I’m a 59 year old former smoker who was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in July of 2015, some 18 years after I quit smoking. Subsequently, I had a lobectomy of my right upper lobe followed 90 days later with a lobectomy of my lower left lobe. Right upper lobe was Stage 1A with no activity in the lymph nodes. Left lower lobe was Stage 3A because there was more than one tumor present and there was some activity in the local lymph nodes, i.e. the nodes leading to the other lung. I’m probably not saying this correctly. Both were primary tumors in that they had different pathologies, the left one was a form of adenocarcinoma that was more aggressive.than the tumor in the right lung. I had three cycles of adjuvant chemo and my scans remain unchanged. There are two ground glass nodules, approximately 5 mm each, in upper left but their status hasn’t changed in the last two years.
Here’s my question. Are there some guidelines I should follow with regard to respiratory ailments in what I refer to as my mini-lungs? I’ve got some kind of virus now and I’ve noticed that my coughing is much more violent, painful and prolonged. It’s a rather bizarre sensation that feels as if my lungs are trying to wring themselves out. My PCP has prescribed prednisone and an albuterol inhaler and, blessedly, cough medicine with codeine.
Should I contact my oncologist? Is there any areas of concern regarding surgically repaired lungs? My instinct was to call my PCP as soon as the cough appeared rather than waiting to see if it went away on its own as I would have done before my surgery. Am I just being paranoid?
I don’t think you’re being paranoid, you’ve had a drastic reduction in lung mass. You are likely getting the treatment you need. However it’s important to let your oncologist know about any changes and new or worsening symptoms like this. I would certainly have my husband call his oncologist to “let them know” in case they want to move up your next CT scan. Another thing that may be useful is to have a pulmonologist who specializes in or sees a lot of resected lungs for all your pulmonary issues. They are the doctors who will have the most up to date info on how best to care for your respiratory system.
I hope you are feeling better soon.