A pair of lungs with a wedge shaped piece missing

I Had A Wedge Resection

When I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, we tried very hard for me to get approved for surgery. We talked about it with my oncologist and my sister sent my scans to so many doctors. I was told because cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes that surgery was not the best decision and so I continued with my treatment plan.

The journey that lead to my wedge resection

I was not in a very good place health-wise in late 2015. I had lost a lot of weight and my scans showed that the cancer was again spreading. I had just finished radiation and 6 rounds of chemotherapy. My oncologist scribbled a game plan on a small piece of paper with three options and I chose to have the tumor sample sent for additional mutations testing. It came back positive for MET amplification.

I always tell people about how my oncologist knew it was time to refer me to a different oncologist. Her colleague in Boston at Dana Farber had a clinical trial that he was recruiting for and it was for patients that had both the EGFR and MET amplification mutations. I was on a trip to see my sister in Texas and we flew, my family and all, to Boston for the first appointment.

New treatment game plan

I spoke with the oncologist in Boston and he had a game plan already in place for me to start the clinical trial and I officially started in late January 2016. I traveled back and forth for a few months and everything seemed to be going fine.

The details are a little blurry for me, but I remember going to see the oncologist and he said that there was some new activity on my lower left lobe and that he wanted for me to have a wedge resection to see if we could get it all and therefore allow me to stay in the trial.

Since I would not be able to fly after surgery, my mom, sister, baby nephew and I drove from Illinois to Boston and had plans to stay until it was safe for me to drive home.

Reflecting on my experience with video thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)

In November 2016 I had a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and I now have three scars to show for it. The surgery itself was not that bad. I had to stay overnight at the hospital, my mom stayed with me. I had a pain pump but by the next day, I didn’t need it. I remember the nurse coming in every few hours to hit my back. I was released the next day and spent some time recovering in the hotel. Being that we were out of town we ventured out to find food and to find something to do. We visited a local mall, did some shopping and had dinner. I was in a little bit of pain and coughed a bit but otherwise, I was in good spirits.

The wedge resection for me proved to be fruitless as I still progressed further. I officially was out of the clinical trial and began a new treatment in Chicago. I now say that the wedge resection was a BIG biopsy because it did show that I still had the EGFR and MET amplification mutations.

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