LUNG FORCE Heroes
It was a typically cold February 6, 2014 in Wisconsin. I had a headache that turned into a migraine. Nausea, dizziness and severe light sensitivity. My husband took me to ThedaClark Regional Medical Center in Neenah, WI. They had an exam room available in short order, thankfully!
In came Dr. Christopher Hugo with a loud booming voice and I thought please...I have a migraine. After some questions and blood work, Dr. Hugh ordered a CT scan. I was sedated to help the migraine pain. Dr. Hugo then ordered a second CT scan and off I went again.
All I remember after that was him talking to my husband saying "it could be cancerous nodules in both lungs."
There was one nodule in each upper lung. I was of course terrified at the thought of having cancer. Fast forward to UW Madison Hospitals and Clinics and to Pulmonolgist, Dr. J Scott Ferguson. Following a Bronchoscopy and needle guided CT the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma was confirmed. Fast forward once again to Thoracic Surgeon, Dr. James Maloney. The "Gold Standard" in my case was to completely remove the right upper lobe and to perform a wedge resection on the upper left. I have always been extremely particular with regard to my medical care and the physicians I have come to trust and although all that the physicians explained made perfect sense, I felt a second onion was in order.
Cleveland Clinic was my next stop for a second opinion. The recommendation was the same as that of Dr. Maloney. Two months after my diagnosis I had separate surgeries to remove the nodules. I received good news that the nodules were independent primaries and there was no lymph node involvement! I was in stage 1. As you may know, finding lung cancer in this stage is not common. Furthermore, I have never had a migraine since the one that sent me to the ER. I am four years post surgery and doing very well! No chemo, no radiation, no immunotherapy, no medications and a rescue inhaler I rarely use.
Dr. Ferguson refers to me as their star patient as my PFT's are not far off normal limits. I go to Madison every 6 months for a follow up CT and at 5 years I'll be considered cancer free with follow up annually. My physicians, APNP's, nurses and all that I have come to know in Madison are like extended family to me. May God always bless my medical team and Dr. Hugo who essentially saved my life!
First published: January 10, 2019
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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.