Last Wednesday I met again with my oncologist, Dr. Danny Simms. He walked in smiling and said “It looks like we have some good news”. Joan and Linda were with me and that put a smile on their faces as well as mine. He said that the PET scan that I had had last week showed no spread of the cancer from the tumor on my left lung. He showed me the picture and the tumor looked like a flash bulb going off but all seemed well around it. He stated that he felt that operating on a cancer that had spread was not good practice but I seemed to be a very good candidate for surgery. He would not guarantee that the surgeon would not find signs in my pleura, Joan, ever the nurse, tells me that the term means the outside covering of the lung, or in my lymph nodes near the lung but indications from the tests and physical examination do not seem to show that any involvement exists in any other area. So Simms advises that I see a surgeon and recommended a Doctor McKee who also practices in Exeter. He made an appointment for me for Tuesday April 3rd.
McKee seems to have taken the position of my tactician while Simms remains my strategist. I asked Simms what to expect and he told me that McKee would recommend if, who, how, when and where the operation would take place but he expected it would be Exeter Hospital. Asked what would happen, he told me that it would very likely be as follows – an incision would be made between my ribs on my left side close to the tumor, my ribs would be spread and the upper lobe of my lung would be removed. The area would be carefully examined for any sign of the cancer spreading to other organs and I would be closed back up and then enjoy a weeks stay in the hospital, then home for six or so weeks of recovery. After which I would very likely be returned to Simms for a course of chemo therapy. All of this to be confirmed by McKee after my visit on the 3rd.
So, all in all, I believe that my guardian angel has, once again, given me an early warning that may have saved me from something much worse. I know I was saved a heart attack by a pain in my butt which caused me to see a vascular surgeon who found that I had a far worse problem, two blockages in my heart, which had produced no symptoms but which could, if left much longer undiscovered, have caused a fatal heart attack. This time a pain in my chest, which could have been a heart attack, caused the early discovery of a tumor on my lung. In my reading on the subject, the high death rate in lung cancer cases is largely due to the fact that there is seldom any warning of a lung tumor until you find yourself in stage four with a cancer widely spread, from which recovery is difficult if not impossible.
So I believe that we are holding “the high ground” and from that great defensive position, with the support of all of you who have prayed, thought positive thoughts and kept me in you minds, we have, along with a good strategist and a well recommend tactician, a force that can withstand the assault by the disease and now mount a overwhelming counter attack on our enemy cancer. So off we march to war. Please march with us.