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Here for my dad - adenocarcinoma found during his quadruple bypass

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Hi. My dad - a long-time endurance athlete and outdoorsman, non smoker, vegetarian, age 72, still working full time as a general dentist - was on a long bike ride two weeks ago when he had chest pain that sent him to the hospital. Long story short, an angiogram found 6 major blockages and he had a quadruple bypass the next morning. We were all flabbergasted as he's so healthy, but heart disease runs in his family and his sister had the same procedure about 15 yrs ago. Anyway, while the cardiothoracic surgeon was performing the surgery, he found and fully removed a 1 cm nodule on my dad's lung, and the pathology came back as a stage 1a adenocarcinoma (with clean margins). Can you imagine laying there recovering from major open heart surgery after a heart attack and then getting that news?? He had an MRI of his brain at the hospital which came back clear, but he can't have a PET scan for a few weeks as his chest has to heal. I am not positive but I don't believe the cancer can be fully staged until he's had the scan to check for any other potential incidents? We're all looking at this as a lucky(ish) accident as the cancer never would have been detected at this point had he not had a surgeon literally looking at his lungs, and we're hopeful that the scans come back clean, but it's just a lot to take in. He's recovering at my house and eating an organic, plant based diet, getting lots of love and support from friends and family, but we're all scared (although optimistic and upbeat). We have cardiac rehab starting soon and then have to get started with the oncologist...I know this is a marathon not a sprint and we've barely begun...just looking for a community to hear our story and a safe place for me to unload. Any and all advice and/or words of encouragement are welcome. Thanks for reading!!

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Welcome Samantha,

I know of a lot of surprise diagnosis, but during a quadruple bypass? That is a first for me.  I can understand your being unnerved. 

You are right. He'll need to recover from the trauma of heart surgery before a PET is effective, so staging the body will need to wait.  Hopefully, your dad's 1 cm nodule was the extent of his cancer and surgery is curative.  

Advice?  Your marathon analogy is correct.  You'll need to get used to waiting, first for his surgical recovery, then for scan appointments, and then for results.  Waiting was hard for me and when coupled with uncertainty of outcomes, my treatment experience became a nightmare.  But, I didn't have a place where I could get a patient prospective on my disease. This is your place.

Here is something I wrote a while back that folks still find useful as first line information about lung cancer. That said, at this juncture, your dad has a lot going on heart-wise and I really hope his cancer experience is one and done.

Stay the course.


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Seconding everything Tom said! So very sorry your dad had this complication but grateful that his surgeon was so sharp and observative.

With your family history of heart disease you know that your dad can enjoy many more years of productive life with great quality following that bypass. As awful as this is, it's a mixed blessing. Lung cancer rarely manifests symptoms until it has invaded other organs. This diagnosis comes at a time that it can be cured.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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