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C Lynne

Prediagnosis

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Hi everybody. A little over two months ago my dad came down with a horrible cold and cough that just wouldn’t go away. He went to his PCP and was initially diagnosed with whooping cough. He wasn’t getting any better so he went back to his PCP and they did a chest X-ray and determined he had pneumonia. It was at this time that a nodule was found on his lung. The plan was for him to have a CT scan but he couldn’t deal with the coughing any longer and went to the ED. They ended up admitting him and did the CT scan in the hospital.

According to the scan they determined that he has a mass on his kidney that is “definitely” cancerous. He had a collapsed lung and two more masses on his other lung. They had him on oxygen while he was in the hospital because his oxygen level was low. He also had fluid accumulating in his chest so they did a thoracentesis. They released him with an appointment to have a bronchoscopy done outpatient.

I was a little concerned about him being released as he seemed to rely on the oxygen while he was there. However, the respiratory therapist supposedly tested him and said he would be fine. Needless to say he was back in the hospital within 24 hrs because he couldn’t breathe.

This whole thing has been a complete shock to all of us. Overall, my dad has always been healthy and very good about getting routine check ups and blood work done. I don’t understand how nothing has been found until now. I’m pretty naive when it comes to cancer but I’m going to assume he has lung cancer as well which means it’s spreading so this had to of been going on for a while?

This waiting game has been torture but I understand this is all going to be a process. Meanwhile, what can be done to prevent him from continuously going back and forth to the hospital because of his shortness of breath? I don’t understand how two weeks ago he had what we thought was a “cold” but could function perfectly fine and now he can barely hold a conversation without getting winded and even needed a wheelchair to get into the ED. 

Thanks for listening...

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Hi, there, and welcome.

I'm sorry for your dad's situation.  Given that he has a kidney tumor, it may very well be that he actually has kidney cancer that has metastasized to the lung.  Lung cancers rarely spread to the kidney, from what I understand, but it does go the other way.  He will need a biopsy to definitively diagnose it.  Types of cancer are defined by where they start, not where they wind up spreading to.  So in order to treat him, the doctors will have to figure out exactly what kind of cancer he has.  

Hopefully they will get his breathing stabilized.  Is he still in the hospital?

Hang in there--it's frustrating waiting for all the testing to be done, but it's important to do so they can figure out the best way to treat whatever it is he's dealing with.

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C Lynne,

The waiting game is indeed horrible.  Here is a couple of ideas to improve his breathing condition.  His doctor could prescribe inhalers to improve lung function.  The most common of these includes a drug called Albuterol Sulfate.  In the pollen season, I use a nebulizer (breathing treatment device) sometimes 4 times a day to open up my reactive airway and avoid shortness of breath.  

Has he been evaluated for lung capacity?  Such a test requires breathing into a device to measure lung capacity and is commonly used by pulmonologists to predict lung function.  If fact, seeing a pulmonologist may be a path to low O2 resolution.

I do hope his bronchoscopy yields a diagnosis and a path forward.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Thank you everybody for your responses. He was actually prescribed several inhalers including albuterol when his PCP diagnosed him with pneumonia. Before he went into the hospital he did several pulmonary function test and kept failing. 

He went back to the hospital yesterday bc he couldn’t breathe... we found out he has several pulmonary embolisms. Things just keep getting better and better 😔 So now everything’s on hold until they have things situated with the clots.

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