I saw the pulmonologist today. (He was the one who called about the PET scan on Tuesday. He was handling cases for the first doctor I saw last week who is on vacation.)
I liked him. He is referring me to an endocrinologist for the thyroid nodule which also “lit up” on PET scan. It will need to be biopsied. (I see him in 3 weeks unless they get a cancellation. Don’t like waiting - but already have plenty to deal with in terms of the lung!) He feels that the 2 things are not related - which is actually a very good thing. It means that one cancer (if both are cancer) has not spread to the other area. It would be considered “two primary cancers” - rather than starting in one place and then mestastisizing to the other area. That would be bad! The PET scan did not show any other areas beyond the lung and thyroid. Yay!
He is 90% sure that the lung growth is cancer. However, he said it is definitely “curable”. It is very small and has been found very early in a screening CT lung scan. (Please see my last few blogs about this if you haven’t already.) I can not stress enough about important I feel that test was for me. Lucky? YES!!
I took a breathing test yesterday. My lung function tested out as good - which means I can have “direct surgery” - they can go in surgically, biopsy it, and then remove as much as needed to clear the cancer. It may be a just a small section of the growth and some surrounding tissue - or a larger area called a wedge. Again, the growth is small and it is fairly close to the edge of my lower right lobe. It is serious surgery - up to a week in the hospital - but he feels I am in good enough shape for the surgery. Thank God I quit almost 9 years ago - and thank God - and many folks here - that I had that screening test! I realize that there are “false positives” - but in my case this test has probably saved my life! He was so impressed that I had the test.
So - although not the greatest news in terms of having cancer....hearing that it is curable is great. He wants me to be a part of a research study being done in my area to draw blood from people like me who have been diagnosed in the early stages of lung cancer.....in the hopes of eventually discovering commonalities in the blood to eventually develop a blood test to detect lung cancer! Loved the idea of helping others someday....so I said yes.
He is going to consult with the other pulmonologist I met with last week. So - there will be 2 opinions which is good. If Dr. McQuaid agrees with the plan, they will refer me to a thoracic surgeon to do the surgery.
I am doing okay....main problem is some sleeping trouble. But, the more I know about the plan, the better off I am. Thomas3.20.2010 - as I was leaving I asked if he had any suggestions for dealing with the stress of all of this - “mindful mediation” he said as he left the room!
I truly hope and pray that this will not impact my attendance at EX 7! My sister Chris will be here to go with me, so if I can walk - she can drive both of us!