Appt. with doc but would like views from people who've been there

recnac_grl Member Posts: 38


It's been a while since I have posted in the discussion boards. Hope everyone is doing well.

I would like to provide some background information. I am almost 53 years old; and female. I have smoked since 15 years of age, with breaks quitting during my 3 pregnancies. I also quit for 10 years, then re-started smoking a pack or more a day approximatley 6 years ago and am still a smoker.  I am a very early stage bc survivor, cancer free since 2008; only needed bi-lateral mastecomy (my choice to go most agressive) with no chemo and no radiation. I have had basal cell skin cancer which was removed. I have had pre-cancerous cancer cells (anal) found after a hemorrhoidectomy. That was taken care of as well.

 I was diagnosed with MINOR copd roughly 10 years ago; am supposed to be using Spiriva and an inhaler as needed, but can't afford the co-payment for the medicine.

. I have had neck pain radiating to my left shoulder,down my left arm  and to my thumb and index fingers; numbing/tingling. One night the neck pain was so severe, my husband brougt me to er by ambulance roughly 6 months ago.  They performed an x ray of my cervical area and said everything was negative, gave me an rx for muscle spasms, sent me home.

Pain continued so I had an MRI of cervical area. I have spinal stenosis at c-4, c-5, and c-6; do not know what has caused it yet. Appointment for neurologist and a neurosurgeon is set. I have also been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. I experience pain in the bones of my hands, and toes; which I assume is age onset arthritis (not yet diagnosed, just an assumption)on my part.  Thats my background info thus far.

For roughly a few years I cough in the morning. Nothing ever comes up, its simply a dry, like "clear your throat" type of cough. I recently had three episodes of SEVERE pain surrounding my ribs and radiating around my back, as if someone were behind me "crushing" my ribs in an attempt to stop me from breathing. The pain was so bad, I dropped to my knees the first time, barey making it to my bed. I didn't go the hospital the first time, as I have been treated for panic and anxiety disorder for years; thus chucked it up to that. However, I DID call my pcp the next day who advised me to go to the ER. I went to the ER, they performed an EKG and blood tests. Everything was normal so they sent me home.

 The next time was the same; which happened about two weeks ago. The last "episode" happened this past Sunday on mothers day. Its so painful I can't move, I have to lay down on my side and curl up my legs as much as I can, cry and pray til it stops. The "episodes" last from 15-20 minutes. Just as a note, I still have existng pain in neck/left shoulder and especially left wrists/hand/bones. I wear a brace at night on left hand thats for carpel tunnel.

 My maternal grandmother passed away of lung cancer attributed to smoking in her mid to late 60's. I am not quite sure of her age upon passing.

I have an appointment set up to discuss these "episodes" I have been having with my pcp. I cannot get in to see my pcp til next month and am interested in what you guys would advise or have to comment on what I have posted.I wanted to get views/opinion/advice from people who have been diagnosed with lung cancer.

I apologize for the long post. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this far and are willing to comment.

God bless.



  • z
    z Member Posts: 1,414 Member

    Hello, I had anal cancer stage II completed tx on 6-30-09.  Upon follow up scan found lung cancer lower right lobe removed via vats no chem/rad stage 1a.

    Both attributed to smoking for 35 years.  I quit smoking on 5-4-09 before anal cancer tx.  I have mild cop as well. 

    My suggestion is to take the money your spending on a pack a day habit and get the Spirivia to help your body take in more oxygen. 

    I used nicorete gum to quit and stopped that after nicotene detox while in the hospital recovering for 3 days from the lung cancer vats surgery.

    I will smoke again when I don't care if I die.  Right now I love my life and want to live.

    I wish you well. Lori




  • dennycee
    dennycee Member Posts: 857 Member
    Contact the Spiriva

    Contact the Spiriva manufacturer and find out if there is a patient financial assistance program.  Z is right, you need to quit but it is easier said than done for some.  I tried to quit many times but only succeeded when I was admitted to the hospital with stage 4 lung cancer for a week.  I wish insurance companies sponsored a Betty Ford Clinic to deal with that addiction.  

    With your smoking history you should request a low dose CT.  

  • recnac_grl
    recnac_grl Member Posts: 38
    thank you....low dose ct scan

    I want to thank you both for responding. I will research a low dose ct scan. I have a Medicare supplement insurance plan. do you think that my insurance will cover this? I DO need to quit smoking. And the idea of quitting and using that money I spend on cigs to enable me to pay for my Spiriva is definitely a great idea. I will pray for strength to be able to qut. It's so difficult. My husband smokes a lot too. More than me, and longer than me. We both know we need to quit. Fighting the flesh to quit is very difficult. We know we have to do it though. Thank you.

    Does anyone else have any other suggestions or advice/comments for me? Does anyone have any idea what these "episodes" I am having could possibly be? Thank you to everyone! God bless all of you.Laughing


  • dennycee
    dennycee Member Posts: 857 Member
    Medicare supplemental will

    Medicare supplemental will pay for it if you meet any of the risk factors.  Call the number for members on the back of your card and ask.  They have the info available at their fingertips.  

    Also, you got excellent advise from Judy at Inspire, the only other place you might check is where practicing oncologists monitor the boards.