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1st Visit to Onc......... Got a Surprise... Lung Surgery??

idlehunters's picture
idlehunters
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

Hey Everybody...... I FINALLY got to meet my onc. after waiting 6 1/2 weeks. To my surprise he was a very knowledgeable and kind man. (Comparing him to the rest of the team).... He asked me what I had been told about my cancer.... In a nutshell... They said I had 1 spot on my liver and multiple spots on my lungs. The Onc. said he was a little confused over the liver dx. I had 2 CT scans while in the hospital. 1 was before surgery and 1 was 9 days later. They both came back clear.... no spot. 7 days later I had my first PET scan. It showed something small in the core of my liver. too small to do a biopsy on but onc says he will do an MRI for final determination. He must know this as it changes my course of treatment. I was so concerned about what "multiple nodules" meant in my lungs. He said I had 4. 1 in rt. lung and 3 in left. 1 is about 1/2" & he said that was pretty large...is it? The other ones weren't too bad. He said I would more than likely be a surgery candidate.

At any rate.... even though I did think highly of him it has not changed my mind about going to M.D.Anderson for a second opinion. If I like what they say then I will definately get my treatment there as the facilities here just don't compare. I am leaving June 9th for Texas and they said to plan on being there 7 business days. My onc. here says they will most likely want to perform immediate surgery and to be prepared to face that option.

Who has had lung surgery? Where do they cut you. How long is recovery? Is it pretty rough?

Peace

Jennie

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1255
Joined: Jul 2005

Jennie -

There are different types of lung surgery. Open thoracotomy or thoracoscopy. The former is much more invasive, more pain, longer recovery, but on the other hand they see more. The latter is very "easy" surgery (I had it, so can speak to that - it's a scope version of the surgery), but it is not appropriate in all cases and they don't have as good a look around as they do with open surgery. So, which surgery is appropriate depends a lot on your individual situation.

Getting your second opinion is wise. I do think that you should not be totally committed to receiving any chemo treatment at MDA. For example, if MDA recommends standard FOLFOX/XELOX plus Avastin, you could easily get that at your local practice and I think still be able to periodically visit MDA to figure out next steps.

Good luck and I wish you well with your MDA consult,

Betsy

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1255
Joined: Jul 2005

Jennie -

There are different types of lung surgery. Open thoracotomy or thoracoscopy. The former is much more invasive, more pain, longer recovery, but on the other hand they see more. The latter is very "easy" surgery (I had it, so can speak to that - it's a scope version of the surgery), but it is not appropriate in all cases and they don't have as good a look around as they do with open surgery. So, which surgery is appropriate depends a lot on your individual situation.

Getting your second opinion is wise. I do think that you should not be totally committed to receiving any chemo treatment at MDA. For example, if MDA recommends standard FOLFOX/XELOX plus Avastin, you could easily get that at your local practice and I think still be able to periodically visit MDA to figure out next steps.

Good luck and I wish you well with your MDA consult,

Betsy

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1255
Joined: Jul 2005

Jennie -

There are different types of lung surgery. Open thoracotomy or thoracoscopy. The former is much more invasive, more pain, longer recovery, but on the other hand they see more. The latter is very "easy" surgery (I had it, so can speak to that - it's a scope version of the surgery), but it is not appropriate in all cases and they don't have as good a look around as they do with open surgery. So, which surgery is appropriate depends a lot on your individual situation.

Getting your second opinion is wise. I do think that you should not be totally committed to receiving any chemo treatment at MDA. For example, if MDA recommends standard FOLFOX/XELOX plus Avastin, you could easily get that at your local practice and I think still be able to periodically visit MDA to figure out next steps.

Good luck and I wish you well with your MDA consult,

Betsy

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1255
Joined: Jul 2005

My computer went nuts and I do apologize for this showing up 3 times.
Betsy

serrana
Posts: 163
Joined: Apr 2009

The question of lung surgery.....I had a small met in my lung and the surgeons to whom I took the original scan films to see, not just the report, said that a minimally invasive biopsy type surgery wouldn't give them the room to be sure they got it all out so I had a thoracotomy where they cut a 5 in incision in my back, reached between the ribs, didn't remove ribs and took out the met. Easy surgery. No pain.On pain meds in the hospital but not after discharge. Was in hospital for 4 days because of the drain tube necessary. Was driving a car 2 days after I got home, no pain, no pain meds, no big deal.Probably the only problem was the constipation caused by the pain meds so next time I'll take the stool softeners they recommended.
When ever I get an opinion from a doc re a treatment plan I always get a second opinion. Yes I know that is expensive and may not be covered by your insurance but docs often disagree about the right plan. Take your time and get another opinion from an NCI Cancer Center. Most of this stuff is not cast in concrete and opinions vary widely.
Best prayers for good decisions
Serrana

amcp
Posts: 251
Joined: Jan 2009

Things are sounding promising for you. I have been thinking about you and hoping that you would receive better news. I am glad to hear that surgery is an option...they were going to go in an remove the upper lobe of my husband's lung but when they got in they had to only remove 4 %. They just removed a small wedge. They cut him about 4 to 5 inches under his right arm below his arm pit. It was painful because of cutting though muscle and stretching through the ribs. We later found out that most of his pain was coming from the cancer from the liver that had attached to his diaphram. He too was only in the hospital 4 days and did well. Please keep us updated. We will keep you in our prayers. Hope you even get better news in Houston.
Hugs,
Anna

idlehunters's picture
idlehunters
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

For some reason I cannot open the private message u sent me. That has happened one other time too. It takes me to some wierd site instead... can u email me webcrows2@aol.com

jennie

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I've had three lung surgeries. Two were "wedge" resections -- where they remove just part of the lobe. One was a lobectomy (remove whole lobe -- that damn nodule was right in the middle of the lobe!). Just depends on location and size of tumour. They will probably try to use minimally invasive surgery if possible (like a scope). Of course they want/need to get clear margins around the tumour (and that's a good thing).

The surgery wasn't too bad in terms of pain or recovery. It SOUNDS scary, having surgery on your lungs! That was the hardest thing for me. I was off the heavy pain meds within 24 hours. Not much pain meds after that. Last time, I was out of hospital within 3-4 days (! but I am pretty pushy about that!). I started walking at the track the day I came home from the hospital. OK - only one loop that first day, but I increased every day. Within a very few months, I could hike (hills). My lung capacity is almost normal, in spite of the 3 surgeries (weird -- the lung doesn't regenerate, like liver, but it kind of expands to fill the space, I guess).

I have lovely scars! They cut sort of under your armpit -- at the side. At least in my case.

Good luck!! Feel free to ask me any questions....

Tara

ps I agree with earlier post -- it is possible to have some/all treatment at home, and go to a major cancer centre for second opinion, periodic checkups, etc. I know several people who do that. But of course it is up to you. Do what feels best for you.

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