My lung cancer story started nine years ago. I had been treated for an upper respiratory infection and most of it had cleared up except for a persistent cough. I went back to my primary doctor once or twice about it. Based on my history he told me to get an X-ray of my lungs. I kind of laughed it off but he then told me that he had five patients with lung cancer and that two of them would survive. I had the X-ray. The X-ray found a spot on my right lung. Next was a CT scan that confirmed the X-ray. Finally I had a PET scan which also confirmed the prior findings.
I had Stage 1 non small cell lung cancer in the middle lobe of my right lung. I had VATS surgery to have the middle lobe removed which was done successfully.
The important parts of my story are first that my doctor took my cough seriously and investigated it right away. Secondly, the fact that my cancer was found early and treated early is why I am still here. We need to expand early detection screenings to more Americans.
I was fortunate to have had private employer paid health insurance at the time. Unfortunately, many, many other Americans do not. That is why the government needs to keep working for affordable, adequate and accessible healthcare. We also need to keep funding the CDC so they can protect us from diseases like lung cancer. Lastly, we need to increase funding for the NIH because of the research they do on cancer treatments.
I have had follow-up CT scans every year and for eight years all was going well. At one checkup, two very small nodules were found in my left lung. I was checked back that December again and those two were still there and two more were found as well. The doctors say most nodules do not turn into lung cancer. I will continue to be checked every six months to see if there is any change in those nodules. Again, the good news is that they were found early.
2022 update: Six months ago I had my routine annual CT scan and it showed that I had a small nodule on the lower lobe of my left lung. On this past December 9th, 2021 I had a a follow up to that test and the nodule was still there but had not grown. However, they found two new, small nodules on the top lobe of my left lung. In both cases my Doctor feels they are benign at this point due to their small size.