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Cancer: Lung Message Board

Cancer: Lung Board Index make a short story long....

To each of you that is so new here....sadly, some of us have been walking this path for a while and hope we can offer some advice, or if nothing else, a shoulder. My keyboard is always ready and willing....we have found out that although we are separated by distance, here in our cyber-world, we are like a family. I hope you will feel this sense also.

Now, for the dang waiting. ARRRGHHHHHHH!!!! My hubby is a Viet Nam vet...he caught the tail end of the war. He smoked for more than 30 yrs 2-3 packs a day. In the days the Marlboro Man was in, John Wayne was a hero, and Jimmy Dean rolled up his cigs in his T-shirt sleeve. He quit 8 yrs ago (in '98) with the express desire to avoid getting cancer. He is 56. I am 46. We met on and online dating service and I never knew he was a smoker because I needed to date only non-smokers (due to allergies to tobacco smoke I didn't know I even had). We met in April 2003, dated for several months...a year and a half. He worked with horses, healthy as a horse himself. He worked full time for the US Post office, I worked full time at a bank. I started to help him in my spare time clean stalls, shovel feed, shovel sawdust...etc..because of a bad back due to war and eventually work injuries. He would run out of breath especially on hot humid days. He used an inhaler. The VA doc have adult asthma. Puff on this and you'll feel better. His chest hurt. The VA doc pulled a muscle while using the pitchfork in the stall...take Naproxen.....That summer he had a cough that kept on and on...I mentioned he should see the doc again...he waived me off. Stubborn man.
We eventually got married in Oct of 2004. On Thanksgiving Day 2004 he doubled up with chest pains. They continued to the point we were both up at night. Every night. At my insistance, we went back to the VA doc (his only doc) who began working him up for a heart cath scheduled for Dec 04. After all, he was 55, could be heart probs. The angiogram came in January since Evansville received an unexpected 24" of snow in one day...the night before his test. We were supposed to go to Paducah KY for it...3.5 hrs away. All was closed and cancelled. So, 4 weeks later the test. Nothing significant. Heart doc's not his heart. Need to look elsewhere. I looked on the internet, and they said lung disease can cause heart probs. So.....back to VA. In Feb, we saw a pulmonologist who ran a CT...and the dx of Bronchogenic Carcinoma. Yet it looked like in isolated mass, possibly removable. So...we were moved up to the next tier in the VA medical system...St Louis MO. 3.5 hrs away. A CT guided fine needle biopsy in March conclusively showed cancer. It was still operable. Non-small cell lung cancer...stage 3A. As a precaution, they ordered a PET scan at St Louis University. The day we went in early April the machine went down after we had been waiting for hours. We had to reschedule. Late April. The scan came back with Pleural effusion, and mets to the hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes. In a matter of hours, he went from 3A to 3B. Inoperable. Since then...May 2005 he has been undergoing chemo only since there is too much involvement for would fry his whole chest. You talk about frustration in the waiting. I often...well, shoot, always think that if we had not gone VA, he dx would have come sooner and possibly....the main tumor caught before it went into the lymph nodes. We have since then started useing our private medical insurance and our oncology group is super. They are out of Indy and always on the edge of new things.

Ultimately, medicine can only go so far. The human body can only handle so much. And, us loved ones that try desperately to help, get to a point we cannot stand to see our precious one suffer on and on. It is a slow death for us too. Please KNOW that here you will find folks that totally understand what you are going through. that despite the miles, we can bridge this distance by our keyboards and keep eachother strong and brave.

Sorry to make this a long message...was not my intention. But during this whole process, I have always said that the biggest issue, most frustrating and terrifying time was the constant waiting.

Take care. Love, prayers, healing and peace from So. IN.


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