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Introductions: Road to Know-Where


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Greetings everyone. My name is Ray.  For me, introductions & first impressions have always been awkward, so please bear with me as I stumble through this. 

I just recently retired after a long career in Government. So, at 65 years of age, I anticipated my golden years, sharing new memories with the wife, traveling, and enjoying life. Well, that was the plan, up until five days ago. Suffering from a severe back pain for almost a 2 months, mostly behind the left shoulder blade, I finally reneged and went to see my PCM. An X-Ray revealed a 4cm 'mass' on the top of my left lung. Then, yesterday, I completed a follow-up CAT Scan - that's when my world dropped out from under me.

The CAT scan revealed a >7cm mass sitting on the top of my left lung accompanied by evidence of 'spotting' throughout the same lung. Apparently, the right seems to be free of aberration. The attending physician said the mass (to which I'm euphemistically now calling the 'it') is consistent with Metastatic Cancer. Because of the size, the Radiologist was consulted and he decided against a biopsy opting for a PET Scan first to see if the 'it' has spread to the liver. If so, they will accomplish the biopsy from the liver site. The PET is scheduled for next week. The back pain is increasing in severity daily but the pain meds help. A little. 

What my wife and I find worrisome is the rapidity of the appointments (where a very long waiting list for CAT/PET Scans is the norm) and his 'strong' encouragement to see my PCM for mental health needs. 

That's it. That's all I know. To be honest I'm really freaking out and really unsure what I'm supposed to think. Ok, I've got cancer -- or do I? If the 'it' was benign then the 'it' wouldn't be spreading throughout the same lung, right? And, if the 'it' is that large, shouldn't 'it' be a Stage IV'ish, right? I'm a wreck. My wife is a wreck. So, I found this forum hoping someone else can provide either a sobering truth or persuasion to calm down. Thanks, folks.

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Welcome Ray,

A sobering truth about lung cancer or persuasion to calm down, those are high order requests and I'm afraid I can do neither.

My tumor was 7 cm long and discovery was nearly 14 years ago.  Read the "about me" section of my profile to understand my treatment experience but this understanding provides neither calm nor truth.  What it is purposed to provide is hope, and the hope is if I can survive, so can you.

I think seeing your GP for mental health treatment is a superb idea.  Don't do what I did.  Try and tough things out by myself for nearly 3 years of treatment before I asked for help. Here are abbreviated survival instructions for those who may have lung cancer.  I gave you a more detailed response in the General section of our forum.

Stay the course.


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Ray, I can understand your feelings of fear and the reasons for them. I had a mass, over 7cm, removed by VATS (video assisted thoracic surgery) and it proved to be adenocarcinoma. This was done this year in March. I was advised to enter chemo and I began that in May. I am still receiving chemo, and shots to alleviated the side effects of chemo...it seems to never end.  But it will end, probably the end of Sept.  For me, the acceptance of my cancer was important in fighting it. My husband has been a support, but he, like your wife, is very uneasy and on edge. He has retired from a medical career so his knowlege of all that can go wrong weighs heavily.  Your doctor is doing the right thing by pushing for quick CT and PET scans, even though that raises your fear. Please keep us posted.

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Hi, Ray. It's all overwhelming right now; all of us understand it. But I think you'll find hope I the fact we have so many long term survivors here. We've seen so many advances in treatment the last few years and that gives me hope.

Keep us posted on your progress. We've walked the same path and are here for you.

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To all, thanks for the support. What I'm finding the most problematic about this situation is an inability to plan for tomorrow. It's not the prospect of death but the loss of a future. Regardless, like you all, if the prognosis is bleak, I will accept the inevitable and move forward. On a side note, it's amazing to me how someone's life can dramatically change with a simple visit to the doctor. Crazy stuff.

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