New Here and need to learn fast
Hi, I am in shock and don’t have much to share yet other than how I got here and really hoping I can get some guidance on what I need to ask and research quickly. I will likely share some stuff that isn’t even relevant but maybe someone will see a connection that can help me piece together next steps and/or questions so please bear with me.
For YEARS as far back as I can remember I’ve had GERD. Multiple drs have done various tests and have told me my cough when I sleep and wake in the morning is from Gerd/acid reflux. I mention this only because that’s been a concern of mine for many years. I cough up phlegm when I lay down and get up on the morning… totally fine the rest of the day. Never heart burn. There’s a name for it but basically silent Reflux. The coughing up phlegm has definitely increased in the past few years but again, 20 minutes after getting up in the am I am fine for rest of day.
I am a former many years smoker of 1/2-1 pack a day so I’ve always had an expressed interest whenever I had any testing done of ‘how are my lungs?!’
Not sure if this will ultimately prove to be relevant or not but On August 25th I was getting changed and noticed a pea sized bump on my rib just under my breast. I went to my primary dr. Who said this is a nothing burger.. soft, movable under your skin. No need to do anything BUT in the past 3 weeks it’s tripled in size and is now tender. I made an appt with a dermatologist. Just after I went to my primary I started getting this gnawing burning sensation in my upper left chest and for lack of a better way to explain it seems tender and that feels bruised or like a pulled muscle. No issue breathing but when I cough it hurts/burns so after 1.5 weeks I went to a pulmonologist. He is excellent and said I’m guessing you have a touch of bronchitis, here’s a slack and inhaler but let’s get a cat scan just to rule out pulmonary embolism. The very next day before my insurance approved the cat scan was my dermatologist appt for my bump… he really didn’t say much other than let’s make an appt, to take it out and see what it is. That appointment is not yet made. My pulmonologist said yesterday to maybe hold off on that because he doesn’t want to do anything to affect what seems like a quickly upcoming biopsy however I can’t help but want the results of what that is!
Fast forward to yesterday.. cat scan day.
Never did I expect this but here I am. I am told my middle lobe of right lung is partially collapsed. lesion on my sternum which seemed to be the biggest concerning marker both to ER Dr when he told me and separately my pulmonologist when we spoke later. There is something on the report about a 1.8 cm nodule near skin and I can’t help but wonder if that’s my bump mentioned above or inside the lung. I don’t know how to read this darn report. In short my pulmonologist wants an immediate PET Scan, wants me to see a thoracic surgeon for biopsy and was talking about likely chemo and radiation. It’s all a blur. I was scribbling notes but I they are jubberish to me today. I was in shock.
Obviously at this point the serious concern from my dr alone has scared the heck out of me.
Please if you folks can guide me with most important questions to ask.. what tests (if any) I should request, what plans I should make, what to expect .. really anything I would appreciate it.
I travel pretty frequently for work.. I obviously can still do that but have no idea what tomorrow, next week, next month or next year looks like for me now. That alone is overwhelming.
My kids are grown and live out of state. I live alone so really just trying to absorb this and don’t want to freak them out. I don’t want to over or under estimate the severity of this. I think for the moment I am doing both depending on the hour. I don’t know what I don’t know but my dr really sounded like we need to move fast.
PetScan is scheduled for next week.
Any and all advice is needed. If you have questions about the report findings I’d be more than happy to share more specifics because I don’t know what’s big and bad vs what really is not necessarily bad. Like I said lesion on sternum is what I repeatedly seemed to pick up from both docs as well as the partially collapsed mid lobe right lung and from what I can tell from the report it’s seems suspicious that a mass or nodule caused it but doesn’t seem like they actually saw one there?
Sorry for the long post! Happy to share my report if someone here is willing to decipher