ColleenRae Posted September 24, 2021 Share Posted September 24, 2021 Hello! I learned in Dec 2016 that I had a suspicious nodule in my left upper lung. It was a watch 'n wait until October 2018. I had VATS to remove the entire left upper lobe. The tumor was still small, around 9 mm, but had progressively gotten more dense. Post-surgical biopsy confirmed it was NSCLC. Stage 1. No lymph node involvement. I felt very fortunate that surgery was the only treatment I required. Since then, I have been getting regular lung CT's as follow-up. My surgeon had told me after surgery that I was "cured". I did not ever quite believe that and felt he was a little too optimistic. Fast forward two years, and he started talking to me about "another small spot" on my upper left lung. He said "we" had been following this since my lobectomy - but he had never mentioned it to me back in 2018. I decided to get a second opinion this past year at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (w/ Univ of WA Med Ctr). (Finally! So many of you advised me to get / asked me why I didn't have an "oncologist"; my surgeon never referred me to an oncologist). The oncologist has been great!!! Wonderful "middle man"; just what I needed! I was advised this is likely cancer just like the last one and that it is growing slow. It has not changed much in size in the past year and the dense portion is very very small. Around 8-9mm. The oncologist ran this past the tumor board. The radiation oncologist and the surgeon both felt they could treat this when I am ready. The oncologist was trying to assist in helping me decide which treatment would work best for my personal situation (live out-of-the area; single parent of adult disabled child). I was told the "efficacy" of either treatment is about the same. I had a consult with the radiation oncologist and he would use SBRT - 4 or 5 sessions every other day. We discussed some of the risks, side effects, issues going forward if I choose RT. I have now asked for a consult with the surgeon as well. I would just like to know more about the impact of both treatments on my future lung function, not just efficacy. I am a bit concerned about "hazy" scans in the future as a result of RT. If I have surgery, the oncologist advised they would need to remove approximately 1/4 of my left upper lobe. So, I'd lose that in addition to the RUL that was previously removed. and the recommendation was to not treat it at this time - as long as I could deal with that emotionally. I felt I could. I just adopted the mindset that cancer - my cancer - is likely going to be a chronic condition. Given my relatively young age (they say!) and past smoking history, I stand a good chance of developing more tumors as I continue to age. I was going to move forward - before the surgical consult - and just proceed with SBRT. But then, life changed, again... We've been wanting / trying to buy a home for a long time. We were buying one last Fall and I backed out after my last scan, due to my fears about another lung cancer. We regretted that decision, as we let a great house go and I ended up not even having any treatment. We just learned of another home and have an accepted offer. I have to find stable, sustainable housing for my son and this is a great opportunity. We don't have to move out of the area. Ticked off the whole checklist. We've been told it will likely take at least 60 days to close (terrible wait for appraisals). I don't see how I could get SBRT - and even less, surgery - before we close and get moved. I know I need to put my health before something material like a house, but I feel I need to take a gamble with this. Housing is an important issue for us and has been very difficult to obtain in our Pacific NW market. Both the oncologist and the radiation oncologist I spoke with said they believe this should not change too much if I wait to get another scan in January 2022, but they can't guarantee it won't see explosive growth or metastasize if I put this off, which I understand. I have never been a gambler, so this is a really tough decision for me to make. They have all said they'd like to put this off for as long as possible, to delay any impact on my quality of life. They said this is not likely to kill me, unless I completely ignore it. So... Am I foolish for not dealing with it now? I have considered just going ahead with the RT but it will cost me a bit to stay in Seattle for approximately 10 days. It would only be about 4-5 hours driving RT each day, but I'm concerned I might get too tired if I drove down each day - plus I can't drive at night (cataracts; I need surgery which I'm postponing due to COVID). So, I think I'd need to stay in a hotel while getting tx. I honestly don't know which treatment option I want. SBRT sounds "easy" compared to having surgery again. I also don't relish the idea of being in the hospital with the COVID surge. I have good lung function right now - according to tests - but I have definitely felt a decrease in my lung capacity since the lobectomy. I also have nerve damage / numbness and hypertrophic scarring (keloid scar) and pain where the incision was made and where the drain tube had been from surgery. Those are additional reasons why I'd lean towards SBRT. I wish I could get SBRT closer to home (there is a hospital affiliated with the cancer center about 45 minutes away that I'd love to go to, but the oncologist said he'd prefer I come to Seattle). I'm concerned about trying to move / close on the house in the event I have any kind of surprise side effects. I also don't want to be run down prior to either treatment I choose. Weather is also an issue. It would be much better to go for treatment now, versus the chance of snow/ice in January. Why couldn't this be easier?!!! Mentally, I'm just fine holding off on this until January. I love being in denial and forgetful (at times) that cancer is even a part of my life! I just hope I'm not foolish in delaying treatment. I'd love to hear from others... If you chose between surgery or SBRT, how scans are for you following SBRT, lung function following either procedure, etc. I really just want to be able to live several more years in good health. I want to be able to enjoy this (hopefully) new home with my son and to know I've done what I can to take care of him. That's why I can't let this house go this time. I just hope my "luck" in watching and waiting on this tumor will continue at least until January. Thanks for "listening"... Love and best wishes to all! Babs, ChiMama and LouT 2 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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