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Constant cough


Pauline

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Hi everyone wasnt sure where to post. I have a 7.1 cm rounded opacity in my left upper lung. I found out last Sunday then was refered to a pulmonologist for a consultation but he was out of my ins network. I am so scared I cant even function right now. About 11 months ago I had covid I developed pnuemonia and recovered I had an x ray it was clear other than the pnuemonia in my lower right lung. 

I developed a dry cough about a month ago maybe a bit longer. After 2 weeks of coughing I was told it was a sinus infection and given antibiotics and a inhaler. The cough persisted and was getting worse so I went to the ER where they did an xray and ct scan with iodine.I said I had an xray it was clear The doctor said oh they would have seen this for sure. Then the doctor and nurse told me and acted like I was the walking dead.

I am just scared filled with guilt as I use to smoke. I used vaping to quit smoking. I am 47 years old I feel so stupid.

My question is what can I do for this cough the doctor gave me benzonatate 1000mg he said I can take 2 at a time but they dont help much. I am losing my voice from coughing is there anything at home I can do that might help? 

 

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Hello and Welcome Pauline,

That cough.  Yes, many of us are very familiar with it & “the pearls”  never worked for me.  There are opiate based cough syrups that can be prescribed if nothing else works.  
There are a number of over the counter cough drops like Fisherman’s Friends that might help for the short term.  You might want to try few brands until you can get into the pulmonologist. 
 

If you were referred to an out of network pulmonologist, I’d recommend calling the insurance company to get a list of in network doctors.  Be sure to confirm the network status before your appointment as insurance companies are notorious for not maintaining current network reports. 
 

Try and not to worry too much while going through the diagnostic process, there’s a lot of necessary tests that can take between 4-6 weeks.  Today lung cancer is treatable with various options.  Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, no one deserves it.  People who have not smoked are being diagnosed an at increasing rate….

Please keep us posted and let us know what other questions you have… that’s what we’re here for. 
Michelle

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When I was first diagnosed, my pulmonologist prescribed Robafen for my cough. I used to use it all the time until I had treatments and my cough disappeared. In November I developed a dry cough again but it turns out that it's from nasal allergies/post-nasal drip which I believe are caused by the drug I take for my lung cancer. 

Michelle gave you great advice. You said you had a CT scan with contrast. Did you get those results? 

Don't beat yourself up over this. We all are frightened at the possibility of lung cancer, especially when there's such a negative reaction from medical professionals. But lung cancer treatments have come a long way in the last few years and doctors now have lots of options to help us survive and thrive. 

Let us know how you make out. 

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Pauline,

First, take a deep breath. In this response, I'm going to suggest things you can do at home to help with coughing, and then I have questions about your post for clarification, and I will offer useful information for the diagnosis process that likely that you'll experience. 

In addition to taking your medication as prescribed, I suggest two things I did to reduce my coughing fits. I took hot "steam showers" several times a day; the steam soothed my airway. While steam did not eliminate my coughing, it stopped the "coughing fits". Then, I used Halls citrus drops almost constantly. Again, this did not stop the coughing by gave me some relief. But the Halls drops helped relieve the losing my voice symptom. 

Now for my questions--you report a 7.1 cm rounded opacity in the left upper lung. Is that opacity centimeters or millimeters? Did that finding result from a CT scan or an x-ray? 

I was a smoker and an x-ray in an emergency room showed a very large tumor in my right lung. A more precise CT scan yielded a 8.9 cm tumor in my right main stem bronchus. Then after a biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of non small, squamous cell, cell lung cancer I was both afraid and felt guilty about smoking.  I now realize fear and guilt were nonproductive reactions. These feelings didn't contribute to a clear mind and rational thought. That is what you need to develop.

Right now, you have a large mass; you do not have lung cancer. Lung cancer can only be confirmed by a tissue biopsy. The results from your tissue biopsy, if confirmed as lung cancer, will identify the type of disease. If the biopsy yields a cancer diagnosis, another imaging test, a positron emission tomography or PET will likely be performed to determine the stage of your disease. Before treatment can be devised, both the type and stage of lung cancer must be known. I know, this is a lot of information to process. But, that is why a clear mind and rational thought is necessary. You've got a new vocabulary to learn as you go down this diagnostic path, and knowledge is power in countering this disease (if you have it).

I've survived more than 17 years after diagnosis with stage IIIB, non small cell, squamous cell, lung cancer. I was diagnosed in the treatment dark ages, well before the emergence on new targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Both of these have had a remarkable effect on treatment and outcomes. So, I suggest that if you do have lung cancer, consider that if I can live, so can you. Here are my thoughts on survival strategies. 

None of us are physicians but most of us are very experienced lung cancer survivors who've experienced every method of treatment for this disease. We will help you understand terms and conditions and suggest things you might ask your doctors as you navigate the diagnostic and treatment trail. You are not alone.

Stay the course.

Tom

 

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