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My husband started have sciatica symptoms in May and after 2 ER visits and finally a neurosurgeon consult he was scheduled for ALIF surgery.  While having his pre-surgical chest xray, the results said "findings suspicious for very early left lower lung infiltrate presumably pneumonia."  Our GP prescribed a high does of antibiotics and a 2nd chest xray upon completion of the course of antibiotics.  After the 2nd xray, he still showed signs of pneumonia.  He was given another 5 day round of antibiotics.  As he was otherwise healthy and showed no other symptoms of pneumonia our GP approved him for surgery which was successfully performed on 8/8/18.  Five days of surgery recovery and 5 days of rehab for his back surgery with follow up PT and he is recovering well from his surgery.  On 9/19/18, he started coughing again and said that he thought he had pneumonia again.  Off to the GP.  Another chest xray was ordered.  When she called with the test results, she ordered a CT scan and gave him a referral to a pulmonologist.  The report for the 3rd xray stated, "There is increasing nodularity the left lung base.  There is cardiomegaly.  Mild degenerative changes of the thoracic spine."

While giving us the results our GP used the scary word.  She said that he may need a biopsy.  I don't know if my husband heard this or if he didn't totally process the word since he hasn't commented on it.  I have been freaking out.  The CT scan has been scheduled for 10/4/18 and the appointment with the pulmonologist has been set for 10/11/18.

I know that biopsies can show other things besides cancer but my husband is an ex-smoker (quit 35 years ago), has been a mechanic working on diesel and gasoline engines for 20 years and most recently he repairs snow mobiles and lawn mowers.

Am I worrying too soon?

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I went through very similar circumstances same time last year with a simple x-ray at the emergency dept that started the whole process you are now beginning. The doctors have to be very sure what they are dealing with and the upcoming visit with the pulmonologist and ct scan and then biopsies will confirm which direction to follow for your husband. It took them three biopsies before the could get proper sample in my case. Things will move very quickly once they have all the results at hand. This is great place for questions as most of us have been down this path and you are right to be concerned as I was at 4am in the morning when the doctor told me about my x-ray and scheduled me for ct scan the following week and then the pulmonologist visit. The good part is they found something very early.


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Hi BobsWife,

It's good Bob is getting all this followup testing. Whatever he has, it needs to be diagnosed and treated. It could be cancer. If so, it can be treated.Or it could be something else.Sometimes nodules are caused by infection and sometimes the cause is unknown. Some people have ones that come and go on scans.  It's normal to be freaking out-- there's a big and possibly serious unknown.You'll know a lot more after the pulmonologist sees the CT scan results. They can tell a lot from that. Waiting is sometimes the hardest part. Hang in there! 

Bridget O

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Thank you both for the quick replies.  The internet can be a wealth of information but also make you even more scared.  I have a great support person, dear friend who just retired from 30 years as an nurse in the oncology department of a large teaching hospital with a great cancer center in the Chicago area.  She has kept me off the bridge.  Bob has not brought up the word biopsy.  As I said, he may not have heard our GP say it.  I am keeping quiet about it.  He is still recovering from a serious back surgery and needs to keep positive thoughts in that regard.  Me worrying about the unknown is good enough for now.

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Hi there,

X-rays are pretty unhelpful in terms of visualizing lung nodules.  It's good that he's getting a CT scan, which will provide a much better picture of what's going on with his lung.  Lung nodules can be many things (inflammation, scar tissue, etc.) and MOST of the time they are not cancer.  But it's important to find out what they are, just in case.  If lung cancer is diagnosed and treated early, the outcomes are much more promising.  But we have quite a few long-term survivors who have advanced cancer, too, so try not to get ahead of yourself.  The CT will provide more info and, if appropriate, a biopsy and/or PET-CT will provide even more.

As everyone says, one of the hardest things about dealing with any of this is the waiting for testing, test results, treatment, etc.  Hang in there, you should know more shortly.

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Welcome here.

Are you worrying too soon?  That is a great question.  It devolves into two parts: should you be worried and should you be worried now. Let's tackle the first. The x-ray reported "increasing nodularity" meaning the prior x-ray reporting infultrate (alveoli or air sacks filled with fluid) now shows a nodule-like form.  There are many causes for lung (pulmonary) nodules and here is my go to source for explaining these.  So, at this juncture, I don't think you have enough information to worry.

The CT scan and pulmonologist consultation will add information but it won't be definitive.  Your GP's biopsy suggestion is the only way we have for diagnosing lung cancer.  But, the nodule may not yet be defined enough to biopsy. So a lot of uncertainty remains in play.  I fully admit, the diagnostic phase of lung cancer is maddening.  Tests are performed and answers remain elusive. 

My father told me to only worry about things I could control.  My engineering profession confers the power to control things, and failing my father's advice, I approached lung cancer as something I could control. I discovered Newtonian Mechanics is worthless when applied to biology.  I spent more than 3 years bound up in diagnostic and treatment worry, and all that time and effort didn't affect outcomes to the slightest degree. An Alfred E. Neuman -- "What, me worry" -- approach would have served far better.

Retrospectively, those years of my life were wasted.  Instead of living I worried and worried and worried some more.  There were opportunities for joy and indeed available memories for a lifetime, but I was lost in a sea of worry.  I'll never recover those years.  Thus, my answer to the second part of your great question: you should not be worried now.  You should be planning a vacation, a wonderful family holiday event, or engaging in an activity you both enjoy. 

I do hope your diagnostic process turns out to be a colossal waste of time.

Stay the course.


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Hi, BobsWife,

Welcome to LCSC. I'm glad that you've connected with some of our members and moderators. Please post another update when you can and let us know how you and Bob are doing.

We'll be thinking of you both tomorrow and hoping for good results from the CT!

We are here for you,

Digital Community Manager
LUNGevity Foundation

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Thursday afternoon was the CT scan.  We have not gotten the report yet.  The waiting is hell as you all know.  Thursday 10/11/18 is his pulmonologist appointment.  This is where we are at right now.  I am hoping our GP calls tonight with some news, she has called before on a Saturday night with test results.  

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