Friday, November 5, 2010

More on My Lung Cancer

Please, even if you've smoked for a long time, try and quit get those black lungs back to a healthy pink.  I've been told by a doctor that it happens in about 2 weeks.  The bad cigarette smell goes away, and the cough clears up in a few weeks too.  Look what you have to look forward to!  A whole new life opens up.  It's amazing. 

I was a rare case, being that I was only 45 when diagnosed.  The type of lung cancer that smokers get is slow growing so you can have it for YEARS before you know it.  Mine had been growing about 2-4 years per my doctor.  I'm ashamed to say that I didn't get to the doctor soon after I noticed it.  I wanted to give it time to go away, and in doing so, I gave it time to grow and slowly start killing me.  Even if you don't have any symptoms, you can have lung cancer.  Insurance companies are finally waking up and allowing CT scans for suspected LC, as CT's do much better at finding LC than x-rays.  Remember in my previous blog I said the x-ray only showed a thickening somewhere.  You could not SEE ANY TUMORS.  I HAD 4 TUMORS PEOPLE!  NONE OF THEM SHOWED UP ON THE X-RAY.  Sorry.  I wanted to emphasize that. 

So, if you are a long-time smoker, go and get checked out.  Chances are you are fine.  However, if LC is found, there are many more treatment options available, including clinical trials that can save lives as well.  These days, they have pin-point radiation and many chemotherapy choices, as well as gamma-knife, Tarceva, etc., etc.  I know of two people who had late stage LC and have survived over 5 years taking Tarceva (a pill), rendering their cancer dormant and they are still going strong.  So, there is hope folks.  Please don't think it's a lost cause, because it's not.  There are Stage 4's out there who have survived.  I wish I had quit sooner.  I smoked my last cigarette the day I was admitted to the hospital for my first chemo.  I haven't smoked since.  And I NEVER will again.  Ok, I'm cancered out.  More later.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lung Cancer at Age 45 (And Still Here at 58 to Tell You About It)

The longer I survive, the more thankful I am.  I had a dull pain in my side for way too long before I had it checked.  I knew exactly what it was.  I was a long-time smoker, the ache was in my lung, and it wouldn't go away; the pain occurred more often and increased in intensity.  "I think I have lung cancer", I told my internist.  "You don't have lung cancer!"  "Yes, I do."  We both looked at the x-ray, and again he said, "I don't see anything!"  Guess what, 2 days later, at 10pm my phone rang, "The radiologist sees a thickening on the x-ray, so I want you to get a special kind of CT scan.  Call my office tomorrow and we'll set it up for you.  It could be scarring, an old infection, etc., etc., but we have to check it out." 

You know what, I didn't cry.  I wasn't shocked.  I just sat there thinking, OK let's get this show on the road....  His call set the wheels in motion.  I really didn't know much about LC treatment and the rigors involved (a blessing in disguise), but I survived heavy duty chemo, enough radiation to make my cell phone ring, major surgery (thoracotomy, lobectomy), and more jet fuel in a different octane just in case some of those little buggers survived the first round.  Let me tell you (and I have read, and I have been told) that lung surgery is as serious or more so than open-heart surgery.  It was by far the hardest of the treatments to recuperate from, and I still to this day, have many reminders.  My fabulous doctors decided to go at me with the big guns and treat me to cure me, rather than administer palliative care.  I was almost a Stage 4 (terminal) patient but I was young and healthy otherwise.  I had 4 tumors in one lobe.

So, I will leave you with that.  If you want more, I will get into more detail about the almost fatal dose of pain medicine, the near death experiences from the side effects, and the horrendous hospital stays.  Just let me know.  I can recall the events with scary details from over 12 years ago, as it is crystal clear in my mind like it happened yesterday.  I will never, never forget.   

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How Does This Work Anyway?

I'm new to this blogging thing, as you can tell.  How in the heck do I get people to visit my blog?  I have to learn all those tricks about linking my blog to public blogs, etc.  Also, I think I can put it on search engines.  Have some reading to do. 

Went by this very cool Beauty Store close to me; I recently moved to the valley from over the hill in L.A.  Lived here many, many years ago and am currently rediscovering the territory.  The beauty store had up-town L.A. prices for the San Fernando Valley.  I just don't understand shampoo for 40-50 bucks!  What is the deal?  Why are they so wonderful?  Please someone tell me.  Sure they smell nice, and the bottle is cool, and they clean your hair, but so do lots of others for much less dough.  Also, berets - what is that deal.  These cute berets that cost 10, 30, 50 bucks is nuts!  I wonder what the markup is on that stuff.  Everything was way overpriced in that place.  I did buy a few things - hair band, hair clip, microfiber towel for drying my hair (they're the best for long hair), Sebastian Shaper Sleek Hold Jel for 1/2 price (4.99).  Oh, and some little tiny razors for the eyebrow area.  I like those but you have to shave so often - plucking is better, but the razors are great for fast touch-ups.   I accidentally bought a hair clip I didn't want and immediately turned around and went back in and explained.  The clerk said she couldn't do a void and no one was there who could.  Only the owner could.  I said when?  She said tomorrow between 9 and 5.  I work and told her I couldn't.  So she reluctantly did it for me.  Yeah right, she couldn't do a return huh?  Nice line there.  I hate stuff like that.  I was happy cause I didn't have to pay for it, but it smacked of dishonesty and greed. 

Let's see, I need to put up another pic for my mass of readers.  Be right back.  That's odd that it landed there??  Don't worry I'll get better at this.  This pic is a few years ago, and it's totally washed out and makes me look much much younger than I am.  In fact, I should be -x in this pic. 

Later, gators.....