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On August third, 2016 , after trying to cure a persistent cough for several months, my Doctor had a chest x-ray taken of my lungs. It was readily apparent that there was a large mass present in my right lung. This was followed by two weeks of prodding and probing and scanning my entire body.
On Friday, August 26, Marcia and I met with my oncologist, Dr. Hilary Ufearo to discuss the results. We have heard good things about him and he seems very knowledgeable, personable and he has a sense of humor. He bases out of the Coborn Cancer Center in St. Cloud which is part of CentraCare, a private health care system with facilities in Sauk Centre and is affiliated with the Mayo Clinic.
The news was less than encouraging. I officially have Non-Small Cell Adenocarcinoma, a type of lung cancer. I have an 11 centimeter tumor in my right lung and a small lesion in my brain. There is no indication, from my PET scan, that cancer has spread to any other locations. The only symptoms I currently have is a persistent cough and temporary shortness of breath after climbing stairs. These I have been managing with an inhaler, cough drops and otc nasal spray.
The indicated course of treatment is a combination of radiation, for up to two weeks, ( in Alexandria) and chemotherapy (in Sauk Centre). I will have a port implanted in my chest to facilitate the administration of the chemo. Radiation takes about 10 minutes per treatment and the chemo lasts about 4 hours. The brain lesion should require only two sessions of radiation.
As if that wasn't bad enough, an ultrasound showed that I have an abdominal aortic aneurysm that will require major surgery to repair. It was decided that treatment of the cancer should take precedent over treating the aneurysm for now.
Obviously the last few weeks have been difficult, not knowing all of the details. Now that we have a course of action does not make it any easier but at least we know where we must go. Words of support and encouragement are strongly encouraged and will be greatly appreciated.