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RFA Time - # 4

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

It seems to be a yearly event for me, and I'm fine with it. The past 3 years I've had RFAs done to remove small tumors in my lung(s) that grow at a slow pace thanks to Erbitux (it seems). When I had my last (3rd) one done in August of 2010, there was a questionable spot that measured about 1.3cm that wasn't addressed at the time. Now, a year later, it's grown to about 2cm and it's time to harvest it!

So on Oct 17th I'll have it removed. The plan is the same as the other times I've had it done. We're shooting for a same day procedure. The Dr at Sloan is the head of the department of RFA (not sure what his actual title is) but he's good and he's a nice guy too. It does seem that I'm in a pattern of having yearly RFAs done and I am A-OKAY with it. It certainly beats wedge resections by a mile. Not that there's anything wrong with wedge resections but for me, the main difference is a stay of 5-7 days vs a stay of 5-7 hours.

I know this procedure isn't available for everyone but if you do have that option, I would highly recommend it.

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

a few hours sounds better than a few days.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

ahhh Phil...another one....oh well as you say...I guess you are one lucky guy to have the procedure available to you.

going to put that date on my calendar so i can think hard about you that day

all the best...


pepebcn's picture
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

Good luck Mate!

johnnybegood's picture
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

as you are fine with it then i say onward.it seems you know the drill but my prayers are with you my friend....Godbless....johnnybegood

son of hal
Posts: 117
Joined: Mar 2011

Sounds like a reasonable plan, Phil. I know it sucks to have growth but it's good things are to your satisfaction. Good luck on the 17th, hope you get many more years out of your strategy.
Take care,

Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

I'm glad that you have this more simple option to keep things under control. Slow growth and occasional harvesting sounds like a good thing. Wishing you an easy procedure again as in the past.

z's picture
Posts: 1414
Joined: May 2009

Phil thanks for sharing your tx for the lung nodules. I had a lobecotomy for a primary lung cancer, which was the second primary, 1st being anal. If I had a choice I would certainly opt for rfa. I wish you well with your tx. Lori

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Phil,

Glad to hear the RFA is available to you & glad your attitude about having it again is so good. You can do it!


tanstaafl's picture
Posts: 1302
Joined: Oct 2010

Great to hear that your RFA - EGFR (HER1) inhibitor strategy has long legs. You're leading the way. Wonder if I'll get in trouble over taking out HER2 with my wife.

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

Hey, Phil.

I'll be praying that goes as smoothly as the previous ones.


marqimark's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: Jun 2011

Glad you have RFA available to you.

Good luck with number four.

Oct 17th is my daughter's 19th B-Day, I won't forget your big day either.


Lilmiss82's picture
Posts: 257
Joined: Dec 2009

an easy recovery for the upcoming procedure. I went to a radiologist to see if RFA was an option for me and he wrote me off even before I walked in the door. He stated that it would not benefit me in anyway and would not improve my survival time. Glad this is not your case and you can keep nodules in check. I'll be thinking of you :)Melissa

Posts: 295
Joined: Apr 2010

It is great that you have options and that the tumor is slow growing. I couldn't believe last year how fast you recovered. Hope all goes well. My husband may be looking into having his lung done as well. His old oncologist didn't recommend it, but his knew one does. Different doctors different opinions.

idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

Hey Phil,
It does seem you have things in check with your plan of action. So happy for you. I sure wish my insurance would cover it because I would like to try it.... for comparison value. I mean pro and con wise. I too will have you in my thoughts that day. Take care


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Well, have 'em change the oil, air up the tires, and add some wiper fluid,while you're in there:)

Sounds good, Phil. This approach does seem favorable for you and there has been many times when I wish I could do what you're doing. I'm stupid though, I just go ahead and have 7-wedge resections done with a couple of ribs yanked out for good measure.

And I'm only content if I can stay at the hospital 13 days or more, LOL!

Really great news - I wish you the best and feel as good about as you do, but still want to hear that it all went fine, okay?

An "Ol' Time' friend...

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

The longer I am on this site and read about everyone's experiences, the more I realize just HOW fortunate I've been (considering how unfortunate it is to have cancer). I know I've also paid my dues and the first 3 years were hell at times, the next few went between hell and purgatory depending on what was being done to me as far as operations and the type of chemo I was on. And now it's almost like a chronic pain in the ***. I go every 3 weeks for Erbitux, get CT scans every 3 months, then it seems like every year I get the RFA and oil change, tires rotated, etc...

Why have I been so fortunate? I can only guess. I've always had a high tolerance for pain and have had endurance. I used to do bicycling vacations where I'd ride for 10+ hours a day for 3 days to get to my destination. I had my bike loaded with camping gear and I'd just go into peddle mode and ride hour after hour and had to deal with pain. There were plenty of times when I'd be exhausted, grinding up a hill (NEVER walk it!) and some persons dog would start to chase me and my biking buddy, Hank, and you'd have to dig down and peddle your butt off even though I was almost willing to stop. Cancer has been like that. I've felt at times like I was ready to stop and rest and the Big Dog chased me up the hill again.

So why did my chemo and surgery go so well while others who had similar diagnosis and treatments not fair so well? I can honestly say that I didn't do major changes to my lifestyle. I do have to credit getting a fantastic oncologist who seemed to look at me as an individual more than just looking at me as another guy with cancer. I was rather young, 46, at the time and I wanted to be as aggressive as possible so that drove how we approached it. I know that having 2 young kids had TONS to do with it too.

I have to stop and ask, why aren't other oncologists doing what mine did? Would it make a difference if they did? If I had surgery first, which my first ongologist wanted to do and not do chemo first, would that have made a difference? If I took more breaks from chemo would it have grown faster and I wouldnt be where I am today? None of those questions can really be answered since I did what I did and that is that.

Why can't procedures like RFAs be used more often? I would imagine that cost-wise it would be thousands of dollars less than any surgical operation. It doesn't require an overnight stay in most cases either. I'm sure if I pushed for one I could have it but I push to go home because there is no need to put an extra burden on the hospital when people need to get in there for more pressing operations. It would also save the insurance companies money. I certainly do not have the answers but it seems like if more of the profession would get together that more can be done to help us and all that will follow us.

I thank everyone for their well wishes and I hope (and pray...) that others can be as fortunate as I've been.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

thank you for this lovely thoughtful post.....all true...it makes us old timers wonder why?

have a hug


tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

This post confirms my long-held suspicion that you're just a really sweet guy.


scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

And I don't mean your cancer Phil. You are like the energizer bunny and are a great example of docs that pay attention to their patient instead of the stats.

Time to get that bad boy out of there and like many others I will have you in my thoughts on the 17th. I'll be recouperating from CP9 and will have loads of warmth and caring to share!

Lisa P.

Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

LMAO....sure we do...come ere' (((HUGS)))....I know your gonna do great and reading what you wrote just keeps ticking away at me...if he can do it why the hell can't I......thank you, and you know I am in your corner as well..........buzz

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