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Worried and wondering about symptom

love4life
Posts: 33
Joined: May 2010

My mom was diagnosed with kidney cancer 2½ years ago. They removed the kidney and the adrenal gland and said it hadn't spread to the lymphnoids. She has had a couple of good checkups but last time she went they noticed some enlarged nodes on the lung lobe. They are watching them and will be doing another ct at the 6 month mark which is about 4 weeks away. This winter my mom has had a lot of problems with breathing. She has problems when walking and pretty much has to gasp for air at times (I haven't witnessed this happening but my grandma and my daughter both have). I'm just wondering if that is a symptom that occurs with lung cancer. I've also recommended that my mom have an air quality test in her home and she is seeing a pulmanologist tomorrow. Right now she doesn't even want to leave her house because she's afraid of losing her breath when she's outside. There has to be something going on but no one can figure out for sure yet. I just wondered if it could be linked to lung cancer because when her doctor talked to us after her kidney cancer surgery he said it was a very aggressive cancer and they got everything that was there at that time. I felt like he was telling us to prepare for it to show up somewhere else and now I'm wondering if it has or if I'm just borrowing worry for no reason.

dennycee
Posts: 685
Joined: Mar 2011

The symptoms you describe are quite serious and should be reported immediately to her internist. These are symptoms that doctors ask you to report right away. They could indicate problems with her heart or lungs. If this was my mom I would call the doc and ask her/him if they think they can wait for another day.

If it sounds like I am being an alarmist and trying to scare you, you are right, I am. I had similar symptoms and had emergency surgery to drain fluid that accumulated in my pericardial sac (heart) and my pleural cavity. My heart was not able to beat correctly and was close to not being able to beat at all. The fluid in my pleural cavity prevented my lungs from expanding and were slowly collapsing my lung.

With regard to the possibility that the cancer has moved to the lungs, only her doctor can say, and then only with a biopsy. You are not worried for no reason, but it is not time to borrow trouble. Please keep us posted.

love4life
Posts: 33
Joined: May 2010

I should have mentioned that my mom has been to her internest and she has had tests done by her and by cardiologist. They can't find anything wrong. They've checked her carrodid artery(?) and found nothing. She goes to the a pulmanologist tomorrow but has been to one before and has not been able to find anything wrong. There's definitely something wrong and someone has to be missing something. I have mentioned to her that if they don't figure anything out she may have to move on to a different doctor. I'm thinking maybe Mayo Clinic because we had a good experience when my husband went there for his cancer. I think she's getting ready to consider going someplace else but somewhat reluctantly. I keep telling her she has to be her own advocate. No one else is living with her symptoms and she needs to get answers.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 276
Joined: Mar 2011

It sounds like she's doing the right things. The pulmonologist at the least should be able to tell if she has impaired function. They'll be able to look at lung function and blood oxygen level fairly quickly and easily.

If all the standard stuff shows nominal and she gets another "I dunno ...," yeah, it sounds like looking for a new set of MD eyes might be a really good idea. It's not unheard of for a doc to be blinded by preconceived notions or familiarity with a patient. I had that happen.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 276
Joined: Mar 2011

I agree with Denny, and it's good that she's being seen by a pulmonologist tomorrow, but I'm also not so sure that I'd wait that long. Shortness of breath of that magnitude could be an emergency room situation even without any history of cancer.

You may be, and we hope you are, borrowing trouble when it comes to lung cancer fears, but you are definitely not wrong to have serious concerns about the shortness of breath.

dennycee
Posts: 685
Joined: Mar 2011

I agree, this has all the ear marks of a potential ER situation. If it occurs again you may choose to take her to the ER anyhow. The docs may pick up something that registers only when the event is occurring. If not please let us know what the doc says tomorrow.

love4life
Posts: 33
Joined: May 2010

My mom went to see her dr. today and he is giving her prendazone, respitory therapy, told her to lose weight, and is doing a ct of the lung to check out that nodule the other doctor saw 6 months ago. I think she will benefit from this but I did tell her to check about the ct because her other doctor is ordering one and I don't think she should be exposed to more radiation than necessary. Since she has only 1 kidney they hydrate her for 2 hours before and after since they use dye. Her doctor today said he was ordering one without contrast. He could see the nodule on her chest xray and wants to see what is going on with it. I sort of think she needs to talk to her doctors and make sure she's not being overtested but glad that someone recognizes there is a problem and trying to help her. Thanks for your time and kindness.

dennycee
Posts: 685
Joined: Mar 2011

Glad your mom has a plan of action. You may want to suggest to her that both tests be done at same time. My thoracic surgeon ordered a ct of my chest at the same time my oncologist ordered one of my chest and abdomen, one with contrast one without. We were able to combine them.

Best regards.

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