Image by yewenyi via Flickr
Wanted to fill you in on the consult I had Friday with the oncologist.
PET Scan shows very positive for cancer in my lungs but
Biopsy returned 3 (three) negative results for cancer.
What they DID find was a fungal infection which is associated with a common bacteria to which humans are normally immune. This bacteria lives literally everywhere on the planet, and is therefore very common.
For some reason last year(apparently) my immune system suffered some deterioration and the bacteria was able to establish a stronghold in my lungs. It’s this which caused the fungal infection, with symptoms very much like pneumonia. I will be seeing someone who is a specialist in these types of diseases on Monday. I am already taking a specific antibiotic to combat the bacteria.
Other than that there are 3 lymph nodules of interest in/near my upper respiratory tract which also indicated in the PET scan may be cancerous, determined by the high uptake of dyes. At least one of these, if proven to be cancerous, would be considered inoperable. I will be scheduled for another biopsy within the next couple of days.
Since the 1st biopsy returned no cancer cells, it appears that the cancer in my left lung may be surrounded by the fungal growth, which in the end is a great thing as it would mean that most likely this cancer has been detected within only a few months of its presenting.
The survival rate for patients diagnosed with lung cancer at my age is very low, ( less than 3% live 12+months after diagnosis) but that is because most cases in that demographic are diagnosed in a late stage of the condition. If I am right, and the cancer is very young, my chances of survival increase exponentially.
Depending, of course, on the exact form of the cancer, whether small-cell or non small-cell. (Small cell is inoperable at every stage.)
I think the order it came to be is something like this:
I caught a flu virus, was sick as hell for about a month beginning Nov 07.
Right after that I caught another DIFFERENT flu virus and was sick about another month beginning late Dec 07.
I think I inhaled some foreign substance, possible while cleaning computers ( a common task) while I was getting over that flu.
The substance lodged in my lung and created a mild ‘walking’ pneumonia that kept flaring up every 3-4 weeks until last Aug, when I experienced a partial lung collapse. During this time, I think my immune system became weaker due to constantly fighting this pneumonia.
As the system grew weaker, an avenue was created for the bacteria to gain a foothold in the weakest part – my lung.
I think the reason for the collapsed lung was the fungal growth caused by the bacterial infection.
After that, I drastically reduced my smoking and felt slightly better for a month or so, then in late October last year became seriously ill to the point of being bedridden for a few weeks. I think the cancer was allowed to start right about then, while my immune system was nearly completely dead.
Between the fungal growth and the cancer, I developed a massive amount of infection in my lungs. When I drank all that moonshine in Nov and it made me feel better, I think that perhaps I had just flushed much of that infection out of me. The stuff I coughed up back then was thick, nasty and mostly black. Naturally I would feel better for awhile after that, until the infection built back up and completely closed most of my airways again. Which is what drove me to the doctors this time.
Anyway… you can see that there are still no definitive answer(s) just yet. I was really hoping there would be something a bit more concrete to tell you, but as this thing progresses it appears that more questions are revealed. Bottom line is this: more tests next week and the following week, most likely some surgery and then it’s all smooth groove after that.
I am Jon, walking through the weather, as are we all.