Well, I have lot to summarize, for 5+ months of healing!
The surgeon removed the top third or so of my lung in the thoracotomy, and the pain following that was pretty considerable. In pushing a rib up and out of the way to get at the lung, they’d injured the rib, and a lot of the pain stemmed from that. I went through a couple of rounds of pain meds, getting really tired of feeling confused and out-of-it all the time. I used them all, but never felt a craving for more, thank goodness! Scary stuff, but I’m thankful I had it when I needed it.
After I’d recovered some from the surgery, my oncologist started me on immunotherapy (Keytruda), an infusion every three weeks for (for starters) five treatments. I’d apparently tolerated it well during chemotherapy. Primary side effects were flu-like: fatigue, intestinal upset, aches and pains that were indistinguishable from surgical side effects.
Towards the end of the five treatments, a new CT scan showed new small spots on the remaining lung, though also a diminished lymph node. The radiologist who read the scan was concerned that the new spots might be a metastisis — a spreading of the original cancer — but the oncologist disagreed. I was still very short of breath, and he believed the spots indicated lung inflammation caused by the Keytruda. I’d read that it sometimes causes autoimmune problems by revving the immune system so high. So he stopped the Keytruda, and started me on a course of prednisone (a steroid). Bingo! It took a few days to take hold, but now I’m breathing well and feeling much better as I taper off the four-week steroid treatment. Up next is another CT scan (chest only, as the abdominal scan was all clear last scan), and a continuation of the Keytruda.
The pulmonologist has declared me “a success story,” and I’m feeling optimistic. Trying to move a little closer to normalcy by sleeping less, doing more. I’m also finding out how much anxiety and fear I’ve bottled up over the last year… as is Sweetie. Feeling a little out of control, emotionally, so it looks like it’s time I find a support group or therapist. It’s so unfair to pile it all on Sweetie when he’s having his own backlash problems. He’s been with me every step of the way, even when I acted less than grateful.
But I’m so much better. Such a relief to be able to breathe again, to start learning how to do housework again, to go shopping again, and even to make art again. I’m way out of shape, but now I can even fathom working on getting fitter. Wow.
Thanks so much for your support, and cards, phone calls, emails, FB messages, and all!
And always, always, thank you to my Sweetie.