Multi-focal Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs

September, 2017

I had Multi-focal Adenocarcinoma of the lungs. My long – time surgeon, Dr. Henning Gaissert saw the nodule in my last CT Scan. He had already had a conference with my oncologist Dr. Jennifer Temel, her assistant and my radiologist Dr. Henning Willers. We (Dave and I) talked about a plan for me and it wouldn’t be surgery. They had another plan. But first I learned that the name of my cancer had been changed, renamed by how it presents itself. It’s now called Multi-focal Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs.

The reason that my cancer has been renamed is because researchers have learned to differentiate between different types of lung cancers and how they all present themselves and where they present themselves within the lung area. And I now know that it is also a chronic disease. It is NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) and it might reappear again.

Multi-focal adenocarcinoma.
Multi-focal Adenocarcinoma

Since 1997 when I had my first lung cancer, I have had 3 other cancers, a total of 6 lung tumors. One of those times was in 2007 when I had my left upper lung and lingula surgically removed. This new cancer is along the staple line of that operation. It is considered a new primary cancer because it is believed that after a 10 year period it would not be a metastasis.

My doctors decided that I would have Stereotactic Body Radiation (SBRT), a new way of delivering x-rays. Briefly, it uses different types of focused radiation beams with much lower energy intensity than older methods.

Unlike diabetes, another chronic illness that can be controlled with medicines, Multi- focal Adenocarcinoma of the lungs has no  medicines that will control it nor any preventive treatments. And the majority of people who get this do not survive for a long time. I was so lucky that an accident, years ago, led me to have an Xray of my side. An unexpected shadow was picked up. That shadow was a small tumor and it was found early. Because of yearly follow-ups we have been able to keep on top of them. But it is very rare to survive twenty years. I can’t tell you how fortunate and lucky I feel.

“SBRT: Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is a technique for directing multiple beams of high dose radiation very precisely to a tumor, using coordinates provided by radiologic imaging. This non-invasive therapy delivers photon radiation from numerous angles to focus at one point, similar to a magnifying glass. It is used to treat tumors in the body, most commonly in the lung, liver, pancreas, head and neck region, and spine. The therapy generally involves 1–5 treatments (known as “fractions”) delivered via a high-tech radiation treatment machine called a True Beam machine (Varian) . Patient immobilization is critical for accurate targeting and reproducibility in each treatment.

By using a large number of unique beams and by changing the dose and time of individual beams, the beams can pass through healthy tissue, precisely targeting a tumor. And this helps prevent a lot of damage to surrounding tissue.It has revolutionized the way lung cancers are treated by greatly increasing the chances of getting rid the tumor while minimizing any risks.

Photons have no mass and no charge and therefore travel easily through the target. As long as there aren’t any major organs in the way it is an excellent course for treatment for many people. And you are not radioactive after.

I never floundered with their suggestions about what they thought was the best solution with this new cancer. I didn’t have to think over a million options. There weren’t any as good as SBRT, not for me, which is very discouraging when you think about it but at least it’s an option.

I have heard many people, myself included; say that “cancer is like a roller coaster.” It’s no joke. At times I feel like my heart turns in on itself, numbing any feeling of fear or loss of hope. And at other times I feel a sense of elation, of hope, of great love. Hope tastes delicious, like the first lick of chocolate ice cream after a very long winter.

After you come out of the cancer closet there is an unusual amount of attention paid to you. You are the star!!  Friends, doctors, hospital staff telephone receptionist, and most importantly your family and friends. They are your ministers of caring and they will be with you throughout. They will ask over and over how you feel, bring you food, flowers, etc. And you inhale every glorious bit of it with a hungry appetite. So when I have a doctor’s appointment it is a positive thing. The attention and assessment of the next step are all part of the feedback loop that makes this intrusion into your life more bearable. This is the roller coaster car going uphill.

Some people think that if I turn this over to a higher power I would be either cured or have an easier time.  But I just can’t. I know that a lot of people have a hard time understanding this. My only niece was murdered a couple of years before my first cancer and six months later my mother passed away. I feel that if there were a higher power it would have interceded. Since then I have struggled with finding an answer.

1 thoughts on “Multi-focal Adenocarcinoma of the Lungs

  1. Pingback: CT Scans - Tests for Cancer| Cancer blog| My Twenty years

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