Jfpersonius Posted June 30, 2017 Share Posted June 30, 2017 I am a 68 y.o. male who was informed by my pulmonologist that my lung biopsy was positive for small cell lung cancer. This diagnosis came with a feeling of relief that the SOB and fatigue I've been experiencing for over a year has a basis in reality and wasn't all in my head. I've been having PET and CT scans, blood work and numerous MD visits to my primary care, pulmonologist, and Sports Medicine doctor. It's been hard to focus on anything else but my health. I've been a smoker all of my life and take responsibility for my part in this illness, but don't feel I'm deserving of this fate and that I brought it on myself. Smokers and non-smokers can get this disease or don't get this disease, and it's just way the ball bounces. I moved from a provincial upstate NY town to NYC in 1969 to attend NYU and pursue a degree in occupational therapy. It was an extremely rewarding career and living in Manhattan for almost 40 years was the most enriching and exciting time of my life. Working in healthcare, and having a close community of gay friends and colleagues, exposed me to all the horrors of the AIDS epidemic in a very intimate way, in the 1980's. It was during those years I was forced to look at mortality and ways a person can learn to be comfortable with dying, living life to the fullest with great dignity, and being proud of one's accomplishments and relationships and accepting life's ending as natural and part of a process. I had to learn to let go of my intense anger that so many young, talented and valuable people had to go through this nightmare. I was glad that I never contracted the disease, but had a great deal of "survivor's guilt trying to understand why I was spared while so many people close to me had such agonizing final months. Living in NYC, there are all kinds of psychotherapists and groups that were part of normal NY'er routines and I was lucky to find excellent clinicians who helped me make peace with my inner demons and childhood traumas and learn healthy ways of dealing with my emotions. I worry about suffering and not being able to breathe, but I am not fearful of dying. I don't have a lot of regrets and accomplished many of my life's goals and have a good network of friends, although they are not nearby. I worry that my spouse Tony will have a hard time watching me waste away as I become more dependent on him to take care of me. He's seven years older than me and we assumed I'm the one who would end up being the caregiver. We just retired and were looking forward to many quiet years together, visiting family and friends, pampering our dogs, and taking short vacations to new places. While living in upstate NY, my MD recommended I have a lung CAT scan since I was a long time smoker and I followed his advice. I had complained of SOB and generalized malaise for a long time and thought after all kinds of other workups and no answers, this was an important avenue to pursue. The radiologist's report said I had two small lesions on my right lung but though they were probably benign and to have a follow-up CAT scan in two years. Nothing to be concerned about. I wonder if a lung biopsy had been performed at that time how much further ahead of the disease progression I would have been. It would have been to err on the safe side, but it's just a "what if". I am already limited in my ability to ambulate for more than 50 feet without becoming very short of breath, with pain increasing in both my hips the further I go, so going too far or engaging in more strenuous activities is not an option at this time. I can adapt to my current situation, but I am saddened by how quickly my vitality and endurance is slipping away. I see the oncologist next Thursday and hope to find out what stage I'm in and what my treatment options are. I'm positive that I can make some informed decisions that will extend the quality of my life and giving me some time to make peace with my dying and say goodbye to those who have meant so much to me throughout my life. I am grateful I have found a web site where I can learn from and share my experiences in living with a diagnosis of lung cancer. I plan on researching area support groups as I find honest sharing and articulating what's going on with me and getting feedback from others in the same situation is a comforting and life affirming experience. Thank you for allowing me the space to express myself and I look forward to learning and sharing with you on this particularly personal journey. Kind regards, John Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.