I just met with Dr. Chang, my thoracic surgeon, to go over biopsy results from last week’s procedure.
The good news: next Tuesday I will not need to undergo the bilobectomy, an operation requiring a hospital stay of 1 week, and an additional 6 weeks of recovery time. They will not be slicing through the back muscles I’ve worked so hard at the gym to build, and I will not lose 2/3 of my right lung.
The bad news: out of the 4 lymph nodes they biopsied, 3 are positive for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. One of these is outside my lungs, another is in the left lung. This, in addition to the two tumors in my right lung , means that the cancer is now staged at IIIb. They do not do surgery on IIIb lung cancer patients.
Now that my relationship with Dr. Chang has come to an end, I’ll be forming a new relationship with an oncologist. I’ll be undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, probably during the same time period.
While this news doesn’t fill me with joy, I’m not very surprised.
Last night, while I was doing all the little mental exercises one does to try to stop obsessing; over biopsy results, possible surgery, impact on my job and the rest of my life; I was suddenly filled with a feeling of calm. At that moment, I knew two things: that I wouldn’t be having surgery, and, more importantly, that it would be alright.
Right now, I’ve just got to go with the “it’s going to be alright” mantra. A rather prickly friend of mine, who is at least as impatient as I, is always telling me to relax and breathe. And so, I will. I will.