How many people would be happy to announce, “I have Stage 2 lung cancer!”?
I at least heard this as good news after being told 2 weeks ago that I had Stage 3 lung cancer following the lobectomy surgery to remove the malignant lung tumor. Today, my oncologist told me I really am Stage 2A, not Stage 3. He said as of this minute my cancer is considered in remission since there is no evidence of it having spread to any other organ. Cancer cells may still be there, but no other organ has been affected by them.
It was a great relief to be told I now have Stage 2 lung cancer – at least compared to the devastating news of 2 weeks ago. It certainly gave me a moment to breathe deeply and be thankful. This news was true even with the troubling news that 14 of 15 lymph nodes removed and biopsied had cancer. Still, the cancer seemed to be contained to one lung and one side of my body. The oncologist said he had never seen before the particular configuration of the small tumor, no signs of cancer in any other organ, and a large number of lymph nodes having cancer.
I went in to the oncology appointment with total uncertainty as to what would be next, but the news was quite hopeful. There is a path that seems straightforward. My tumor is going to be tested to see if it has one of two identifiable genetic mutations. If it has either, I agreed to consider doing a trial cancer study with treatment aimed specifically at destroying this genetic mutation. If I don’t have the genetic mutations, the oncologist proposed following a more standard procedure of chemotherapy with the hope of curing the cancer. All of the tests and treatment could be done here in Dayton.
Removing the lower lobe of the right lung appears to have been the right thing to do. The tumor is gone, and there is at the moment no organ known to have cancer in the body. The fight can now be taken to the cancer to see if it can be destroyed, so that I can be declared cured of cancer.