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At This Point, I am Very Worried

Supposed to be a simple operation

My story actually started in November 2012 when I had what was supposed to be a simple operation for diverticulitis. Unfortunately, my surgeon couldn’t sew to save his life. One of his stitches let go, I sprung a leak and quickly went septic. I almost died and ended up with a temporary colostomy bag. It was that bag that saved my life.

In May of 2013 I was getting the usual tests in preparation for the reversal surgery when they found a 2 cm spot on my left lung. That was the start of my cancer journey.

A lung cancer diagnosis

In July 2013 I was told I had stage 2 squamous cell lung cancer in my upper left lobe, along with mild emphysema. They removed that lobe and tested several lymph nodes which were all negative. All I was told at the time was that I had (and I quote) “a very aggressive very fast-moving form of cancer, but we caught it early, we got it all, you’ll be fine.”

Two days after surgery, I was home feeling very grateful and rather blessed. I felt like I had cheated death. If it weren’t for that first surgery going south, the cancer would not have been found until it had a chance to spread. It wasn’t until a few months later when I developed a bladder infection severe enough to land me in the hospital that I started learning about my cancer. I went to a cancer research hospital for a second opinion and ended up attempting chemo.

Changing cancer centers

About a year later a cancer center opened up much closer to home, so thinking I was in the clear and just needed a yearly CT scan, I switched to the local place, that was a mistake. In January 2017 a 2 mm spot was found on my right upper lobe. I didn’t know about it until December 2017 when a new scan showed it had grown to 7 mm. By March 2018 it was 1.0 cm, so in April I had surgery to biopsy and subsequently remove the upper right lobe. This time it was stage 1a squamous cell carcinoma.

I was told because of the stage, no further treatment was needed. What I wasn’t told was that there was some “focal pleural involvement.” I got that bit on info a year after surgery when I finally got a copy of the pathology report. That is when I made the decision to go back to Roswell.

Upcoming scans

I am back with my oncologist there who told me that because of the plural involvement, chemo should have been suggested. But at this point, it has been 18 months, the window for chemo being an option has closed (slammed shut, locked tight, and boarded up), my words, not hers. Add to that the idea that because it has been 18 months, and I have had 5 clear scans, we are now out to yearly scans, so my next one is scheduled for September 2020. So I will spend the next year trying not to worry or think about it too much, or thinking every new ache, pain, cough, is cancer.

But I can’t seem to get that little nagging thought out of my head that keeps telling me that the cancer cells are still in there, and this time they are gonna spread before they are found.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Christina Hegarty moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi @katek,
    Thank you for taking the time to share your story, and…wow, what a story you have. That’s great that you took advocating for yourself into your own hands by seeking another opinion.
    It is certainly understandable that you’re afraid worry is going to take over the next year until your next scan. I thought I’d share this article with you that may be helpful for you to ease the worry:
    Please know that you are not alone, and that we are here for you anytime.
    Thinking of you,
    Christina, Team

  • KateK author
    3 months ago

    Thank you Christina

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