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Still worried

Mary Ann Holmes

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I am almost at 4 years since upper right lobectomy for stage 1A3 still have  3 spots of ground glass on left lung one measuring 1.5 cm no solid component but is being watched for change , I have had a hard time feeling like a survivor since this can change to solid and I also still can’t relax knowing I have not hit the 5 year survival rate ,  I thought when I had my upper lobe removed that this was over and I would move on with life easy but I haven’t since reading that I have a 35% chance of it returning and surviving 5 years I thought the survival rate was 86 - 92 % when caught at early stage,  I feel like every ache or pain could be it as I was told there is always a chance of micro metastasis that cannot be seen on a CT scan that show up somewhere else eventually,  I don’t feel positive with this hanging over my head or that this ground glass can change , this diagnosis has turned my world upside down , I lost my mom and her 4 siblings to this all in their 60 ‘s so it’s hard to think that I will be next , it’s a daily fight mentality to push these thoughts away and live life from scan to scan now .   I just don’t know how to cope or plan good things like retirement for my future since this happened. 

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Mary Ann,

Welcome here!

We completely understand how you feel about recurrence uncertainty. I had 5 recurrences in my treatment days, each an assault on body and spirit. Yes, ground glass opacities can change but they can also stay the same. In nearly 20 years of survival, my yearly scan reports small nodules with ground glass opacities!

How did I cope with recurrence uncertainty? I learned how to live in the day without dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. When I wake I have my day to plan, organize, and live. I can cope with a day. My future will bring what it brings and worrying about it won't improve circumstances or outcomes.

Stay the course.


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@Mary Ann Holmes, I hear how afraid you are. I have felt that and I think everybody on this site can say they have, too. The question, I think, is whether you will let the cancer and your fear of it paralyze your life. 

You are someone who has already lived beyond diagnosis and treatment, so I believe you have the wherewithal to learn to live beyond the fear. 

First, (and I'm going to be blunt) please stop putting any faith in statistics. Lung cancer is a disease that affects every individual differently. My doctor won't even tolerate the mention of statistics. I know people who have lived for 10 and 16 years with different stages of LC-- the 16 year survivor with Stage 4. Statistics can sometimes give information about the past, but they don't predict anything. 

You have other factors you're dealing with, like ground glass. I bet we all do. Me, I have lung nodules that come and go, for example. I also have a very potent imagination. I've had to learn that I don't have luxuries that other non-cancer folks do;  I cannot, for example, start any statement with "What if___________" because that is one guaranteed method I can use to cripple myself with anxiety. 

I have seen a counselor every week since my diagnosis. It's helped me work through a lot. You have so much worry, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone for help. Your cancer center may have a clinical social work team that can work with you, or professional recommendations you can follow up on. Mine put me in touch with a number of local survivor groups; I've found a lot of help in getting together with other LC folks.  

I've also participated in Lungevity Zoom conversations among survivors and have benefitted. Here is a page of all the different supports Lungevity offers us. They have a Helpline you can call and regular Virtual Meetups you can attend.

There are a lot of strategies I've learned in the last 2+ years. Probably the most important one has been to surround myself with people who know something about lung cancer. Then, learning to live in the exact moment of time I'm present in allows me to revel in the life I have today. 

It can take some time to find and settle yourself into an emotional center. But you can. And we'll be here, rooting you on! 

Hang in,




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