LUNG FORCE Heroes
A backwards story. I was never informed by my healthcare providers of this scan despite fitting the parameters for it. In July 2016, I was tired, but feeling OK. No cough, no hemoptysis, but I was having some memory issues and visual issues.
I spoke to my cardiologist about my memory and he reassured me he had known me a long time and I was an intelligent man. The ophthalmologist could find nothing wrong with my eyes. I was referred to neurology office but a month wait to be seen. Then I got a cold and never really recovered. I went back to my primary care physician who advised me to gargle and use nose spray, and asked about a chest x-ray as I was having trouble breathing, but told my chest was clear and no CXR indicated.
My wife knew I was sick. We had been married 50+ years. I had smoked when I was younger, two pack day history at times, but had successful smoking cessation in 1988. I WAS COMPLIANT MEDICALLY. I felt worse, and a week later another cardiologist says my chest sounded terrible. CXR and thoracic CT were grossly abnormal. I was admitted to the hospital. A week later I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer also in my lymph system and my brain--hence my memory loss and visual deficits.
I had radiation to the largest chest tumor, resection of occipital lobe brain tumor, both non-small cell lung cancer Squamous Cell. The cancer was very aggressive and went from independent to dependent totally in six weeks. I never left the hospital and got worse neuro-wise, so canceled cyber knife treatment for the other brain tumors, and was not well enough for chemo, or genetic testing to see if newer drugs may help.
I was sent to inpatient hospice on 9/20/16...and went to Heaven on 9/25/16. My family really misses me, this was and still is very traumatic for them. If I had gotten a low dose CT lung screening in January of 2016, I wonder if I may still be alive and have time to tell my family goodbye. I want people to know my story, because if my story can keep one other family from experiencing what my family did, then it is worth telling and sharing. No family should endure this; too many have to. I hope eventually CT lung screening is no different than other common scans and is used for preventive testing.
Told for me by my only child and daughter, a real Daddy's Girl and a MMSc, PA-C.
First published: September 13, 2017
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Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.