Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Staging Complete

80 days and finally I know what is going on and where I am headed - partially.  Monday, was my surgical biopsy. Gregory and I arrived at 6:00 am as they told me to do and we sat there for a 1/2 hour until 6:30a.m.  Not a great way to calm the nerves.  But once they called me back it was busy.  Hooking me up to all the monitors, talking with the entire surgical team individually and finally, talking to my surgeon.  My surgery was scheduled for 7:30a.m. and he walked in at almost 8:00 a.m. :)

He looked over the PET scan report and then said he wanted to look at the images himself.  This is the situation:
  • Adenocarcinoma in Lower Left Lung (cancer)
  • Abscess in Upper Left Lung (infection)
  • The 6 lymph nodes in the center of my chest that are enlarged did NOT show up on PET scan as hot spots.  He said this represents that they are enlarged due to the abscess, however, this is what he took samples of to biopsy
  • A 7th lymph node in the Lower Left Lung was VERY hot - meaning it has spread to my lymph node(s).
This makes me a Stage 2 Lung Cancer patient.  The way it works is - if the cancer has spread to any lymph nodes, if they are on the same side as the primary cancer it makes me a Stage 2.  If it is in a lymph node on the opposite side, it makes me Stage 3 which is not operable.  So, I suppose, the "good news" is that the lymph node is on the same side so he will do surgery.

The bad news is because of the location of the lymph node with cancer and the abscess, he cannot do the minimally invasive VATS (Video Assisted - sort of like laparoscopy) surgery.  He has to do the BIG sugery which is a 12 inch incicsion.  He will remove the entire Lower Left Lobe, a section of the Upper Left Lobe where the abscess is to remove it completely and the surrounding lymph nodes.  

After surgery, it is normal to be in ICU for 4-6 days and in the hospital for a total of 10-14 days.  I understand this is necessary because of multiple chest tubes and due to the immense amount of pain they use an epidural for several days.  (Are we having fun yet??)

Now, because it is all on "one side" it is operable because the medical profession views it as "curable."  Meaning they can possibly get it all.  However, because it is in a lymph node, it has spread.  Our lymphatic system is the filtering system for our bodies so obviously there will be microscopic cancer cells somewhere so after surgery I will begin chemotherapy.  No idea when or for how long.  I have to meet with several Oncologists and a Cancer Team to determine treatment(s).

My surgery has already been scheduled - it will be Tuesday, May 20th.  I should have the biopsy results from the surgery this past Monday later this week.  Because none of these lymph nodes showed up on the PET scan, my surgeon is very confident they will be benign.

From Monday's surgery for the biopsy, the back neck pain has almost gone away.  Boy, was that scary on Monday.  The incision is painful as it has a burning sensation under the dressing and my chest feels like something heavy is on it.  My nurse hit the nail on the head when she said use a recliner.  I tried to lay flat and that was a disaster so sleeping on an electric recliner is wonderful.  I was taking 2 oxycodone when I got home yesterday and this afternoon a 1/2 did the trick.  That is one drug I really don't want to take too many of - for those of you who I talked to on the phone Monday afternoon, you know what it does to me - TOTALLY STONED!!

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