Just got back from seeing the pulmonary doctor, and while it's not perfectly wonderful news, it is totally not bad news either.
Definitely NOT bad.
According to him based on the CT scan there is nothing about my pulmonary nodules at the moment that appear specifically cancerous. The plan is to wait and watch them. Sometimes pulmonary nodules are immediately suspicious and have clear cancerous characteristics such as irregular edges. In those instances they require biopsy or surgery for confirmation right away. But some nodules, like mine, don’t possess any obvious criteria that indicates cancer. Plus mine are small enough that doing a needle biopsy is challenging and no one wants to start slicing into my lungs if the little buggers are a big fat nothing. So instead they monitor them to see if they change, if they grow. These nodules could be completely benign, could have been there for years without me knowing it. But unfortunately a pulmonary nodule that doesn’t start off looking suspicious can also still end up being cancerous eventually.
So if these nodules stay the same size they are considered stable and not likely to be any kind of threat. If they grow…well, that would be bad. I will have a CT scan in 4 months. Assuming they haven’t grown then my understanding is the CT scans continue every 3 or 4 months for two years. After that if there is still no change they cut back the scans to once or twice a year. For how long I don’t know. Oh, and the doctor said if it weren’t for my breast cancer history we’d only do the scans every year right from the start – even tho I am a former smoker. So they are watching me more carefully which somehow makes me feel both better and worse, you know? Like I’m comforted to know they are on top of this but nervous they think that’s necessary.
Over all the doctor was very positive…said he really doesn’t think this will turn out to be cancer. However, when asked, he said he can’t say for sure it isn’t. But he did repeatedly stress that in his opinion it won’t go that way. I want to hear that from another doctor so I will be getting a second opinion, just to be thorough and to ease my mind a bit further.
Like I said – it’s totally not bad news. It’s almost good news. Short of finding out the little buggers had disappeared, it’s probably the best news I could hope for. I guess I should be happy, but I think I’m still sort of processing this…it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve been so upset, so terrified that I think my body hasn’t fully come down from high alert, if that makes sense. And despite the positive outlook of the doctor it's hard not to see this as one more thing hanging over my head.
I need a vacation.
Last but by far not least -- I’m going to post personally on the comments thread from my previous blog entry but wanted to say a big gigantic thank you here till I get a chance to do that. People talk about how strong I am – and if there’s any truth to that I can honestly say a huge source of that strength has been this blog and the astonishing people who come here and lend me their compassion, support and love. It’s hard to describe how a disparate group of essentially strangers can make such an amazing impact on one life…but you each have, you’ll never know how much. Everyone who has ever offered me their kindness has made a difference, has touched my heart when I needed it most. You are all important to me and have carried me along when I thought I couldn’t go on. Thank you…thank you…thank you.