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Posts posted by Irka

  1. Lisa,

    Yes, the waiting & worrying & every pain in between is dreadful.  But you're doing great.  And as I understood when I re-read your opening lines, the nodule did not "light up" on the PET & showed no growth in following April & Aug CTs.  That's highly encouraging.  If the CT you get in Feb shows any significant change, I think your pulmonologist might want to order another PET to follow up.  In my case, my pulmo was following nodule(s) in my lungs for several years, some of which waxed & waned, so decided to hold off doing any biopsies.  Unfortunately, we dropped the ball for various reasons & didn't have scans for a 3-year period.   Big mistake -- those scans showed significant changes on CT & the follow-up PET showed one nodule in my right lung with quite high SUV of 6.4 -- it was removed in a middle lobectomy:  adenocarcinoma stage I.  Now we're tracking a couple of remaining nodules -- CT scheduled for March.  So for me, too, it's a wait & see situation, but we will be sure to keep checking up faithfully.  I think that's all you can do.  However, if you experience any pain(s) or other changes that you can't explain, be sure to talk to your pulmonologist asap.  Best of Luck!

  2. I'll have CT in March, watching ~3 nodules.  This follows right lung middle lobectomy (May 22, 2019) which had an adenocarcinoma, stage 1.  Have been doing more or less o.k. not dwelling on upcoming CT March 2020 -- but I think I negative thoughts could start creeping in.  Am seeing a therapist at the cancer institute, which helps a great deal.  Also trying to stay busy, socializing with family & friends.  Husband has prostate cancer -- in remission for the time being -- but we know it can rear it's beastly head any time. . .

  3. Dear friends, thanks again for your support.  I was making good progress from the May 22 right lung middle lobectomy and then a set back due to auto accident yesterday (7-26-2019).  No one else was injured, thankfully.  Emergency room did CTs of entire body; nothing broken; chest contusions, fortunately not in area of surgery.  Have pain but expect it to heal.  Good news is that the lung CT indicated no change to the nodules identified prior to the surgery & no new nodules.  The surgeon had planned for PET/CT in Sept with follow up with him late Sept.  We'll see what the PET shows.  I am not up for more surgery & don't know if it would be advised anyway.  I'm down in the dumps because of this accident.  I may have blacked out just prior to the crash, as I apparently went thru a stop sign that I don't even recall seeing.  In fact, I have very little recollection of the accident & can't figure out how it occurred.  The car is totaled.  Hubby has been wonderful.  I've been a wreck (pun intended).  Was doing much better -- even going to the gym for treadmill, etc.  So it's one step forward & 2-3 backward.  Well, I'm 76 & now have decided to give up driving altogether.  Hubby will do the driving, take me to store, beauty shop, etc.  Hate the thought, but simply don't want to drive anymore.  Thanks for "listening"


  4. O.K., I'm feeling much better.  Pain now manageable with gabapentin & Advil.  Very tight, though, in right lung especially when trying to take deep breathes & still tire easily.  I see surgeon on Tuesday.  He will review the pre- & post-op CAT scans with me.  He previously alerted me that, although the middle lobectomy removed the adenocarcinoma & lymph nodes were clear, he was still concerned about:

    1.  lesion A in upper lobe that he removed only partially because it was "attached" to lung/chest wall.  The pathology on what he did remove came back "non-malignant, likely scar-tissue."  But he indicated he wasn't 100% satisfied with that, given that he hadn't removed 100% of the lesion.

    2.  Lesion B in upper lobe, quite small & he was unable to reach it during surgery.

    That's the right lung.

    3.  Then Left lung has something "fuzzy" that's not been checked out.

    I'm looking for advice here in preparation for my Tuesday appointment with him.  My gut tells me that unless something totally new & big enlargement or existing shows up on the post-op CAT, we should go on "active surveillance" (a term applied to prostate cancer).  Rather than start any chemo or radiation, wait & do another CT in 3-4 months, give my right lung (what's left of it) time to heal more & me to regain more strength & gain some weight (have gotten too skinny).

    You all have been so supportive for the surgery & now I'm asking for more -- suggestions regarding upcoming visit with surgeon.

    With continued heartfelt gratitude for your help,



  5. Dear Friends,

    My surgery is over!  My right middle lobe was removed – the 1.1 x 1.0 x 0.8 cm nodule was adenocarcinoma according to the pathology report.

    The nodule in right upper lobe was removed -- pathology didn’t find any malignancy, referring to it as “scar tissue.”

    Surgeon was unable to reach a very small lesion also in right upper lung, and we will keep an eye on it.

    He said my cancer is Stage 1 & I don’t need chemo, which was very good news indeed.

    The surgery was May 22, I came home May 27, and am creeping along.

    My biggest challenge is dealing with the pain (not sleeping well even with wedge pillow). At this point I am taking Tylenol, Gabapentin (nerve pain), Cyclobenzaprine HL.

    I see my surgeon tomorrow for post-op & will bring up pain issue.

    My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your thoughts, encouragement & prayers!


  6. Would be grateful to know how those of you who have had robotic-assisted lobectomies are doing.

    I am scheduled for robotic-assisted surgery on my right lung on May 22:

    Wedgectomy of likely cancerous nodule in mid-lobe, with biopsy, etc.

    Removal of large nodule in upper lobe & biopsy; second smaller nodule in upper lobe is in difficult location.

    If surgeon decides a lobectomy of middle lobe is required, will do that.

    If not, he will do a lobectomy of upper lobe as way of dealing with both the large & smaller nodule since the latter is in a hard place to get to.

    So bottom line:  definite middle lobe wedgectomy; then either middle lobe or upper lobe lobectomy.

    He said wouldn't remove both lobes since that would put me on constant oxygen.

    Can't help being scared & truly am dreading the surgery & the aftermath.


  7. Thanks, Debbie.  I'm happy for you that you're recovering so spectacularly!  In my case, I should add that I'm almost 76 yo with some COPD, so I'm sure I won't be able to undertake anything like tennis.  But it would be nice to be able to get to the gym sooner rather than later to rebuild my strength & body.  May you continuing with your splendid recovery!


  8. Thanks, Curt, for your heartening response.  Yes, I have seen the wedge pillows advertised before & even considered getting one to help acid-reflux.  The latter hasn't bothered me too much, so I passed.  It's very encouraging to learn of your successful experience with VATs.  I'll be having the robotic-assisted version called "RATs."  But I don't want to use that acronym as I have a phobic fear of rats!

    Bottom line for me is that I have to steel myself & go through the step-by-step journey of treatment.

    I sincerely hope you continue to do well.


  9. Your recommendations & reassurances are most welcome!  I'm not sure I know what a wedge pillow is -- one with gradual elevation? or something else?  Unfortunately, I'm a confirmed back sleeper, but I don't believe that will be possible if they go through my right chest & back. . .  Just can't envision it.  But maybe with pain medication I'll be knocked out enough to get some sleep!!!  Ha, ha!

    With gratitude & hugs,


  10. Thanks, Ro, for your reassuring words based on your own experience.  That means a great deal.  I do trust the doctor.  He's also at a highly respected cancer facility & consulted on my case with 11 of his colleagues who agreed with this approach.

    I do try not to imagine the worst happening, but it's hard.  I'm keeping busy & will focus on a step at a time, a day at a time.

    Hugs, Irka

  11. Hello friends,

    After reviewing my PET & CT scans taken in April & reviewing with multi-disciplinary cancer team, my thoracic surgeon has scheduled my lung surgery on Wednesday, May 22, at 11:50.

    Game plan so far. 

    Step 1 -  perform a "robotic-assisted wedge resection & lymph node biopsy" of the small nodule in my middle right lung that lit up on the PET at a rather high level (SUV 6.3).  Because the needle biopsy in Apr failed, we have to get to this one to biopsy it on the spot.
    If it is cancer, he'll excise nodule & lymph.
    Step II - examine two considerably larger nodules in the upper right lobe that had much lower SUV on PET, but must be biopsied & results given on the spot, as well.
    Step III - if malignant, would try to excise the nodules and/or
    Step IV - if necessary, remove the upper lobe of my right lung.
    The only surgery I've had in my nearly 76-year-old life was a tonsillectomy at the age of 9!

    I am dreading this & am very scared. Not so much of the surgery itself, as the aftermath.

  12. Hi Michelle,

    I think I'll post a longer version of this for all to see & possibly comment.  The recommended course of treatment is robotic-assisted wedge-section surgery to get the small but high-tracer uptake (SUV=6.3) nodule out & biopsied immediately; if cancer, remove completely & possible lymphs.  Then continue to the two larger nodules in upper lung & try to remove & biopsy.  Then it'll get tricky & might have to remove entire upper lobe.

    Needless to say I am poop-scared!  Scheduled for May 22.


  13. Dear Lungevity Friends,

    Here’s a recap of my fairly long session on Tues, Apr 16, with Dr. Cziserle, the thoracic surgeon I saw at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute in Lancaster PA. (I prepared this for my immediate family members & thought I’d share it with you all as well.) Dr. Cziserle thoroughly reviewed my case with me & my husband Ken, pointing out on my CT scans the 3 nodules (one in particular) in my right lung that, although smallish, are of concern. He then ordered two additional tests: a brain MRI (to make sure no screws are loose!!!) & a Pulmonary Function Test. These are necessary to get a fuller picture of my condition & possible treatment options.  Before proceeding with any treatment, however, Dr. Cziserle & 11 of his colleagues (including oncologists, radiologists, etc.) will examine my case.  They meet each Thurs to discuss individual cases & reach a general consensus on how best to proceed.  (I've already started to refer to them as the “twelve apostles!”)

    The doctor & assistants & everyone we encountered were very welcoming.

    And yesterday I had a phone call from one of the assistants at Barshinger.  She has already set up those appointments for me on Thurs, Apr 25, so Dr. Cziserle gets the results in time for my next appointment with him on Tues, Apr 30.  He also indicated I'd get another CT done next month.

    This facility appears to be top-notch!


  14. Hi Michelle,

    Your post is so uplifting!  Your suggestions are very important as well.  I didn't realize there are so many resources waiting for me.  My oncology nurse navigator has already been in touch with me by phone & email.  By the time we move in I'll have an appointment lined up, probably with a thoracic surgeon!

    I absolutely hate packing even for short trips never mind moving after nearly 40 years in the same house.  So I must force myself to stop thinking about all I have to do and just do it!

    Thanks for your warm & heartening response.

    Irka (aka Irene)

  15. That's precisely what I'm doing now.  I've been in touch with an oncology nurse navigator at the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute.  She's  already begun the process to get me an appointment.  Likely, I will start out by seeing a thoracic surgeon within a matter of days after we move!  With information & encouragement I've gotten here & from the Lung Cancer Foundation's particularly significant input, I am relieved to say I now am on the path to obtaining the treatment I need. I know it's going to be a tough road ahead but I also know there are many folks I can count on for help.  Thanks a million to all of you who are responding to my postings!


  16. My 3/20/19 biopsy was unsuccessful -- result, non-diagnostic.  I'm in a Catch-22 situation of sorts.  I have to figure out how to get an appointment with a thoracic surgeon at the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute (quite a mouthful of words there).  They require biopsy results faxed to them, but I have no biopsy results!

    I'll have to find a way around this!

  17. We're moving to Lititz PA just 10 miles N of Lancaster PA.  We've learned of a great cancer facility, the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute.  It's part of Penn Lancaster General Health -- many of the doctors are from U of Penn.  I'm optimistic that I'll get connected with good doctors there & my needs (as well as my husband's) will be met!  Hoping you're doing well,


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