My Lung Cancer Journey

My journey started in November 2012 when I had surgery for "severe diverticulitis." The surgeon wound up removing a small section of intestine that was twisted instead of removing the diverticulitis. One of his stitches let go and within a few days I was septic and my temp was over 103. Emergency surgery to repair the leak ended with a brand spanking new temporary colostomy bag. In May 2013 while preparing for the surgery to remove the bag, a chest x-ray found a spot on my lung along with signs of emphysema. My surgeon called me into his office to tell me about the spot found on the x-ray, and he said "I am not touching you until we know what that is". So with the reversal postponed, I was sent for a CT scan, then to a thoracic surgeon who ordered a PET scan, and told me that the nodule would have to be surgically biopsied. He did agree to let me have the colostomy reversal first because the adhesives from the base for the bags had caused a blistering rash that I had been dealing with for months. The reversal was done in June, and lung surgery was in July. He removed the upper left lobe, but all lymph nodes tested were clear. I still remember the surgeon walking into my hospital room the day after surgery and saying "you had a very aggressive, very fast growing type of cancer, but we got it all, you'll be fine", and then walking out.

I found out later I was stage 2 squamous cell lung cancer because there were 2 tumors, luckily both in the same lung lobe.

I had no symptoms, no signs of anything. My chest x-ray in October 2012 before my first surgery was clear. Had it not been for that first botched surgery, the cancer would not have been found until it had spread and caused symptoms.

In January 2017 while still on "watch status" a new tumor was found that they said needed to be watched. This past April the right upper lobe was removed. It was a "new original" squamous cell lung cancer stage 1a.

I am alive today because of that first botched surgery.

I am down to 3 lung lobes, but I am off the supplemental oxygen and able to walk more every week. Yesterday I took 4081 steps, I admit that's not much, but it's up from the just over 1,000 a few months ago.

I am thankful to be alive every day. I am also thankful for my loving caring husband. He has had 12 cervical surgeries, shoulder surgery, hernia surgery, was diagnosed with bronchiectasis, but still watches over me. We watch over of each other.

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