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G.A.M.

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I'm a 66 year old retired software developer. I live in the hills of PA near Pittsburgh and like it very much. I was diagnosed with lung cancer in September via biopsy. Non-small cell. It was discovered during an evaluation for another medical problem. I underwent major surgery the third week of October to remove my gallbladder, appendix and one-third of my colon. I'm just about recovered from that. It's been doctors appointments on doctors appointments. I was also suffering from syncope, still am, and while on the way into the building where my cardiologist's office is, I fell out and woke up with four broken metatarsals in my right foot, like I needed that.

I'm married with two grown sons, scattered hither and yon, and a daughter who is a junior in college.

I've never cultivated a circle of friends or even one friend I can turn to to discuss the thoughts going through my head. My relationships have always been colleagues or acquaintances. My family is gone. So I've come here looking for...I don't know what I'm looking for.

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Hello and welcome G.A.M.  While I’m sorry you had to find us, I’m glad you’re here. This is the club no one ever wants to join.  Having said that, this is a place to learn, find support, laugh, cry and figure out how to live with this disease as a chronic condition.   You can pretty much say anything here without judgement, like the Beatles said, “with a little help from my friends”.

The people here are wonderful and totally get what you’re talking about.   

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G.A.M.,

Welcome here. 

We offer our patient-centric understanding, support in treatment, and information about treatments and side effects. We are not physicians, but few have had lung cancer. Consequently they have no idea what it feels like. We know and understand exactly what you are going through. 

Non small cell comes in several flavors. Which subtype do you have: adenocarcinoma, squamous cell or large cell. Treatments vary for each subtype. Moreover, you didn’t mention your diagnosis stage. Tell us about your type and stage so those of us with similar disease can provide detailed information on our treatment experience. 

Stay the course. 

Tom

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The DX of lung cancer was delivered to me by a doctor based on a CT scan of the torso while in the ER. A single nodule. Upper right lobe. They did a heart cath because my left arm barely had a pulse and the BP was forty points lower than the right. I'd had a single artery (LAD) bypass in 2003. The cath confirmed stenosis in the left subclavian artery. 90% blockage. It needed a stent, but there was a problem placing it because of the bypass. The PET scan came next. After more CT scans and MRI's, they finally found a baseball sized abscess attached to my gallbladder. It was drained and the surgery performed.

Several doctors came by my room to talk to me about the cancer. One was a pulmonologist. A lung surgeon. There was an oncologist. Another semi-retired oncologist. Several were general surgeons who wanted to tell me how the surgeon saved my life and how wonderful she was. I'd yet to meet her, but that kinda told me how serious my condition was. 

Because of the surgery, the doctors all agreed I should be given six weeks to heal before doing anything more. Appointments were made with the circle of doctors I'd need to get signoff from for surgery. I was/am suffering from syncope as well. As I was walking into the building to see my cardiologist, I opened the big glass door and passed out. I woke up with four broken metatarsal bones in my right foot. Eight to ten weeks to heal. That's about January 13th. Surgery was scheduled for the 15th. They told me they'd be able to stage the cancer by looking at the lymph nodes. I didn't get a good vibe from the surgeon or his nattering PA. They seemed too anxious and focused on the results of pulmonary tests which they deemed "marginal." I'd be on O2 therapy for months or years, they said. They gave me the list of risks.

I need to insert here that a brother a couple of years older never woke up when having the exact same surgery 2.5 years earlier. A stroke on the table. They took him off life support ten days later. My anxiety is up there.

My oncologist didn't disagree with surgery, but he gave me other options. I have an appointment with a radiology oncologist on the 7th of January and based on what I hear from him, I may very well bail out of the surgery and go that direction.

I have no idea about the flavor of the cancer. When they did the biopsy, there were some features that pointed to small cell and others that pointed to NSCLC. They submitted it to the "tumor board" at the University hospital to sort it out. The board decided on NSCLC and that was all the information I received about it.

Thanks for your reply. I will have to get answers to the questions it raises.

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Welcome G.A.M, I am sorry to hear you are having a bad time of it. Everyone here is great and are a great source of information and support. I am just starting my own journey, so I do not have a lot to offer in the form of cancer information, but I gladly give you my support and a sympathetic ear. I also have a mixed bag of good ol cancer. Lung tumor is squamous, lymph node has traces of small cell so they will treat for small cell. Wishing you success in treatment

Prayers

Lisa

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Welcome @G.A.M.   I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis and your other difficulties.  You’ve come to the right place for support.  AlL of us are here for the same reason, to give and to get.

Surgery is an affective treatment but it comes with its risks and recovery challenges.  That is why they are focused on the lung function tests.   The uncertainty during the diagnosis phase and treatment planning is stressful.  We are here to listen.  
 

Hang in there.  

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Keep updating. My first diagnosis (after bronchostopy was non small cell in both lungs. Poorly differentiated so they couldn’t tell me sub type. Second opinion at NIC recognized cancer center told me adenocarcinoma. So that helps direct treatment

i learned from this site certain questions to ask!  Keep coming back.  Everyone is pulling for you!

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