Thursday, March 21, 2013

lung junk vs lung cancer

Visiting with my thoracic surgeon and oncologist yesterday to try and decipher my 12 month follow up CT Scan from lung cancer surgery was so high anxiety it can best be captured in the things I left behind.

I left my eye glasses at the surgeon’s office. Leaving my oncologist’s office I left my vest. To say I was discombobulated would be an understatement.

Previously I wrote about naming my opposite lung lymph nodes to make them less scary. However, unstable lung junk no matter what I call it is no friend of my future.

‘Hi’ (aka hilar) grew a mm. ‘Media’ (aka mediastinal), away somewhere in November, was back at her ‘D-list’ July size. ‘Bob’ (subcarinal) on the other hand grew 70%.

One of ‘Bob’s jobs is to serve as the lung’s drain and since “airspace concerning for pneumonia” was found in the right lung it’s possible Bob is simply a really pissed off lymph node.

November’s CT scan was inconclusive due to my chest cold / upper respiratory infection and now my 12 month scan is messed up by “air space concerning for pneumonia”.

No one could tell me definitively whether this unstable lung junk is cancer; nor could they tell me it’s not, it’s just “concerning” to them. It's my lungs and my life, it's more than 'concerning' to me, it's freaking me out.

So after weighing my surgeon’s and oncologist’s opinions and huddling with my previous co-conspirator in silence and now my co-survivor who also accompanied me to my surgeon’s  appointment - here’s the plan:  a 10 day course of an antibiotic Levofloxacin (Levaquin) to deal with the pneumonia, take a week for lung to ‘chill out’ and then a PET Scan. If the PET scan lights up ‘Bob’ or any other lung junk as possibly cancer then it’s another ride on the EBUS for me. … Since my last EBUS killed me I am not eager to try that again.

I also raised my growing concerns about ‘country mouse’ medicine vs ‘city mouse’. Would my chances of survival be better if I lived in, or outside a major city with a medical reputation?

We are planning to drive to Baltimore should I need the next EBUS. 

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. All these tests can make a person go just knutts! Going for them, having them, waiting for results... and they say to avoid stress?? HA! I hope all the tests are negative for the "Big C" and just lung junk!! :)
    Jackie aka Bama

    1. Thanks Jackie!So true about those 'theys' who say to avoid stress?

  2. Good luck Patrick ! I know how hard this journey can be!

    1. Thank you I read about your and Ron's recent revisit to scanxiety.