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Ann Cronin

Brand new to probable metastatic lung cancer

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So......not sure if I should be here posting because I haven't received any more detail than metastatic lung cancer. I don't have any acronyms or letter/number combos to go with.....

53 yr old female - smoker - I went to the walk in clinic last Sunday, Jan 14th,  because I felt like I had pneumonia. I had had it years ago and I remember the pain.  I couldn't breathe but not because my lungs were congested/wheezy, it was because when I took even a tiny breath, the pain in my back was intense! The pain wrapped around my right side to my ribs.They took an X-ray, asked questions..... they thought maybe I had a blood clot in my lung so they sent me to ER.

In the ER I had a CT scan. I wish I had a blood clot in my lung!! So I did have pneumonia and the pain was due to the inflammation in the lining. But I was also told that I had Metastatic lung cancer. I have two - 2cm speculated nodules in upper right lobe and something doesn't look right in the mediastinum. Is it normal to be told this in the ER?!? I find it appalling, I really do! Couldn't they have said something like... "We are very concerned with what we see and think you should have it addressed as soon as possible because it could be cancer". What the heck??? I was given pain meds which allowed me to breath deep and cough-  and cough I did for the next 12 hours. I coughed up some major crap, definitely had infection going on. Each day the pain got less over the course of the week.

I was advised to see my PCP which I did Tuesday. She was a bit taken aback that the ER would make such a diagnosis as well, being  that I hadn't has a biopsy, seen anyone relating to oncology.... Anyway, onto trying to schedule appt. with Thoracic surgeon for biopsy. First cancer center I called had something Feb 4th - are you kidding me?? The next recommended I called can see me on Jan 25th - still are you kidding me? I feel like enough people are getting a cancer diagnosis regularly, couldn't they leave an open appt. for a newly diagnosed person? This is just a consult about a biopsy, who knows when it will happen? Then a week to 10 days for results? I feel like by the time I begin treatment, these nodules could double in size, multiply or spread to other areas? 

I'm a hot mess to say the least and I really want to get off this crazy train. Because I haven't been able to discuss with a professional in oncology, my mind is all over the place. So I've learned that every aspect of my "case" has a high probability that my nodules are malignant. I'm 53 / I smoked/ more than 1 nodule/ nodules located in upper right lobe/they are spiculated/they are >8mm ....

Here I am a week later and the only good news is that I feel fine, physically. Mentally.... can't eat, can't sleep and cannot stop crying. I guess my question is.... this is a very slow process getting going, is there a reason for that? I find it aggravating and somewhat reckless. I find it aggravating that clinic, ER and my PCP never addressed my infection, still coughing up stuff. I feel that ER's find it necessary to make such a diagnosis, they should have an oncology nurse on sight to at least answer questions and guide folks in the right direction, give them some resources.

I wrote too much, sorry, thanks for listening. My question is, how much time should I expect to go by from the time I see surgeon to actually have the biopsy. How long from biopsy to get results and then get treatment? 

Thanks to all of you for what you do! When I can take a breather from my own chaos I am definitely looking into becoming a volunteer advocate for patients going this alone. If I had to do this all by myself I would have shut down this week, probably not pursue treatment. So far I've found the process to be very unorganized and cold.

 

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Hi Ann.  Welcome to our little corner of the world.  It's unfortunate that the ER team made that statement without any pathological support.  Sure, they've seen thousands of CTs but a path diagnosis is the most accurate.  But whether it's cancer or not, the waiting game absolutely stinks.  You want/need answers and you can't get them - I understand.  I started my journey at a stand-alone ER at the beginning of December 2015; they told me I had a mass in my lung and that I needed to see my doc.  It was almost a week before my pulmonologist could see me.  He scheduled me for a bronchcoscopy/biopsy the next week.  Then I had to wait another week for results (that said not cancer).  Then I had to wait another 30 days for additional testing results.  Finally saw a surgeon at the end of January and had my lobectomy at the end of February.  I wasn't diagnosed until surgery.  But, once we had a diagnosis, we had a plan.  I had an MRI and CT before I started treatment to check for any mets and I started chemo about 3 weeks after my surgery.

There are so many things to factor in.  Biopsies, biomarker testing, treatment planning - it's a whirlwind of activity.  It's overwhelming.  Do you have anyone that can accompany you to any of these initial appointments?  If, God forbid, it is cancer, it's a good idea to have a second set of ears.  

As for the mental status, I understand that, too.  From my surgery to chemo to finishing treatment, I really didn't have a chance to think about it.  It wasn't until later, after a metastatic site was found, that I lost my mind.  Cried all the time.  Thought about giving up.  I had to get some pharmaceutical help to get me out of my dark corner.  It's not the fix for everyone but it keeps me level.

This site is full of members with all types of diagnoses, stages, mutations, treatment histories - you name it, someone here has probably encountered it.  Keep us posted and keep asking questions.  We're here for you.

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Hi Ann,

Welcome. Yes, you're in the right place and no, you didn't write too much. Of course  you're a hot mess at this point. That's normal for someone who's just been told,  and in a pretty insensitive way, that they have cancer.  But hang in there. This forum is a good place to find  infomation, support and hope.  That said, I can't really answer your question about timelines. I think it's pretty variable. Time from consultation to biopsy may depend on what technique is going to be used for the biopsy- needle? bronchoscope? surgical? It will depend in part on the size and location of tumors. After they have the sample, it could take a few days to a week for initial pathology and longer if they are going to send it for tumor genetics (molecular testing), which they should do if the biopsy is positive for cancer. That extra info is essential for treatment planning.

You might want to consider seeing a pulmonologist also, as well as the thoracic surgeon . I was referred to a pulmonologist first and got a lot of information from her, and then was referred to the surgeon.  I know you're really wanting to get something done ASAP. You can use your waiting time (sometimes waiting is the hardest part) to get as much information as you can so you know what questions to ask the doctor(s). If you haven't been to the main Lungevity website, that's a good place to start. Here's a link to a place with a list of questions for doctors: https://www.lungevity.org/for-patients-caregivers/asking-right-questions/questions-to-ask-your-healthcare-professionals. Near that on the site is Lung Cancer 101, which I also recommend.

Please let us know what other questions you have and how we can support you.  Also keep us up to date on how your doing and  what you find out. We'll be  here for you.

Bridget O

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Thank you, ladies, for the replies. I do have someone to come with me to appointments, thank God. I can't imagine someone having to go through this alone, it's unthinkable. As far as seeing a Pulmonologist, isn't that automatically part of the process? I just assumed it would be... I was told first step is Thoracic surgeon for biopsy and absolutely nothing further can be done without it. Should I independently see a Pulmonologist?? Sorry, just confused and overwhelmed by the steps.

I did reach out to my primary doc for anti anxiety meds, I'm going to need them to even walk through the door to my next appointment. As I said, as of now my symptoms are mostly psychological. So many things running around in my head. It doesn't help that I'm not the type of person to go to the Dr. so I don't unless I have to. One reason is that I just don't like it, in fact, I hate it. More than that is because there have been several instances where my family members and myself have been misdiagnosed on various things. My mom died due to a misdiagnosis.

Fifteen years ago I had pain on right side of my abdomen, just wouldn't go away.  Doc assumed gallbladder, had that out but they said it didn't appear diseased - then why take it out? Surgery for nothing. Still in pain.... had endoscopy and colonoscopy, found nothing. Went back to doc several times and finally was told the pain was in my head and I needed to go to pain management. This whole thing was over a 3 yr period. I never asked for pain meds, I just wanted to know where it was coming from because I knew it wasn't normal. Finally my daughter who was in nursing school told me "Mom, go to your Dr. and insist that they look at your kidney, just do it". Made an appt. told doc that I wanted my kidney looked at, she acted like I was crazy but just to appease me, she placed order for scan of kidney. Well, well, well..... the kidney stone inside my kidney was currently 1.2 cm - (yes that's cm not mm) that's a huge kidney stone! It was rattling around in there, way to big to pass and was causing spasms in various places.

So in a nut shell, I generally don't like doctors and I most definitely don't trust doctors, making all of this more difficult to work through. I feel like getting a good doc or in this case getting a good team of docs is like the lottery. They are out there but will I be blessed enough to fall into their care? 

Thanks again!

Ann

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Hi, Ann, and welcome.

Sorry you got such scary news in such an unexpected way.  While it wasn't optimal, there's no non-scary way to find out you may have lung cancer.  I was in a screening program, specifically checking for issues, and it was still a shock and upsetting.

Obviously, further testing is necessary to find out what exactly is going on.  But maybe this will help put some of it in perspective.  You have two nodules with a suspicious appearance.  The good news from what you know so far is that they are still fairly small, and they are in the same lobe.  And the "something doesn't look right" in the mediastinum could be anything.  Lymph nodes enlarge to fight infection, too, so it's way too soon to assume you "probably" have metastatic cancer.  What you're describing could very well still be early stage cancer.  So try not to get ahead of yourself.  

As awful as waiting is, a couple of weeks or more is not unusual to get the information necessary.  As important as it is to get on top of this right away, it isn't like a heart attack where seconds count.  You want the doctors to have all the information necessary to make the best treatment recommendations.

Yes, reading up on lung cancer to arm yourself with enough information to ask the right questions is a valuable use of your time right now.  

And I'm going to suggest one other thing--work on quitting smoking.  Absolutely NO judgment here toward smokers--I didn't quit until I started my lung cancer screenings (about a year before I was diagnosed).  I was a heavy smoker for over 40 years.  The thing is, the sooner you quit, the sooner your lung function will begin to improve, which is important in the event of surgery and recovery.   And, of course, if it turns out you DO have cancer, you certainly want to get yourself as healthy as possible and not to add to any damage already done.  Nobody KNOWS why some people get cancer and others don't--and you don't have to be a smoker to get lung cancer.  But it certainly does pose a risk factor you don't need right now.

Hang in there--there is a lot of collective knowledge and support on this forum.

Teri

 

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Ann,

We share commonality in our diagnostic adventure.  I was diagnosed in an ER but my GP admitted me to hospital where I had all my diagnostic testing, including a failed bronchoscope procedure to biopsy my tumor.  After discharge, I waited about  2 weeks for a thoracic surgeon consult for biopsy, then 2 weeks for results, then when told my cancer was inoperable, then back to my GP,  then 2 weeks to see an oncologist that I'd seen in the hospital.  Throughout this period, I was coughing blood.  Once I got diagnosed (type and stage) things moved quickly but waiting was still the order of the day -- week -- month.  But waiting and uncertainty and coping with both were new skills I had to learn.  In truth, after nearly 14-years of surviving my lung cancer diagnosis, and attendant treatment mayhem, I see my oncologist two times a year and still wait and fume and fuss and worry.  I use the word Scanziety to describe this special kind of uncertainty.  Most of the cancer community uses scanxiety but I'm wedded to my spelling because I wrote a book about it.

You've received lots of good counsel from others. I share this essay I wrote years ago that may help you through your diagnostic and early treatment journey.  I particularly suggest you abide by the information in steps 5, 6 and 10.  Susan's suggestion of pharmaceutical help is valuable but ensure you consult with your GP. Bridget's suggestion of reading into lung cancer is one I strongly endorse. And, of course, if you are still smoking, Lexie's recommendation is spot on.

On February 4th, I will have lived 14 years beyond my late-stage Squamous cell non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis.  I've had about every treatment a lung cancer survivor can endure.  I had four treatment failures; six if one is inclined to count two failed thoracic surgeries.  Ten if tracheal stent procedures are counted. I even had 18 weeks of a Targeted Therapy treatment (Tarceva) before doctors realized it wouldn't work on Squamous cell lung cancer.  So, I've acquired lots of experience.  Your take-away from my experience might be: if I can live, so can you.

Stay the course.

Tom

 

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Good morning,

Thanks for the reply, Tom. Quitting smoking, for me, is a given. I've been a sold half pack per day smoker for 30 years. This past week I can count how many puffs I've taken. Of the times I've quit in the past and times I've tried to, I have to say that being diagnosed with lung cancer is the best tool for motivation and the best tool for cravings. I hope to be down to zero puffs before the week done.

Great essay, information is key for sure and I'm grateful there are folks such as yourself volunteering time to respond to folks who are petrified of their future. The good attitude, though I am in agreement with you and I believe attitude is key in all aspects of life, I'm going to have to dig really deep..... guess I'll have to fake it til I make it on that one. Having a hard time picturing myself skipping into a thoracic surgery appointment.

I'll return to read the different links you've provided, thanks again for your input.

Ann

 

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I don't think ANYONE skips into thoracic surgery--or chemo, radiation, or anything else involving lung cancer.  

What helped me was to try to keep the possibilities in balance.  My pulmonologist (who was doing the screening and first pegged my nodule as suspicious) told me, in response to my question, that there was a possibility the nodule was benign, but it was a very small probability--maybe two percent.  So I knew going in that chances were that SOMETHING was going to happen.  At that point, I read up and found out that if the cancer is small and limited, there's a chance I would have the surgery and nothing further.  The likelihood of that increased when I had my PET/CT scan and the suspicious nodule was the only thing that "lit up."  Now, that didn't guarantee there would be no cancer in the lymph nodes, but still, it was reason not to get carried away till I knew more.  

I was lucky enough to have a surgeon I absolutely LOVED, who explained everything in a very factual, yet reassuring way.  He explained what they would do, step by step, and what would likely follow if this or that turned out to be the case.  

When the pathology was done, after the surgery, my cancer was staged as "officially 1b" (which my surgeon disagreed with because he felt the pathologist misinterpreted the specimens due to the way they had been cut--pathologist believed the tumor had invaded the pleura--the lining of the lung--and surgeon disagreed based on what he'd seen during surgery).  So they had to go with what the pathologist said, but even so, 1b gave me an option as to whether to receive chemo after surgery.  Based on surgeon's recommendations, and everything I had read, I opted for no further treatment.  I have scans every six months to be sure everything remains good, and I still have two or three non-suspicious nodules they will continue to monitor.

I'll admit I still get nervous going in for those scans.  But I also know that there's a good chance that the surgery completely cured the cancer.  

And the other thing that helped me was seeing how the people on this forum have managed their illness.  Sometimes it takes a while to hit on the most effective treatment, but there are a lot of long-term survivors here.  And new treatments are being developed all the time.  So I choose to hope for the best and know that if, at some point, things go south, there are a lot of options and a lot of success stories.  I choose to be grateful I KNOW about this threat to my health, so I can do something about it, rather than remaining blissfully ignorant until it's too late.

So, no, it never gets to the point where any of us is happy or casual about lung cancer.  It's serious stuff.  But it really IS possible to develop a mindset that allows you to keep living your life.

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Oh, one other thing--depending on where the tumor is (and other factors), surgery isn't always the ordeal it used to be.  I (and quite a few other folks here) had VATS (video-assisted thoracic surgery), which is a laparoscopic procedure.  I have three tiny incisions on my side/back--no huge scar, no rib-spreading.  Believe it or not, they can remove the entire lobe of a lung that way--it's AMAZING.  I was out of the hospital after a couple of days (though I had to return for just a few more days because of a minor air leak that caused my neck and face to swell up--not dangerous, but uncomfortable).  I was able to go out with friends to dinner and a concert less than two weeks after my surgery.

And I have no lingering effects from the surgery--no shortness of breath or pain.  I feel a small twinge when I have a sharp intake of breath, but I wouldn't call it pain--and it's momentary.  

So just one other thing to consider in terms of dialing down the anxiety--it's worth trying to find a surgeon who can do VATS, if your condition permits.

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I agree with LexieCat about VATS . I was out of the hospital the day after surgery, with a drain in place. Within a couple of days I was waliking around my neighborhood , wearing an oversized raincoat to cover the drain tube and bag. Pain wasn't major, and went away almost entirely once the tube was out (10 days). 

Bridget O

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Thank you, all of you, I'm SO scared of all of it. So many emotions, I have a strong faith, believe it or not. I know God is with me and I know Jesus heals so I'm feeling guilty for letting fear and doubt creep in. One minute I'm all positive & one minute I'm sure I'm going to die soon.

I truly hope I can offer help to others some day. Honestly my initial thoughts were thoughts of anyone going through this alone and that breaks my heart. For the past week though I've read a steady stream of stories of hope and NED cases, yet there are so many very sad stories, so many people feeling so lonely. 

I have SO much to be grateful for, a huge one being that I have an amazing boss and I can work from home as long as I need to and so much more to be grateful for. I'm pressing in to that, trying to keep my focus on the good.

Thanks,

Ann

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You'll handle it fine, I'm sure.  I think most of us are a lot more adaptable than we think, when stuff happens and there's no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  

Just keep us posted as you find out more--we've got your back (and your lungs). :)

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Ann,

I have been following your story and wanted to chime in from a caregiver's perspective.  As a caregiver for my mom, I found it helpful for the both of us for her to share her thoughts and feelings with me.  It helped her to get some emotions off of her mind and it helped me to know I was helping by just listening or making her laugh for 2 seconds.  We have both found it therapeutic, in a weird sort of way.  It's also been beneficial in that I can either remind her what doctor's have said (she has MAJOR chemo brain right now) or just give a different perspective on things.  

I hope that you have at least one person you can vent to (besides us! And we are always here for you!).  And I know that others before me have said this, but it is often the diagnosis and waiting to find out what the plan of attach will be that is the worst.  My mom has always said, "Now I know what I have to do and now it's time to do it".  Once we have a treatment plan in place and get down our new routine, we can cope much better.  You can make it through all of this waiting and lingering questions just as all of the other warriors on this site have done.

Take care,

Steff

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Good morning,

The journey... just updating and I have a couple of questions. I had a PET on Thursday and a Bronchoscopy/EBUS on Friday. They biopsied 2 lymph nodes, Doc states they got plenty of tissue for pathology. I have an appointment scheduled with Doc on Thursday to go over results of both.

Prior to the procedure, the Doc said that they do a rapid test here and now and can sometimes confirm the presence of cancer cells but no detail of type etc. He asked if I wanted to know the results of the rapid test, saying 50% of people do want the information and 50% do not. I chose not to be told any rapid test information - 1. I wanted more time for hope that I do not have cancer. 2. For me, confirmation that cancer is present in my body and not having further details would have sent me into a psychological hurricane. It was a solid 14 days to come out of the psychological hurricane brought on by ER visit.

I was visualizing my biopsy... a needle puncturing a lymph node that potentially contains cancer cells. Then dragging that tissue/cells back up through "clean" bronchial/airway passage. Common sense tells me that this process could spread the cancer throughout the path that needle took. Does anyone have any knowledge or thoughts on this?

My other question is.... I've only been seeing a pulmonologist thus far. After my appointment to go over results of biopsy & PET, if cancer is confirmed, what is the next step? Does the pulmonologist decide on treatment? Still so confused by the process.

I'm trying to refrain from general internet searching, I've found that doing so brings me more anxiety & fear. Hoping to hear from some of you wonderful warriors!

Last, I want to share a positive testimony. By nature I am an anxious person. I get anxiety when I have to drive to an unknown address. I was incredibly fearful of the PET scan and even more fearful of the bronchoscopy. I spent extra time reading scripture and in prayer.  Knowing God's mercy and grace, I knew this would be my best and only chance of having that fear taken from me. I can't even explain the peace that came over me the day of PET scan, it was the peace that Jesus promised to all of us, the peace that surpasses all understanding. That peace carried through my biopsy procedure and as it turns out, the whole experience was SO much easier than I anticipated. 

Thank you all for your support! You are truly a blessing to so many..

Blessings,

Ann

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Ann Had similar experience at the ER Early one morning last September took x-ray and four hours later the young intern said I had shadow on my left lung and said it could be cancer or maybe asbestosis  and TB Was a concern and I he would schedule me for ct scan and should se my GP asap. All at 7am in the morning.  lol

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Hey, Ann,

Glad you got the testing out of the way.  We all process things differently--I always like to know what's knowable at each point.  I didn't have a biopsy, but I was happy to have my PET/CT results that showed an increased likelihood the nodule was cancerous (with no confirmation and no idea what type it would turn out to be), but also showed no other "hot spots" lighting up (meaning in all likelihood there was no spread beyond the one probably-cancerous nodule).  

My pulmonologist worked in an MD Anderson Cancer Center.  He examined the initial CT scan (before the PET/CT) and determined that my nodule, which had enlarged since the previous year and was spiculated in appearance, was almost certainly cancerous.  He estimated there was maybe a two percent chance that it wasn't.  He immediately referred me to a surgeon there, who explained to me that with an early cancer located where mine was, surgical removal of the nodule (and, once cancer was confirmed, the entire lobe) offered the best shot at a total cure of the cancer.  Now, there do exist other kinds of treatments (radiation, etc.), but those are generally not as effective and are done only when the patient can't tolerate the surgery or surgery isn't possible due to location, size, etc.  

So the surgeon then ordered the PET/CT, and if it had shown there was metastasis going on, then I probably would have had chemo before any surgery would be contemplated.  So in my case (and I'm very confident I'm in good hands at this particular Cancer Center), it went on sort of an "if-this-then-that" approach.  Also, if something showed up during surgery that was unexpected, the course of the surgery might have been affected.  I felt like my doctors all knew what they were doing, and knew which ones should step in at which point.  

After my lobectomy, I was referred to an oncologist.  He examines my every-six-month scans, and if there is ever a recurrence or signs of a new cancer or metastasis, he's the expert on chemo, which would likely be the next step.  

So depending on the results of your biopsy and PET/CT, your pulmonologist will probably refer you either to a surgeon or to an oncologist.  You are always the one who ultimately DECIDES on treatment (within medical reason), but the pulmonologist will probably have some initial thoughts on what the usual best course of action would be and refer you accordingly. 

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Hi Ann,

I'm glad to hear that you are on the path to soon finding out what's going on cancerwise. In regard to your questions, I don't have any reliable knowledge about needle biopsies causing cancer spreading. Although I feel your thoughts on it make total sense, I can say that there has never been any warning given to my mom about the spread of cancer in any of her needle biopsies - and she has had several.

As far as next steps, I can share my mom's experience as it seems similar to others here. Both of my mom's initial concerns of lung cancer came from her pulmonologist and both were cancer. The pulmonologist did the biopsy and gave the results to us. My mom was then sent over to an oncologist for more scans. After all diagnostic tests were complete, we were told she had cancer and what type and stage they believed it to be. Her information was then taken to a cancer tumor board where they discussed her case and decided on an initial treatment plan. Once that was decided, the oncologist discussed the options for treatment and it went from there. You will probably be working with several different types of docs if you do have lung cancer. My mom has a surgeon who removed her lung lobe and has placed chest tubes. She also regularly sees an eye doc because of issues that have popped up during treatment, as well as, will be soon seeing a podiatrist because she is losing her toenails, likely from chemo. Her oncologist makes regular referrals to other docs depending on her current issue just to make sure all opinions are accounted for. But her main team is her pulmonologist and oncologist. 

I really love the way you described the path of dealing with possible cancer diagnosis - a psychological hurricane. I don't know that you can describe it any better. Do know that many of us feel that the waiting in the beginning is nearly as bad as being told "you have cancer". Once the diagnosis and decision for treatment happens, the steps after that happen much quicker.

Hope this helps a bit.

Take care,

Steff

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Oh, just one other bit of information that I'd wondered about in the beginning.  I asked my surgeon why the usual practice (when possible) was to remove the entire affected lobe, rather than just removing the part with the nodule.  What he told me was that removing the entire lobe basically removes all the pathways (blood/lymph vessels) that any stray cells could use to travel elsewhere.  And honestly, I've not noticed ANY changes to my breathing as a result of removing the lobe.  If your lung function is basically good, the remaining lung tissue takes over just fine, which made the surgery a simple procedure for me.

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Thanks for replies, every case sure is unique! I'm under the impression that my nodules are in a place not easy to get to (upper right back of lung). I'm intrigued by the different initial techniques the different doctors navigate to. At this time I'm feeling I would want a confirmation through pathology report before opting for surgery but as you all well know, what we think today does not determine what we think tomorrow!!

I actually have another question. If it turns out I need surgery, treatments etc., I will need to apply for short term disability through my employer because I've already used so much of my sick/vacation time. I pay into long term disability insurance as well. I've read that it can sometimes be a challenge to get the disability insurance to approve the leave. Is it common and/or considered acceptable/valid to take a medical leave of absence for cancer treatment? I'm very concerned about the stories I've read where the leave was denied, sometimes simply due to the application with doctor's notes not using the correct language... or something like that..

 

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Ann,

First let me wade in about the trail of cancer cells in your body after needle biopsy of a lymph node.  If the node has active cancer, the cells are already in the lymphatic system.  

As to your disability (short and long) question, eligibility information is usually contained in your policy language.  I had both short and long term disability coverage and exhausted both because of my year-long surgical battle (three thoracic surgeries, four stents and a pulmonary embolism).  My HR department did the application but my coverage kicked in after 7 consecutive sick-days while under medical care.  I'd read your policy terms and conditions concerning coverage. 

Stay the course.

Tom

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Regarding the disability, I have a feeling what you read that is sometimes "difficult" to get is SSDI--social security disability insurance.  THAT can take a while, because of the regulatory requirements to prove that you meet the criteria for SSDI.  It's a totally different thing from policies you might have through your employer or your state government.  As Tom said, the language in the policy controls.  I had a seven-day waiting period, but after that it was no problem.  I only got two weeks' worth of payments (short-term disability) because I was out of the office a total of three weeks (one of which was the surgery and associated hospitalization).  Depending on the surgery you get (if you have surgery), you can bounce back pretty quickly.  Once you know what treatment you're likely to be getting, your doctor can give you an idea how long you might be out.  One suggestion, though, as soon as you know details (like date of surgery and predicted recovery time), get the ball rolling with the application process.  There's some paperwork involved, and your doctor will probably have to fill out some forms, too.

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It's a good idea to get a biopsy before surgery if possible. In my case it wasn't possible because of the location of the nodule. It couldn't be reached by either needle or bronchoscope. Also it didn't light up  on the PET scan. So the decision had to be based on the judgment of several doctors about the appearance of the nodule. 

If you're applying for any kind of insurance benefit that requires a doctor's statement, it can be helpful to let the doctor know what your policy language is.For example, does "disability" mean you can't do your current work or you can't do any work?  I'm not  suggesting at all that your doctor wouldn't tell the truth in any case, but often the truth can be phrased in a number of different ways, and using the right words can help.

Bridget O

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BridgetO That is good point on  my first biopsy  the doctor said when I awoke the location was problem and the results later came up negative. He then ordered a needle  aspiration and that also came up negative  .He then said he would like to do another bronchoscope. with different machine ? and this time he got results and set the ball rolling for cancer treatment.

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