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The mass is gone, now what?


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Help! I am on a merry-go-round that just won't stop! And it's a fast one. I am a 54-year-old, and up to this point, healthy woman. On September 21st, I went to see my PCP because I had what I thought was an upper respiratory infection/pneumonia. As I am an RN and work around sick people, and also have IDDM, she ordered a chest x-ray, a TB test and a course of Zithromax. When I got home from work the following day, my doctor had called and wanted to see me the next day. When I went in, she told me the x-ray showed a large mass on my upper R lung and referred me to a Pulmonologist for follow up. I saw the Pulmonologist on Sept 30th and she ordered a CT scan which showed a 7.6 mass and some swollen lymph nodes in the R  hilar region. She thought it was cavitary pneumonia and prescribed Levaquin and ordered a Pet/CT. I had the Pet/CT on October 7th and it "lit up". The pulmonologist referred me to an Oncologist and a Cardiothoracic surgeon.  On the 21st of October, I had an electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy which was positive for invasive squamous cell/NSCLC. I met with the Oncologist on the 30th of October and the cardiothoracic surgeon on the 11th of November.  The 16th of November I went in for surgery to remove my R upper lobe. Well, the cancer was larger than a Walnut and they had to remove both the r upper and r middle lobes. I was in the hospital for 7 days and released home with oxygen, which I have weaned myself off of.


See what I mean about what a ride? This has all happened so fast that my head is still spinning. Now I am to begin a three-month course of chemotherapy on January 7th. Now that the surgery, tests and doctor appointments are over, I have finally found the time to stop and take a minute to look ahead. I have absolutely no training in cancer care, I am a cardiac nurse! Chemotherapy has me scared and depressed, and I keep wondering how in the world am I going to survive 3 months of poison being put into my body? I know people do this, some for a lot longer than 3 months, but is it really necessary? I mean they are only giving it to me because the mass was so large, but they removed that, so I am basically "cancer free" right?  

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Hi TC .  Glad you found us.  I am glad you have you are home for the holidays.

I was diagnosed at 50 yrs old with lung cancer in 1997.  I just retired from working as an RN last year.

If the Oncologist says you need chemo if I were you I would take it. The journey is hard but worth it.

If any cells got free I sure would want them killed rather than show up again somewhere else.

Keep us posted.  Relax for now and have a Happy Holiday .


Donna G

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The nickname for your post surgical chemo is "dust up". It is designed to kill cells that may have been in your bloodstream before your surgery. It is an important component of treatment. Surgical complications prohibited my dust up chemo and tumors appeared in my left lung after my right was removed.

Treating cancer is a marathon not a sprint. After your chemo, you'll continue to have diagnostics and oncology follow ups for perhaps the rest of your life. I am nearly a 12 year survivor of NSC Squamous Cell lung cancer and have a scan and oncology apt in late January. And I still suffer from "scanziety" that period of high uncertainty and anxiety from scan to results revealed consult.

Settle in for the long haul. You'll be fine.

Stay the course.


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Thanx, I kinda figured life as I knew it would never be the same. Oh well, going to see my boy and his family in Atkansas, go to the casino's and get some baby kisses before I start chemo and am stuck home.

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Its because of the size of the primary they are ordering the dust up or adjuvant chemo for the cancer. A larger primary has had more opportunities to shed cells. So as the others have said this is to be cautious.

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Hi tc,

Welcome to the Lung Cancer Support Community message boards. I hope you were able to visit your family and have a good time.

We are here for you. 


I look forward to getting to know you,


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