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Surgery


Michele

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Hello I am new to this site. Last year I was told I had lung cancer with a pet scan and catscan.when it was time to talk to surgeon he said it was not cancer it was inflammation we will watch it. I left bewildered but happy.  Each last 2 scans showed no change so I walked around sured that I had no cancer. I just had my third scan and I got the horrible call that it got bigger.the surgeon will call to see you. My world has turned upside down. The first time I told people and they kind of avoided me plus i lost a job. Now I just started a new jib can't say anything and don't want to tell anybody either.I feel all alone on this journey. My anxiety is so high and my depression feels hopeless scared sad .I don't know what kind of questions I should have for doctors or what to expect. Nscl stage one. With slight emphemsena (sp?) That's why I came on this site

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Hello Michele.  Glad you found us.  I wonder why they did not biopsy the spot the first time?  I am glad

however that they did continue to follow it with more scans.  Surgery can be different for some.  In recent years

many people are able to have the surgery laproscopically.  In that surgery they make small incisions and only the

instruments go into the chest and get the tumor.  The older type of surgery the surgeon breaks ribs and spreads

them apart  to get to the tumor. Because the lung collapses during this they put a chest tube that stays for a while

after surgery and the long incision, the ribs etc take weeks to heal.  How do they plan to do your surgery?  Soon I hope

so it will be before the tumor grows more or spreads.  Please let us know how you are doing , keep us posted.

Donna G

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Michelle,

As Donna stated, there are some unusual aspects of your diagnostic path, but let's not dwell in the past.  You have questions about surgery.  First, read this information about common types of surgery.

So, there are two basic types (my characterization).  Invasive and minimally invasive.  To dwell on the worst case, I had the invasive kind consisting of a "J" shaped incision on my right side that enabled the surgeon to remove my entire right lung.  Still, I was out of the hospital, and up and around in 5 days.  Had I not caught an infection, likely from a well intended visiting family with children, I would have been back to work in 10 days.  Removal of an entire lung is called a pneumonectomy.  I've now been living with one lung for almost 13 years without much impact on quality of life.

You've not told us enough about the location of your tumor but stage I typically, normally, usually (having said that, there is no such thing a normal in lung cancer) addressed by minimally invasive surgery.  Some of these minimally invasive procedures are done on an "outpatient" basis.  One more thing -- often a medical oncologist will suggest one undergo a course of chemotherapy after surgery.  This is pretty standard so if you haven't done so yet, I'd obtain a consultation with a medical oncologist.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hello everybody; thank you for responding! Well I have stage 1 non small cell andacarsomona(sp?) Right lower lobe 2cm I believe. With the beginning of empsena (spelling is off). The problem is I have to go to VA hospital for everything and it takes forever for appointments or information.I'm waiting for a appointment to talk to surgeon for his plan.  I was told if I don't hear from them by DEC 1 to call my primary doctor. I'm really worried that by the time they see me or get things going things can change. With all the rumors of the VA u just wonder.my anxiety level is way up so I went to a clinic for anxiety pills.I don't know if this VA does vats surgery.both my parents died of lung cancer so my risks are high.I wish I knew more but I don't.

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Michele,

I am a lung cancer survivor but also a veteran.  The bureaucratic path to starting treatment in a VA hospital is a nightmare, but once treatment gets underway, delivery, I've found is very good.

Many US members of congress (House of Representatives) have hired local professional staff who deal with the Veterans Administration on behalf of their congressional district.  Call your member of congress local constituent office and see if they have a Veterans Administration focused staff member.  If they do, use them to get through the bureaucratic shuffle before treatment. They are very good at solving VA communications problems and indeed, that is the problem you will encounter.  Moreover, the VA bureaucrats seem to pay more attention to congressional staff members than veterans.  That is sad, very sad.

So even up your bureaucratic odds to stay out of the VA pre-treatment bureaucratic dance.

Stay the course.

Tom

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Michelle,

I just saw your post and I wondered if you had had your surgery yet. I'm new to this site. I had laparoscopic surgery on November 14 for Stage 1 adenocarcinoma. They took out my lower right lobe. I'm recovering really well. I have very little pain now--I rarely need even a tylenol. My breathing is easy and my lung capacity is increasing. My surgeon said that the rest of the lung will expand some into where the missing piece is. My main restrictions now are that I can't go in the swimming pool and I can't lift over 10 pounds. I'm really looking forward to going back to my water exercise class in a few weeks.

If I were you I wouldn't worry too much about the delay. I, like you, had a really slow growing tumor that was watched for several months before they decided to do surgery. They couldn't biopsy it before the surgery because of the location. My doctors thought it was important to have it out, but not a big rush, because it was so slow growing. I had a vacation planned for October and I asked if it could wait until after that, and they said it was no problem to wait a few weeks.

I was sorry to hear that you've had a hard time with friends and jobs. That must be really tough. I am fortunate to be retired. I work off an on part-time, I'm not well off at all but my retirementt income is enough that cancer isn't causing me a financial crisis without working. I also am fortunate to have really good health insurance. I was just this morning talking to someone about how much harder cancer treatment must be for people who are working,  have insurance problems, small kids or parents who need care, and similar issues.  I know how lucky I am to have the time to focus on my healing.

Let us know where you are with the surgery and how you are doing. If you haven't had the surgery yet and have questions about it, I'll be happy to answer what I can.  I think the people on this site can be a good source of support, even is we can't be there to hold your hand.

Bridget

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Hi Bridget glad to hear you are doing well with your recovery !that's encouraging. My surgery is DEC 14 if I have cancer its most likely stage one. Lower lobe. I guess I won't know until I wake up. Thank you for asking I'll let you all know how I'm doing.   Michele.

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