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cancer back, need advice

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi everyone,
I hope you're all doing ok. I had scans yesterday which showed that I have one small spot in my left lung. The onc isn't positive that it's cancer, but given my history he wants to treat it that way.
I need some advice. My options are surgery, followed by chemo or chemo to see what happens and possibly surgery later on. I know that surgery is what I should do, but I had surgery on my right lung last September and I don't know if I can deal with another surgery right now. Also, I have an Alaskan cruise planned with a group of friends and my 2 youngest daughters the middle of August and I am planning to go back to school the end of August. I had to put school off for a year after the last surgery. I am trying to figure out how to do the best and most aggresive treatment and still do these things.
Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Jamie

sladich's picture
sladich
Posts: 430
Joined: May 2007

Hi Jamie,

Sorry to hear the news. What is the size in your lung? I currently have a 7mm in my upper left lung that my oncologist is watching. We have been watching it since it was 3mm (August 06). It's too small to do anything at this point and he didn't see the need to pump me with a bunch of chemo. I have a CT and CT/PET every 2 months (due to have one the end of the month). If it gets bigger then I'll have a biospy done to see if it is indeed cancer. I've had my lower left lung removed already and the thought of another surgery doesn't excite me. I know how you feel. What surgery did you have on your right lung? Just the tumor removed or half a lung? If your spot is small can you wait until you get back from your cruise in August? It is also very difficult to enjoy yourself knowning something is growing (assuming cancer) in your body. I've done that also. We had a vacation planned and the airline tickets were purchased, etc. and before we left I found out that I have a tumor in my liver. I scheduled the surgery before we left but it was constantly on my mind while vacationing. It's a drag... My thoughts are with you.

Debbie

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

I think you should take a trip. You have been through so much with cancer, house selling, finding apartment, job, your ex-husband, children, etc. You should go on the trip and try your best to put this new spot on your lung on the back of your mind. See if you can go on this trip sooner. And when you come back from your trip, then you should deal with it, whatever it is best way to treat it.

You can decide about the school depending on how you would feel during the treatment. If you can take the school, then do it, if not, then postpone.

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Jamie -

I am sorry to hear about the new lung spot, and I don't know much about lung spots - but I do know that many of them are NOT cancer (including the few that I have). This spot is still pretty small. Your oncologist is right to take a conservative approach, but there is still a good chance it is not cancer. If I were you I would take the trip which sounds wonderful. Then if you need treatment you can start it after the trip. I'm sorry this may interfere with school (but also maybe not). Gather information and make plans with your oncologist, but give that trip priority - it will be wonderful and nasty as this disease is, a few weeks don''t make a difference.

Take care (and I hope you have a fun trip),
Betsy

lfondots63's picture
lfondots63
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

I'm so sorry to hear the news Jamie. You should take the trip. It sounds like it would be fun and that you need it. Is the onc doing a PET scan on the spot? Like the others said you should wait until you come back to start treatment. If you can still go to school during treatment, do. Only you know how far you can push yourself during treatment. Here is to hopeing that no treatment and it just "goes away" during your wonderful trip.

Lisa F.

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi everyone,
Thanks for your advice. I had a pet/ct yesterday. The spot is 8mm and showed on the ct, not the pet, which is why we don't know if it is cancer for sure.
My onc wants to treat aggressively and is recommending surgery. Whatever I decide to do he is recommending that I do something within the month. The cruise is 2 months from now. He did say that I could have the surgery and possibly still go on the cruise or start chemo and take a break to go on the cruise. I'm not sure that either will really work.
My surgery last year on my right lung was to remove 4 spots in different lobes. That lung is clear and I believe that the surgery made the difference. I had 6 months of chemo before surgery which cleared it, but after 3 months off chemo the spots were back.
I have an appointment with a surgeon on Thursday. I also want to find out about RFA. Does anyone know anything about RFA?
Thanks,
Jamie

robinvan's picture
robinvan
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Hi Jamie,
Sorry to hear about your set-back. What a drag after all you've got planned. I've had RFA for liver mets. Seems to have worked well. Google "RFA Lungs" if you want to find some info on it's application for lung tumours. It is often referred to as an alternative for non-resectable tumours which makes it sound like resection is still the preferrence. Your surgeon should be able to say more. My RFA was done by the same surgeon who did my liver resection 2 years prior. It looks like you've got a very proactive medical team. Nice to see that they are so responsive.
Tough decisions for you... I hope a good plan emerges that allows you to enjoy your Alaskan cruise at some point. Good luck...
Rob;

sladich's picture
sladich
Posts: 430
Joined: May 2007

Your spot seems fairly small. As I said above, I also have a spot my onc is watching. It is 7mm. It shows up on the CT but not the PET. We are watching very closely. I had a RFA on my liver but not my lung but it is definitely something I will look into if this spot continues to grow. Keep me posted.

Debbie

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Jamie - I am so sorry to hear about the new spot. I had a second recurrence in my lung, so I know what a sock in the gut that can be. My most recent spot was also very small and they didn't know if it was malignant or not. We decided to wait 2-3 mos. In the end, I had surgery without knowing whether it was malignant or not. Given my history, had to do act. I couldn't have biopsy as it was too small and in an awkward place. So, I had surgery, it was malignant, and I'm now finishing 6 mos chemo.

No-one can tell you what to do -- you must do what is right in your heart. But I wonder if you can talk with the doc again about postponing action till after the cruise. In my case, I had successive CT scans (yes, I glow in the dark) which showed that the spot was very slow-growing (virtually no change in 1 mo then 3 mos).

Thinking of you

Tara

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi Jamie,
Can you ask the surgeon about laproscopic surgery to remove this nodule? I know it can be done this way and the recovery would be quicker. You could still go on the cruise, I am pretty sure. I had a lung resection also, in two different spots on my right lung. It took 8 months of "it might be cancer", "it isn't cancer" "maybe it is cancer", 2 negative PET scans, etc. until they finally got to be 1cm and lit up on the PET. I don't see what the huge hurry is. Let us know what your surgeon says.
If I were you I would take the cruise no matter what, maybe you can take the cruise now instead!! Is that possible?
Best wishes,
Susan

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Susan,
Thanks for your response. I will ask the surgeon about all posibilities tomorrow. I suppose I could go on the cruise earlier, however it was planned for August with a group of close friends to celebrate turning 50 this year. They all work so they can't just change the plan and go sooner.
Jamie

Hanacallaghan
Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi Jamie,

I just had two 8 mm nodules removed from my right lung last week. Turns out they were not cancer. They were something called a granuloma(SP?). Basically calcified lung tissue from a past reaction or inflamation of the lung. There is even some talk that the nodules were formed as a result of my lungs' reaction to my chemo treatment. My Onc was very certain that my colon cancer had returned and so we are all thrilled.

Anyway, I had some sort of video assisted arthroscopic procedure (I think they call it VATS). It required a three day hospital stay, and I am still uncomfortable...but the physical discomfort is nothing compared to the mental anguish we were going though. I see the surgeon for the follow up today and I plan to go back to work tomorrow.

I wish you all the best, am praying for you and thinking good thoughts.

Hana

P.S. What is your CEA doing these days? My spots didn't light up a PET scan and my CEA was 0.5.

crazylady
Posts: 544
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi Hana,
Great news that your nodules weren't cancer!
My CEA is the same as always. It never changes or indicates cancer in my body. That's why I have scans every 3 months.
I'm glad that you're doing so well!
Take care,
Jamie

Arex630's picture
Arex630
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2006

Hi Jamie,

If you tolerate chemo you could put off any surgery until after your trip. Maybe then surgery won't be necessary. I had a similar choice to make here's my story.
I was diagnosed with small bowel cancer May 05-had surgery and chemo. Had a recurrance in June 06 -had surgery and chemo. Nodules were noted in my lungs in Dec. Initially it was thought I had an infectious process so I was treated with antibiotics and had a repeat CAT scan in March. The nodules were still there and there were a few more. They were still very small. I had an inconclusive needle biopsy. My oncologist wanted to treat my lung nodules as mets based on my history and put me on strong chemo immediately. I have a very hard time with chemo.

I had an Alaskan cruise scheduled for the last week of May. I decided not to start chemo. I was going on the cruise with my husband, daughter and son-in-law feeling good and deal with the nodules upon my return.

I had a CAT scan upon my return and the nodules grew and demonstrated metastatic changes so tomorrow I go to the oncologist to decide on what treatment I will pursue.

I don't regret for 1 minute my decision to go to Alaska - it was awesome!!!!!!! I know having that time with my family in a stress free environment has helped me & them prepare for this newest battle with my disease.

I wish you the best,
Aleda

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hi again Jamie, when you come to Alaska, are you coming to Seward? I am a Forest Ranger here, and I would love to meet up with you for dinner, or take you guys to see Exit Glacier or something. Drop me an e-mail if you are coming to this area.
I hope all goes well at the doctor tomorrow.
-Susan H.

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