CAT Scan Ordered to Check My Lungs

by Maggan

in Breast Cancer,CAT Scans,Granuloma


My new internist calls unexpectedly at 10.30 AM to give me feed back from my routine check up from three weeks ago. He is back from vacation and has just sorted through his pile of paperwork.

My blood count looks great. My cholesterol is 208, but only because I have 108 of good cholesterol, so nothing to give another thought. However, the routine x-ray showed a lesion – a granuloma he calls it – on the left lower lung lobe. It is only 8 mm.  Sounds insignificant to me because on the phone with the doctor I am unable to process that 8 mm is almost 1 cm which translates to almost half an inch. And I have no idea what a granuloma is although it sounds a bit more sinister than “lesion.”

“This is most likely,”  my doctor says — and his tone is authoritative and upbeat —  “a scar from old pneumonia.”  Since I had had pneumonia numerous times as a child, I eagerly grasp his straw.

Then my internist asks if I have had any other x-rays in the past year?

“No, I can not recall any chest x-rays.”

“Well,   then I will order a CAT scan, just because my radiologist is so obsessive compulsive.”

I do not blink. I am even cheerful because I know that, what ever is on my lung must come from my old pneumonia.  The word metastasis does not even enter my conscious,  I ask:

“What if it is not from pneumonia? What then?”

“Then you have to see a pulmonary specialist,” he says. “But it is too early for what ifs.”

He hangs up.

His abrupt tone and unwillingness to speculate makes me realize that the lesion could be breast cancer that has spread to the lung.

I look up granuloma on a pulmonary web site:

About 60% are of granulomas are benign,  most are the result of an inflammatory, immune system reaction. It could be pneumonia, tuberculosis, fungus. The other 40% of granulomas, or solitary pulmonary nodule as they are referred to (SPNs) are malignant, three-quarters of which are primary lung cancers, and one-quarter of which are metastases from other parts of the body.

First my blood trains. But  I feel fine, great in fact. I don’t cough. I am not tired.  I immediately push the unthinkable thought away. It has to be a scar from my childhood pneumonia.

Once more I have failed to pick up on this important clue: nurses, assistant, and post cards deliver good news. Doctors deal with the scary stuff.

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