Everything posted by BridgetO

  1. I agree with LexieCat. If you're not sure about your doctor's advice, you could get a second opinion.
  2. Susie, I had VATS lower right lobectomy, with 27 mediastinal lymph nodes removed. I was discharged the nest day with a chest drain still in! I was taking oxycodone at home until thd drain was removed about 10 days later and after the removal I had little pain. I think it's unusual for somebody to be discharged as soon as I was, or to be discharged with a drain, but I was glad to be home.
  3. Hi Susie and welcome. I had a lower right lobectomy 5 years ago and I now have no evidence of disease. I found ,as manyothers here have, that a lobectomy by VATS is fairly easy as surgeries go. But it is still a surgery and it's not inconsequential. General anesthesia is hard on a person, as is having a part of the body removed. So take it easy and give yourself time to recover. You'll probably need somebody there with you the first day you're home. And you'll probably need somebody to help with dressing changes. The incisions are small, but they can be hard to reach. Ask your doctor or nurse about limitations on activity. You'll probably be advised not to lift anything over 5 or 8 pounds (advice varies) until you're healed up. So that rules out a lot of household tasks. You will get back to your normal routine, but not right away.
  4. Hi Suzie and welcome. I also recommend that you stop beating yourself up. And get used to saying the "C word". Cancer is a disease. It's not a curse or a death sentence. I'm a never-smoker and I got lung cancer. We don't care whether you smoked or not-- we're all in this together. And we can help each other to cope with diagnosis and treatment. So say " Cancer". Say "Cancer sucks!", because it does. Let us know how we can support you and what questions you may have. That's what we're here for. Hang in there! You can do this.
  5. Hi joana, First, let me reassure you that talking about your financial issues isn't a violation of our guidelines. You'll find that it's a common issue since cancer isn't a cheap illness to have. One thing that's really helped me in dealing with cancer is talking about it -- both to myself and to others-- as "dealing with" rather than "fighting". For me, violent language of fighting and battle isn't really comfortable. I don't like reading obituaries that say things like "she lost her battle with cancer, which to me implies that she could have lived forever, if only she had fought harder. And fighting takes a lot of energy that I'd rather spend living. For a lot of people, the "fighting" language comes naturally and helps them keep going and keep up hope and I have no quarrel with them at all. I'm probably doing most of of the same things the fighters are doing in making treatment decisions, living their life day by day in the best possible way and so forth. I say if something works, don't fix it! I just have an alternate way of talking about it. I've also approached cancer with curiousity. So, for example, I've had 3 primary cancers and 3 surgeries, plus radiation and chemo. Prior to my first cancer,I hadn't been in the hospital since I was a small child. I felt like I was in a foreign country-- they do things differently there! So I was interested in how they do things and at times that helped me feel less fearful. Enough of my philosophizing! Hang in there and you'll get through this. I love that you are working to use for yourself what you have told others-- all good advice!
  6. Hi alacerca and welcome. i'm a survivor of 3 cancers also. My 3rd was lung adenocarcinoma stage 1a. I had a lower left lobectomy by VATS (video assisted thoracic surgery) in November 2016. I had no other treatment, but I have had regular CT scans for possible recurrence. I have had No Evidence of Disease (NED) since my surgery. Lobectomy is the gold standard for early stage lung cancers. If your surgery results in clear margins and no affected lymph nodes, you may not need further treatment. My VATs surgery was pretty easy, as surgeries go. Lou T has written a post about what to expect and how to prepare for surgery. I'm not good with retrieving posts from thie site,so I hope someone else will send it to you. I think it will be helpful. After your surgery, you can review with your surgeon his/her recommendations about the need for further treatment. You might want to ask for a referral to an oncologist with lung cancer expertise to review the recommendation. Or you might independently search for an oncologist to give you a second opinion. You don't need to make a decision about it right now. You could spend your pre-surgery time doing things you enjoy and doing any preparation that will help you be most comfortable in the hospital and at home afterwards. Keep us posted. Ask any questions you may have and let us know how we can support you. Bridget O
  7. My surgery experience was similar to Lexie's. My surgery was planned to be VATS. My surgeon explained to me that if something unexpected occured he might have to switch to open surgery. It was completed as VATS, thankfully.
  8. I had a small, slow growing nodule that did not light up on the PET. It turned out to be adenocarcinoma. It's my understanding that these slow litlle cancers sometimes don't have enough metabolic activity to register on the PET.
  9. BridgetO


    Hi Juliet and welcome. I'm sorry to hear about your mom's cancer. As you probably know, SCLC is a harder cancer to manage than NSCLC. That being said, time prognoses are pretty much inaccurate. There are a lot of us on here that have outlived our prognoses, and I don't think doctors give time expectations often any more. Treatment options are increasing all the time. I don't have any specific information about liver mets, but perhaps someone else on these forums has and will respond. I encourage your mother (and you, too) to enjoy being fit and well. Hang in there and don't give up hope. Bridget O
  10. HI DD and welcome her! You didn't mention whether your dad has had biomarker testing. This is important in developing a treatment plan, especially so in more advanced lung cancers. Keep posting and ask us whatever questions you have. Somebody here will probably have an answer. All the best to you and your family.
  11. I'm getting my Pfizer booster on Thursday. Working ii a homeless shelter, I feel like I need all the help I can get. I stopped working ,on my doctor's advice, when the pandemic started but went back after I was vaccinated. Then delta reared it's ugly head and I considered whether working was a good idea, but decide to keep on at least for the present, since getting out of the house and doing something useful really improves my mood. I'm using a KF94 mask, which is the highest grade I can deal with for a whole shift, maintaining social distance and reminding both co-workers and shelter residents to wear their masks properly, not under their nose! So far, I'm good. Wish me luck.
  12. Yep, 60 is too young to retire. Also, for me, too old! I retired when I was 57. I wanted to travel, but I knew I couldn't afford to either travel or retire long term. But, oh well .I did travel off and on for a year and then I spent a year working in Poland. After that, I began working part time or temp jobs off and on and traveling when I could. I'm really glad I retired when I did, because in the last 13 years, I've had 3 primary cancers and the kind of low budget travel that I could afford wasn't a possibility, or at least not a good idea. 5 years ago, while I was in the process of being diagnosed with lung cancer, I again "retired" from a part-time job that was supposed to have been temporary but lasted 3 years. I thought I probably wouldn't work again, you know, with my age and lung cancer and all. But here I am at 76 working at a homeless shelter. I took a break for a while during the pandemic, but went back after I got the Covid vax. I was inspired to ramble on by Tom's post about applying for a job-- I don''t know what the point of my post it, except to say that lung cancer (or any cancer) isn't a death sentence and I'm keepin' on keepin' on.
  13. Hi Chuck and welcome. It's normal to be "very scared" when yoou get a lung cancer diagnosis.At this point you should b scheduled for a lot of tests, probably a PET/CT to see if the cancer has spread anywhere, and a bunch of lung function tests that help determine whether you're a candidate for surgery. After all that, a treatment. Tom is right that people very often feel better once they have a treatment plan. keep us posted and let us know what questions you may have and how we can support you. Bridget O
  14. Hi Citrine, thanks for your reply. I did have genetic testing. It showed an STK 11 mutattion which they said was a variant of uncertain significance. Then I read (on the infamous Dr Google) that an STK 11 mutation did increase the risk of a bunch of cancers, including the ones that I had. I called up the genetic counselor and she said that the one that caused risk was a different STK 11 mutation. The other, risk increasing mutation, is said to be the one that causes Peutz-Jehger Syndrome, which I don't have. (PJS involves some unusual skin pigmentation and a unique form of intestinal polyps) I'm suspicious though, because STK 11 is a tumor supressor gene, so it seems like "something wrong with it" might stop tumors from being supressed. I also think there's some connection between STK 11 and TP53 mutations but I'm not sure what-- it's been a while since I read this stuff. My lung cancer had a KRAS mutation, nothing about KRAS subtype, which I think wasn't unusual for a biomarker test done almost 5 years ago. My gynecologic cancer was about 10 years ago and was stage 3. One pathologist diagnosed it as cervival spread to the endometrium and the second said endometrial spread to the cervix. In any event it was clear cell and I seem to remember it had some serous component also. I'll be interested to hear the results of your genetic test and anything you learn about this stuff. And let us know, too, about how you're doing and the results of your PET. We're interested in your wellbeing as well as your genetics!
  15. Hi Minh, With only one 16 mm nodule and no lymph nodes with cancer could well be stage 1., surgery might be a good choice if your health allows for it. After surgery you and your doctors could decide if anything further is needed. I had a lobectomy in 2016 and was diagnosed with Stage 1a adenocarcinoma. I didn't need any other treatment and I'm well today. I'm 76 and was retired at the time of my surgery, but if I'd been working, I could probably have gone back to work in several weeks. I'm working now, part time. It's important to take one step at a time. You don't need to make a whole lot of decisions now. I Know it's hard not to be anxious now, but you'll probably feel calmer once all the tests are done and you have a treatment plan. Bridget O
  16. Hi Citrine! My history is similar to yours. I had breast cancer in 2008 and have been NED (no evidence of disease) after having a lumpectomy and radiation. In 2011, I had a cervical/endometrial cancer that was a rare and aggressive type. I had a radical hysterectomy, but mine was followed by chemo and radiation. I've also been NED on that one. During a routine CT to watch for possible metastases of my gynecologic cancer, a small nodule was found. A followup CT found that it had grown a little. I was sent for a PET scan, and nothing showed up. My pulmonologist said that small and slow-growing cancers often don't. She also looked at the CT (not just the radiologist's report) and said that the nodule looked more like a primary lung cancer than a metastasis. Because of its location, this little bugger couldn't be biopsied without removing the lobe. I agreed to a lobectomy (in 2016) and it turned out to be a non-small-cell lung cancer (adenocarcinoma) stage 1a. I was relieved to find it wasn't a metastasis. The surgery was considered curative, so no further treatment was needed. However, I am having regular CT scans, because lung cancers are prone to recur. So far, NED on this one, too. As to interpreting your latest CT scan, a good person to do this is an experienced pulmonologist, who can look at the scan itself and not just the radiologist's report. A PET scan is a good idea, too. But the only thing that definitively diagnose cancer is a biopsy. I suggest you check with your doctors to see if a biopsy can be done by needle or by bronchoscope. (These would likely be done by an interventional radiologist.) If biopsy can't be done in one of those ways, you might want to consult with a surgeon about a surgical biopsy. Sometimes this can be done short of removing the whole lobe and sometimes not. One thing I can say about my lobectomy was that it was WAY easier than my radical hysterectomy. You might want to get a definitive answer by biopsy before your nodule gets any bigger. Lung cancer is no longer the death sentence it was once considered. The earlier it's found, the easier it is to treat. Most, when found early, are pretty curable. Bigger ones are treatable and sometimes curable. There are lots of new treaments in the last few years, and others are being approved regularly. And, it this does turn out to be a metastasis, you'd want to to get treatment ASAP for that. And maybe it will turn out to be something benign. It's understandable that you're "going crazy" right now, but hang in there, things will get easier once you know what you're dealing with. Read some of our stories on these forums and let us know what questions you may have and how we can support you. Bridget O
  17. I agree! This is great news! a
  18. BridgetO


    Speech pathogists also do swallow training.
  19. Hi Jeng, I'm sorry to hear that your husband is having lung problems. An experienced doctor can make an educated guess at what something on a CT is, but a biopsy is the only thing that will diagnose cancer for sure. With something 8cm in the lung and enlarged lymph nodes, clearly something is amiss. They have set up a thorough array of tests for your husband and when you have the results of those, you should know what he's dealing with. If you have a chance to directly ask the doctor the meaning of the "consolidation and infiltrates", that's a much better way of understanding the CT scan than trying to figure it out by googling. It would be great if your feet were on solid ground going into this, but everybody is at sea with the uncertainty of diagnostic processes. The waiting is the hardest part. If it does turn out to be cancer, you need to know that lung cancer is no longer a death sentence. There are a lot of new treatments that let many people live and have a good quality of life for a lot of years after diagnosis. And new treatments are being developed all the time. So hang in there, keep us posted, ask questions, and let us know how we can support you.
  20. BridgetO


    LexieCat, I'm envious of your going to see Clannad live! I'll be interested to hear whether people are following the rules. I have a season ticket to the Oregon Symphony. I've been going for years until last year's season was cancelled due to Covid. I was really looking forward to this season. They do have the vaccine or test rule and require masking, but I don't feel safe enough with that many people at an indoor concert, so I'm passing up at least the first one. Maybe after I get my booster.
  21. Having "something else" (not cancer) is a real reason to celebrate!
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