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RATS Surgery Monday


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Hi Everyone:  7 weeks ago, my new internist,  out of an abundance of caution, ordered a CT scan -  I have no symptoms but am a 70 year-old ex-smoker (stopped over 20 years ago) and she spotted in my records that 3 years ago, a CT scan showed a small ground glass patch which at the time was attributed to pneumonia and treated with antibiotics (no follow up suggested).  My internist quickly got me in to see a pulmonologist, I had a PET scan the next day which  lit up the mass.   EBUS showed three clear lymph nodes but was not able to reach the mass for it to be biopsied.  I had several other tests to ensure I was fit for surgery and  met with my surgeon last week.  The outcome was that all the doctors and I agreed that whatever the mass is, it shouldn't be there and it needs to come out and surgery was scheduled for mid October.  Yesterday (Friday) I got a call that there was a cancellation for next Monday, so I'm having RATS (robotic assisted thoracoscopic surgery) very early on Monday morning.  Friday was a whirlwind of pre-op meetings with members of the surgeon's team, cancelling appointments and meetings, etc, etc.    Can't say I'm exactly looking forward to it, but it has to go and RATS appears to be the best solution for my situation (the surgeon has been doing RATS surgery for about 10 years). The mass will be biopsied while I'm in the OR and if it shows cancer, then lymph nodes will also be removed.   I think you're probably all too familiar with the roller coaster of doctor visits, tests, more tests, more doctors' visits and the seemingly interminable waits in between.

I found Lungevity when I was at the lowest point in my life - in a total panic and despair, and to having to wait over a holiday weekend to hear the results of the PET scan.  The positivity of so many of the posts I have read helped me get through that weekend and since then too.  I have learned a great deal about lung cancer, its treatment options and outcomes, but more importantly, I've learned about an entire community out there who know a great deal about the disease and are so supportive.  Thank you.  I'll let you know how the surgery went, hopefully some time next week.


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Hi Anne and welcome. I'm glad you found us. There's an advantage to having your surgery set up on such short notice--less time to be anxious about it. I also had a nodule that couldm't be reached for biopsy and needed to be out of there. I had a lobectomy by VATS and it turned out to be a Stage 1a adenocarcinoma. I was 71 at the time of my surgery and found that it was fairly easy (as surgeries go, anyway) and my recovery was pretty fast with no pain after the  post surgical period.  I think RATS can be comparablyy easy. It's great that your surgeon has so much experience. Best wishes an let us know how it goes,

Bridget O

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Hi, and welcome!  I'd second what Bridget said.  And the way my doctor explained it, about the only difference between VATS and robotic surgery is the equipment and operating room.  The procedure itself, and the outcomes for the patient, are similar.  My doctor (who was young and very well-trained) had a personal preference for VATS, while his colleague preferred robotic.  Either would have been fine for me, but I wanted to go with whatever my doc was more comfortable with.

If it does turn out to be cancer, it sounds like an early "catch" and you might be just fine after surgery.  I go for scans every six months just to make sure everything stays fine, but did not have to have chemo or any other treatment.

Glad the surgery will be over for you so fast.

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