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.   


Anonymous said...

That's amazing you survived stage 4 lung cancer! That's something to shout from the rooftops about! It's wonderful your doctors hit it hard and strong to help cure you! I wish everyone who has been hit with cancer was lucky enough to have the GREAT NEWS to share! (I know lots of survivors as well as several who have lost their battles.) Best wishes for a remaining healthy life!

amyinbc said...

I want to hear more!

As a 44 year old who has smoked for many years I want to hear there is hope if I DO quit...

I would love to hear your story.

Anonymous said...

I cannot thank you enough for this post and am sure many others feel the same way.

When you smoke for some 30 years as I have you just wait for the shoe to drop... You have lung cancer. You will die shortly.

Little incentive at 47 years old to quit. I am doomed.

Thank you for sharing your story and experiences and only hope you will post more.

Thank you.