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Session at Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, Lancaster PA


Irka

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Dear Lungevity Friends,

Here’s a recap of my fairly long session on Tues, Apr 16, with Dr. Cziserle, the thoracic surgeon I saw at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute in Lancaster PA. (I prepared this for my immediate family members & thought I’d share it with you all as well.) Dr. Cziserle thoroughly reviewed my case with me & my husband Ken, pointing out on my CT scans the 3 nodules (one in particular) in my right lung that, although smallish, are of concern. He then ordered two additional tests: a brain MRI (to make sure no screws are loose!!!) & a Pulmonary Function Test. These are necessary to get a fuller picture of my condition & possible treatment options.  Before proceeding with any treatment, however, Dr. Cziserle & 11 of his colleagues (including oncologists, radiologists, etc.) will examine my case.  They meet each Thurs to discuss individual cases & reach a general consensus on how best to proceed.  (I've already started to refer to them as the “twelve apostles!”)

The doctor & assistants & everyone we encountered were very welcoming.

And yesterday I had a phone call from one of the assistants at Barshinger.  She has already set up those appointments for me on Thurs, Apr 25, so Dr. Cziserle gets the results in time for my next appointment with him on Tues, Apr 30.  He also indicated I'd get another CT done next month.

This facility appears to be top-notch!

 

Edited by Irka
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Hi Irka!

So nice to hear from you!  I’m thrilled that you landed in the right place.  Sounds like you’ve got the start of a great team in place.  Diagnostics are critical in the development of an effective treatment plan.  

I get happy meds for the brain MRI (aka Valium).  I don’t like closed in spaces or the actual noise, then I take a long nap.  

You might want to ask about what holistic services the clinic offers such as yoga.  

In this case being registered with a cancer center means membership has many benefits! 

Keep us posted!

Michelle

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Sounds like a great team.  An MRI and PFT are standard testing.  I agree with Michelle re MRI. It is confining. I haven’t tried one, but the stand up MRI’s look a lot less confining.  

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Thanks Michelle & Curt for your encouragement.  I had a brain MRI a long time ago.  The hardest aspect for me was holding my head still, even though it was in a cage of some kind!  I have a calming med that I use for anxiety, so that should help.  If necessary I'll take an extra pill. . .

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Michelle,

I think I'll post a longer version of this for all to see & possibly comment.  The recommended course of treatment is robotic-assisted wedge-section surgery to get the small but high-tracer uptake (SUV=6.3) nodule out & biopsied immediately; if cancer, remove completely & possible lymphs.  Then continue to the two larger nodules in upper lung & try to remove & biopsy.  Then it'll get tricky & might have to remove entire upper lobe.

Needless to say I am poop-scared!  Scheduled for May 22.

Irka

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Hi Irene 

Thanks for the update. On the grand scheme of things all seem to be moving in the right direction. The Brain MRI is excellent news!   You will have a number of surgery buddies on this forum to coach you through this time & all your friends here to support you. 

Curt & Lou just had similar procedures, doing very well post op.  

Keep us posted and hang in there.  Hope you love your new home & are getting more settled in. 

Michelle

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Irka I’m a little over 2 month post upper right lobe lobectomy.  It was the same course for me.  Wedge resection and if it was cancer proceed to the full lobectomy.  I was “poop” scared as well. I would probably add a few more superlatives in there to better describe how scared I was.  It was not as bad as I feared.  It is different for everyone but I found it it manageable and it can be a very affective treatment.  I know it’s hard to find things to be thankful for in this, but having the option to have surgery as a treatment is a really positive thing.  @LouT has very recently had surgery.  If you check his profile you can see some of his posts on it.  @LexieCat has also had surgery.  There are others who will probably also share.  Ask whatever questions you have.  We’ll do our best to get you through it.   

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Hi Irka, I had a lower right lobectomy about 2-1/2 years ago. The also took out a bunch of mediastinal (center of the chest) lymph nodes. It was by VATS (video assisted). The surgery went smoothly and was fairly easy, as surgeries go anyway-- any general anesthesia surgery is serious. My recovery was pretty fast, too. The robotic should be as easy on you as the VATS. Open surgery is  harder and has a longer recovery time, ususally. If you have any questions,  My number one recommendation is to get a foam wedge pillow. After surgery you'll be more comvfortable and breathe easier with your upper body (not just head) elevated. I tried to acheive this with other pillows but only ended up with a stiff neck. The wedge was a godsend!

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Hi, there--glad to hear things are moving along!  The surgery itself is nothing to be terrified about.  My C-section was more painful and took longer to recover from.  I notice zero effect on my breathing with my upper left lobe removed.  I feel a tiny twinge if I have a sharp intake of breath (e.g., yawning or sneezing), but it doesn't hurt--it's just a twinge.  

Are you getting settled from the move?

I'd suggest you do whatever physical stuff may still need to be done (unpacking, rearranging, etc.), just because it will be 3-4 weeks before you feel like doing a lot of physical activity.  But I was taking mile-long walks only a couple of weeks after my surgery.  Do your breathing exercises after surgery--that will help speed your recovery.

Seriously--try not to worry.  It's not a difficult surgery from the patient point of view.

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