Sigh…it is with a borrowed heart that I share with you that I have lung cancer. During my yearly heart transplant physical, a mass was detected on my right lung. After a few grueling surgical biopsies, I was diagnosed last week with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). I’m told of all the types of lung cancer, NSCLC is the “best,” most treatable type of lung cancer. Well, there’s something to celebrate.
What’s the treatment plan?
Let’s get to brass tax. So far, the plan is to have surgery very soon to remove 1/3 of my right lung.
The lobectomy will be done as least invasively as possible to help with healing. I heal slowly due to anti-rejection medication. If they start the surgery and I have too much scar tissue, from previous radiation treatment, then they will have to crack my ribs and open me up. I hope they don’t have to do this, but I can handle some broken ribs, if I need to….I got through a surgically cracked sternum from my heart transplant, so I got this.
Where are you getting your medical care?
Like my heart transplant, all of my medical care will be done at the same hospital system: UT Southwestern (UTSW). I know the hospital nurses well, my transplant team and RN Coordinator are all there. My family is in town and I have a support system that makes me comfortable. My family is fully vaccinated and I look forward to finally spending some time with them, it’s just unfortunate it’s because of cancer.
What stage is my lung cancer?
Well, there is some question about that right now. So far, it seems likely that the 2.4cm x 2.7cm mass is localized to the right lung and it’s Stage 1. My PET scan suggests that a nearby lymphnode (i.e. Hilar node) may also have cancer, which would make it Stage 2. The team is going with the two lung biopsies, which did not suggest cancer in the Hilar node. Either way, my lymphnode will be surgical removed.
Will I have Chemo?
I don’t know. I haven’t had my appointment with the chemo doctor yet. I hope surgery covers my treatment. If it’s Stage 2, then I’ll likely need chemo.
Not sure if you follow my blog, but I LOATHE chemo and would rather have my ribs broken and a 1/3 of my lung removed then endure even one chemo. I have strong feelings on this topic. 🤬
Will I have radiation?
No, so far the plan is to surgical remove a part of my lung.
Has the lung cancer spread?
No….So far, it looks like the lung cancer is only in my right lung. My PET scan (which looks for cancer in your body) looked good, but I need a brain MRI to rule out brain cancer. I personally don’t think I have brain cancer. But yes, a brain MRI has been ordered…which is a grueling procedure, where they put a cage around your head and stuff you in a casket-like MRI machine for 30 minutes.
I’m dreading this…sorry, if I’m oversharing…but this is what I’m facing and well, I like to write like Hemmingway…I write the truth. The gritty, underbelly truth. Speaking of which….
Am I going to die?
I have no plans to die. My team has not addressed my prognosis, nor have I asked because I have every intention of beating this *third* cancer diagnosis. If I can overcome bone cancer, a heart transplant, breast cancer and a few deadly pulmonary embolisms and DVTs, then lung cancer can suck it.
With that said, I’m not afraid to die. I have a strong belief in an afterlife and I’m good with my G-d. I also don’t want to leave behind my loved ones. I have so many dear friends, family and, of course, my soulmate, Adam. I will endure the pain and suffering that is likely ahead of me, if I get more time with those I love. I’m just being honest here, sorry if this is difficult to hear.
How am I doing today?
Well today, I’m actually in good spirits because I have a plan of action. Now, yesterday I cried alot and tomorrow I might cry again and smile, because my emotions are all over the place.
How is Adam?
Adam’s experience of caregiving through a heart transplant and breast cancer has made him battled ready. Who would have ever thought 20 years ago, when we married that these would be the challenges we would endure together. I’m so grateful to have him at my side, advocating for me, taking notes and hugging me when I can’t stop crying. He is an amazing man.
How can you help?
Your friendship and love is my/our most powerful tool. Really, just a text, call or post cheering us on is so helpful. Really.
I’m still figuring out what we need. For now, I need some diversion and walks in the trails! Adam needs handball and is playing 1-wall, when he gets away from work.
We might need some home cooked meals during my surgery & recovery. I’m thinking contactless. I’ll keep y’all posted on details, when the time comes. And I thank you in advance for heart-healthy cooking!
Finally, I would like to say, that if you haven’t gotten your COVID vaccination, please consider it. 💉 It protects you, but it also protects me and countless other cancer warriors and vulnerable people. Yes, I’m playing the cancer card. Lol. Jokes aside, getting my friends and family protected from COVID is very important to me and has practical implications to how I live my daily life. Please think about it. Thanks.
What does the future hold?
I don’t know. I do know that I have a plan to address my lung cancer diagnosis. I’m hopeful and optimistic. I will continue to blog this latest journey. I’m always on a fucking journey. 😤 Thanks for reading this blog.