In August 2018, I was driving down Rt 2 East, by Davis-Besse Power Plant in Oak Harbor, OH and saw a billboard that said "If you have ever smoked, you could be eligible for a life-saving lung scan." My husband and I had quit 12 years ago and were totally without any symptoms but the billboard stuck in my head. In October, we had our annual physicals done at Cleveland Clinic. After we were done, I mentioned the billboard to my doctor and asked if we were eligible since we were former smokers. He said yes and we were scheduled for the initial lung scan in January 2019.
Two days later, we received a call from Cleveland Clinic and both of us were told the scan revealed a suspicious looking area on our lungs. The recommendation was for my husband to be scanned again in 6 months. My recommendation was to have a follow up in three months.
My daughter, a 20-year RN at Beaumont Hospital in Trenton, gave me a doctor's phone number to have him look at the initial scan and report. I saw him in Feb 2019 and after reviewing all the information, he recommended I repeat the scan in three months. He said, "If there are any changes then he would recommend another scan six months after that," and asked if I was comfortable with that treatment plan. I said yes.
He had me be tested for TB to rule that out and also ordered a PET scan. Both came back negative.
In May, my second scan was done and I received a call from the doctor's office because he ordered a lung biopsy for me based on the second scan. The biopsy came back as "malignant". I set up an appointment for a consultation to explain my treatment options: 1.) do nothing (he said a few of his patients chose this option) 2.) thoracotomy with lobotomy to remove my upper left lung and some surrounding lymph nodes performed by him 3. ) same surgery but performed robotically, which he does not do and would refer me to another surgeon 4.) chemo and radiation treatments. My family discussed it in his office and chose to have him do the surgery. I had already had a pulmonary lung function test done so I was sent to a cardiologist for cardiac clearance. Once clearance was obtained, my surgery date was scheduled for July 25, 2019.
The surgery was successful and my upper left lobe plus lymph nodes were removed. The lymph nodes tested were negative! The doctor then referred me to an oncologist. He looked at all the reports and determined that I was "CANCER FREE". He was extremely happy and said he usually doesn't see many Stage 1 success stories. I am to return to his office in November 2019 for follow up.
I felt compelled to submit my success story. I have spread the word to all of my former smoker friends and family to have the lung scan done and have been a spokeperson to everyone about the poster.
If I had not acted on getting the lung scan done, I would not have known that lung cancer was growing in my body since I had absolutely no symptoms. I believed myself to be a healthy, happy 65-year-old who had been smart enough to quit smoking 12 years ago and had convinced my husband to do the same. ALL former smokers and even those that lived with a smoker and was subjected to second-hand smoke should go get the scan done. IT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE! I will forever be grateful to SavedByTheScan.org. It is a fantastic feeling to know that by being proactive with my health, I can say I am cancer free!!
First published: September 9, 2019