PeterBPhillips' Journey with Lung Cancer

Survivor: Lung Cancer

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Male, Age: 51

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
    PeterBPhillips' Avatar


    Procedure or Surgery

    Initial thoracotomy to remove upper lobe of left lung along with 11cm tumor and 25 lymph nodes on 06/28/2011. I was released from hospital on 07/04/2012 and was getting a long really well at home (thank wife Marybeth!). Post op pain was managed pretty well and I was getting around home well for the first two days home, but on 3rd day had severe difficulty breathing and heart rate became a serious concern. A trip to the ER proved that I had a sever chylothorax leak that filled my plural area collapsing my remaining left lung. 10 days of liquid diet didn't dry out the leak and a thoracotomy on my right side was required to close off the leak. Once out of the hospital the 2nd time I was walking up to 5 miles at a time within 3 weeks. I was back to work and clean of cancer just after the labor day weekend. Because biopsy proved cancer was limited to the large & very well formed 11cm tumor, it was determined that neither chemo or radiation was required in my case. I was really relieved that I wasn't undergoing chemo, but something about it made me uneasy - it seemed too good to be true that I was cancer free and I think I had conditioned myself to expect the worst - though I was certainly keeping my chin up and trusting in my care. Unfortunately, my 2nd three month follow up cat scan revealed a small spot had formed on my left lung. I opted to just go in and get it - along with a little more of my poor left lung. I had that procedure done on 02/21/2012 and the tumor turned out to be malignant too. I had a new brain MRI taken this past Monday (we already know it was negative) and I have a new PET this Thursday. On Friday I start the first of 4 doses of chemo. I'm still on short term disability and will wait to see how the treatments go before determining when I'll go back to work. I've recovered well from the last procedure, but have ongoing pain along with nerve numbness stemming back to the first procedure, 06/2011, but all in all I'm pretty amazed at how the body heals itself. Part of me really wants to get back to work, but more of me wants to wait it out and get a solid footing of health under my belt before getting back to the grind. I'm really looking forward to starting chemo treatments, though I have no misconception about how that'll make me feel for the first 72 hrs or so after each treatment (once every 3rd week for 12 weeks). Having chemo feels as though I will have more bullets in my belt with which to fight back. Last summer really sucked so I'm looking forward to my treatments being finished the 1st half of June and then having a great summer, and many more after!

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
    PeterBPhillips' Avatar

    Decision Point

    After the removal of a 2nd tumor on 02/21/2012 I've opted to undergo chemo starting on 04/06/2012. I'm clean now, but I want to get preventative treatment to feel as though we're doing all we can. It's going to make my wife and rest of my family sleep better too. I'll check in during and after to report on how things are.

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