I’m sorry to have to share difficult news; it’s painful for me to share and I fear may be difficult for you receive. So grab a chair or get a glass of water. I have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Late last winter I began having a dry hacking cough. Cynthia Ferrier MD, my Primary Care Physician, thought perhaps I was having a reflux problem and prescribed Omeprazole. That stopped the cough.
Then in early February I began to notice a whistling sound as I exhaled. Initially this only occurred when I would awaken from sleep. As time went on I became increasingly short of breath.
A chest Xray, doctor’s visit, and ultrasound earned me a referral to a wonderful pulmonologist, Dr. Lou Libby. On Wednesday, 3/29, he did a thoracentesis and drained almost a liter of fluid from my left lung that looked for all the world like a nice IPA with a head on it! While my doctor’s were hoping for some kind of rare fungal infection, they didn’t find evidence of it in the fluid. They also didn’t find cancer cells. So, on Friday, 3/31, I had a bronchoscopy where they took biopsies of the lung tissue which did show cancer cells.
It is very early in the process so I don’t know too many details about it. This next week is about staging and planning treatment. Dr. Libby will be having a multidisciplinary case conference, I will have a PET scan of my lungs to see where and how active the cancer is, and on Thursday an MRI of my brain. After all this I should have a better sense of what the future holds. I am not in pain. My most prominent symptoms are cough, fatigue and increasing shortness of breath. Friday when my PCP, Cynthia, called to see how I was doing I was short of breath. She arranged for me to go to the hospital radiology department for an ultrasound and, if necessary, another thoracentesis. This time they took off 1200 cc (more Hefeweizen than IPA). My breathing is much easier since!
It is difficult to know what my emotions are. Sometimes I think I am very “evolved” and handling all this very well……..at others I fear I am in denial so I don’t panic! Charles is my love and my rock! He is devastated, but able to share that with me. I am so blessed to have a partner with whom I can talk about absolutely anything!! I am blessed to have brilliant physicians who are human and who can take the time to show me that they care about me as a human being beyond a “case”.
Dear Ones, I don’t know what to ask for from you, other than your love, support and prayers, whatever form those take. My friend, TJ, is helping me set up and maintain a Caring Bridge website to send out updates, and a Lotsa Helping Hands website for more practical ways to help if you wish.
Of course I would love to hear from you! Perhaps emails, texts, or cards at first that I can answer as I have energy would be best.
Love to you, Carmen
Carmen Davis, Ph.D.503 349-4468 firstname.lastname@example.org
Be kind; everyone you know is fighting a great battle. — John Watson