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gayle

forebodeing, guilt and paralysis

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I have been lurking here for a couple of days and am impressed by the courage, strength and support that is in this forum.

I don't know where to start, or even if I belong here, but I feel so frightened that I have to do something, so will introduce myself.

I am 49, and have smoked since I was a teenager. 4years ago I was diagnosed with asthma, and have struggled to quit smoking ever since. My father is 72 and has COPD, he hasn't smoked since he was 45. My maternal uncle died of LC at the age of 57.

I have long known that I need to quit smoking, that I certainly would be/am a strong candidate for any host of lung problems, including LC, but somehow that knowledge has not been enough to keep me quit.

Throughout this past winter I had two very bad colds that settled in my lungs. Had antibiotics for both and both improved. The last one was the worst in March. Four months later I still have a cough and alot of chest tightness, along with wheezing, and some episodic rails in what feels like my left lung.

I have no pain, just tightness and wheezing. Also no blood in sputum, or any other symptoms.

I have talked to my Dr and he thinks that for whatever reason, my asthma has gotten worse. I on the other hand have begun to fear that something far more serious is going on, either emphysema or LC.

I know I should see a Dr (though my Dr currently does not seem to think this is necessary) but I am terrified to see one and find out it is something horrible, or serious.

A little more history: I got remarried to the love of my life (truly my soulmate) in June of 2001. He lost both his parents to smoking related cancers. We have a beautiful future together, no money worries, shared interests, great joy with each other.

We have a wonderful weeks vacation planned in 2 weeks, in vegas, which will include a vow renewal. I have been so looking forward to this and part of me is trying to forget my fear and foreboding until after that trip. I bargain with myself, and God, that I will see a Dr. right after we get back if these symptoms have not gotten better.

I feel so scared, so guilty, and so full of remorse that I have not quit smoking and that my lovely husband, who adores me, and needs me, may lose me due to my addiction, weakness etc.

Sorry if I am babbling, I have so many thoughts and fears running through my mind and such a sense of paralysis to find out what is going on, but I wanted to share and open myself up to your insights and support.

Many thanks,

gayle

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Hi Gayle,

Sounds like you have a lot of anxiety and worry that is consuming your life at this time. I'm really sorry.

I'm not going to comment too much on the smoking issue, even though it is one I am quit passionate about lately. I realize it is a hard addiction to quit. However, as my husband often says, the only real way to succeed at quitting smoking is to 100% want to quit. You need to want it more than anything else. More than sanity, more than relaxation during stressful times etc... Otherwise you are doomed to fail anytime life gets a little rough. There are aids and perscriptions out there to help with some of the side effects. But those only go so far. If you don't have the complete committment than you will not quit. I really wish you would, because as the wife of someone going through lung cancer, I can tell you that I've never hurt so much, been in so much pain and heartache, never cried as much and can't imagine a worse thing than LC. If you love your husband, and soulmate, as you say you do, you would do ANYTHING to spare him this pain. Enough said on that issue.

As far as what is going on with your health, I would urge you to go and get a chest scan. With your family history, and personal history, I would advise to err on the side of caution. This is possibly your life. I would go today! Not knowing doesn't make cancer go away. And not knowing doesn't seem to be alleviating any of your anxiety and mental suffering. So what do you lose? Nothing! What do you gain? Hopefully peace of mind that you do not have LC. The ability to truly enjoy your trip without a nagging feeling in the back of your mind. If for some reason, the results are negative, then at least you can possibly catch something in an earlier stage. Staging in LC means a lot! I would give Everything I own to be able to have caught my husbands LC in an early stage where surgery or something that has a higher cure rate was an option. Some lung cancers grow so fast that two weeks time can mean a doubling of tumor mass. Three weeks can mean the difference between cancer in an isolated spot to cancer spread through other organs. A month can mean the difference between controlling cancer into remission, and no options.

If your doctor doesn't think investigating is necessary, go to a different doctor. I bet that doctor's opinion would be different if it was him, or his wife/mother/loved one.

If nothing else, Run don't walk, to get the tests done.... to ease your mind.

Best wishes, and praying for clean results,

Carleen

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Hi Gayle,

It seems like you have a lot going on right now...and your story of you and your husband is amazing. But....please,please, please go to a doctor to have a ct scan...it may turn out to not be cancer...but Carleen couldn't have said it better..I would give the world to be able to go back and catch my mom's cancer earlier

She is 45 years old, and in Stage IV....and what we all know is that this diagnosis is not a death sentence, but we would give everything we have to have it be an earlier, more medically managable stage. Go to your doctor now...do not wait any longer.

As for the smoking thing, it is something that is so incredibly hard to talk about. I lost my grandma (mom's mom) to SCLC just a year and a half ago at the very young age of 61. After her funeral, my entire family lit cigarettes on the back porch of her house and made false promises to quit themselves.

But of course, as we all know..cigarettes are the most addictive drug in existence..and fear of this disease does not stop us from lighting one after the other. We've given our money and our health to companies and CEO's salaries....My father still smokes...as we watch our family fall apart from lung cancer. I've come to compare nicotine with crack.

I quit myself...just a few days after grandma's diagnosis...

So, Ill get off my soapbox...but please think about the power we've given cigarettes over our lives...

Not everyone who smokes gets cancer...and NO ONE deserves this horrible disease...but eliminating cigarettes from our lives is a step in the right direction.

Good luck to you and your family..Please come back often and keep us updated

Laura

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Thank you Carleen and laura for your wisdom and support.

My husband is on a business trip until Thurs, and I have a phone message in to him at his hotel to call when he gets in.

Even though I am very frightened and apprehensive, I know I need to get this checked before our wonderful trip, as at the very least, all this worry will impact our enjoyment of this time together.

I spoke with my Dr, and expressed my concerns and he scheduled an appt for Friday, in hopes that my husband can go with me as I don't think I can do this alone. I don't know if this has any bearing on anything, but my Dr. reminded me that I did have a chest xray in Oct, and that everything looked clear. I guess that is a small consolation, but the cough I have has since the last bug is different, and my left lung feels different, so I am glad my Dr is at least willing to address my concerns.

I will keep you posted, and keep all of you, as well as my dear husband and self, in my prayers

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Gayle,

Everything that Carleen said plus, it's what you DON'T know that hurts you. A quick diagnosis of either emphasema or lung cancer makes a huge difference. So glad you made the appointment.

Let us know what happens.

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Gayle,

I think it is a good idea that you get this checked too! Your Dr. is probably right and it is nothing (since last x-ray in Oct) but it is better to be safe than not and get this stress and worry out of the way before your trip.

Just FYI, my husband had a cough & chest pain(& still does) forever and after a gazillion doctors, specialists, etc...he was found to have adult asthma, allergies and an ulcer. It's a handful, but FANTASTIC compared to what we thought it could be.

Good luck, and will be praying for you!

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GAYLE,

I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, AND HOW VERY SCARY JUST NOT KNOWING CAN BE. NOV 12,2001, I GOT LAYED OFF FROM A JOB I'D HAD FOR 13 YEARS. ID ALWAYS BEEN VERY HEALTHY, NEVER WENT TO THE DR. EXCEPT FOR YEARLY PHYSCAL. DEC. 13,2001, MY FATHER DIED FROM A MASSIVE HEART ATTACT, AND SINCE HE DIED AT HOME THEY DID AN AUTOPSY. THEY FOUND HE HAD LC, IT WAS ALREADY IN HIS LYPHNOIDS . MY DAD AND I WERE VERY CLOSE, WE WORKED TOGETHER, ETC...HE HAD SMOKED SINCE I COULD REMEMBER, IM 47 AND HAD SMOKED SINCE HIGH SCHOOL. I COMPARED MYSELF TO MY DAD AS FAR AS THE SMOKING, NOT REAL SMART, BUT I FIGURED HE HAD SMOKED THIS LONG AND WAS QUITE HEALTHY, VERY VERY ACTIVE THEN I SHOULD BE ALSO.

A FEW WEEKS AFTER MY DAD PASTED AWAY, I NOTICED A PAIN IN MY RIGHT LUNG, MOSTLY WHEN I WAS SMOKING AND INHALING. WENT TO THE DR., HE TREATED ME FOR ASTHMA, I WAS ON STEROIDS, INHALERS ECT...(THIS IS WHEN I RETURNED FROM OKLAHOMA)

I SOLD EVERYTHING AT THE FIRST OF THE YEAR 2002 AND MOVED TO OKLAHOMA, WHERE MY BEST FRIEND LIVED...IN MARCH, MY BOYFRIEND CAME DOWN AND BROUGHT ME BACK, IN THE MEAN TIME I HAD COLD SYMPTOMS I COULDNT SEEM TO KICK.

AROUND THE FIRST OF MAY, I NOTICED MY HEAD AND NECK KEPT SWELLING, COME TO FIND OUT I HAD SUPERIOR VENUS CAVA. MY DR. FINALLY SENT ME FOR "THE XRAY"....I WAS SENT TO THE HOSPITAL, AND ON 5-15-02 WAS DIAGNOSISED WITH LC.

BUT I HAVE TO SAY, IN ALL THE TIME I WAS BEING TREATED, IT WAS LIKE I KNEW IT WAS MORE, I JUST DIDNT WANT TO FACE IT. I WAS NOT SURPRISED AT ALL, ESPECIALLY SINCE MY DAD HAD HAD IT ALSO. MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SEEM TO TAKE ALL THIS SO MUCH HARDER THAN I DO. THATS WHAT HURTS MOST TO ME, TO SEE THEIR FACES, AND HOW THEY THINK THEY ARE HIDING HOW THEY FEEL. EVEN WITH A YEAR PASSING BY, I STILL SEE IT.

NUMBER 1) DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF....EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON, I AT FIRST WAS SO UPSET W/ MYSELF, THAT I LET THIS HAPPEN JUST BECAUSE I WANTED TO SMOKE,...BECAUSE OF THAT, I WILL BE CUT SHORT OF SPENDING TIME WITH MY BOYS. AGES 29-22-18. AND MY DARLING GRANDSON WHO WILL TURN 2 IN JUNE, ALONG W/ ALL MY OTHER FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

WHATS DONE IS DONE, YOU JUST HAVE TO SLOW DOWN, TAKE EVERYTHING IN. I THOUGHT IT WAS GODS WAY OF MAKING ME STOP AND APPRECIATE MY LIFE AND WHAT ALL I HAVE. IVE ALWAYS GOTTEN WHAT I WANT, AND I KNOW I TENDED TO TAKE SOME THINGS FOR GRANITE, UNTIL SLOWLY BUT SURELY THEY ALL STARTED BEING TAKEN FROM ME, STARTING WITH MY JOB, MY DAD AND THEN MY HEALTH. ITS WEIRD HOW LIFE CAN BE.

I SEE AND WATCH PEOPLE, HEALTHY PEOPLE, WHO ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THEIR LIFE BECAUSE OF PETTY THINGS, IF ONLY THEY KNEW.....WEL, IVE RAMBLED ON LONG ENOUGH...BUT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT, YOUR VACATION, ETC. AND THAT THEIR IS NO BLAME PUT ON YOU, BY YOU. ENJOY EVERY SONGLE DAY THAT COMES. GOOD LUCK AND KEEP US POSTED.....RONNA

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