Monday, October 29, 2012

Can a cough be just a cough

Catching a common cold early last week I eventually developed a cough. With 5 decades of experience with colds my knee jerk response was to grab my bottle of guaifenesin syrup.

When it lingered suddenly the light bulb went of - duh!!! You were diagnosed with lung cancer and had a wedge of your lung cut out 7 months ago, maybe this is more than just a cough.

I was still walking at least 2  miles every and more often than not in the MS friendly Fall weather doing push and roll outings with Patti to local Halloween Parades or Fall foliage that were easily 5K outings.
Though come to think of if it I would sometimes feel an intermittent shortness of breath, even Patti had remarked you sound terrible once or twice, I had rationalized it with Fall allergies and the changing terrain of town sidewalks vs a treadmill.

What was I doing??? Why was I rationalizing a cough or intermittent shortness of breath?? Sure I had gotten the pneumonia vaccine while recovering from surgery and I had gotten the flu vaccine a couple weeks ago but what am I doing rationalizing the #1 symptom.

I was scheduled for my next CT Scan follow up in 18 days. Should I wait or should I move it up? Could the scanxiety be impairing my thinking?

Such questions are above my pay grade … so Friday noticing my PinnacleHealth Pulmonary Nodule Clinic wristband I was wearing from my thoracic surgeons office, I called them. The traditional point person for patients was on maternity leave; however describing my concerns over cough with the PNC receptionist she immediately picked it up and ran with the ball. Shortly their office was calling me back with a new CT Scan appointment just 4 days away and follow up appointment with my surgeon immediately afterwards.

Then just as I calm down my scanxiety and my cough worries … here comes Hurricane Sandy!

Got off the phone early this morning with PinnacleHealth Pulmonary Nodule Clinic and with forecasted power outages all outpatient services and CT scans, x-rays etc are being cancelled for Monday and Tuesday. Happily for me they were able to juggle me back in on Thursday, for now, depending on duration of power outages.

Surviving lung cancer can be a pain in the ass, but sometimes a pain in the ass is worth it!

Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

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