More information came my way this evening by way of a telephone call from my pulmonologist, Dr. Scheinberg.
My case was presented to a multidisciplinary group of physicians at St. Joseph's this morning. Absent were the medical oncologists, away at a conference. Dr. Scheinberg intends to consult with them as soon as they return. In the meantime, the consensus among the group present this morning is that if there is any involvement in the lymph nodes in my chest that I be treated with chemotherapy and radiation prior to surgery. Apparently, it is much more difficult for patients to tolerate this treatment after surgery, than before. The CT and PET scans were both negative for this involvement, but apparently these tests are not 100% percent accurate. (Too bad, because I believe the CT scan cost $5,900.00, and the PET scan was surely more.) I also get the impression that Scheinberg has concerns about the lymph nodes being involved. The problem is that the only way to make that absolute determination is to make an incision into the chest, under general anesthesia, to biopsy the nodes. This is routinely done at the time of the surgery. Since my surgery isn't scheduled until June 17, Scheinberg does not want to sit around and wait. (My hero, again.) He is scheduling two tests back to back, hopefully this week - an endoscopic ultrasound and an endobronchial ultrasound. One test is performed by a pulmonologist and one by a gastrointestinal MD. Protocol is similar to the bronchoscopy I had the week before last, meaning give me drugs, stick a tube down my throat, I wake up and don't remember anything. If the results are positive, we can start the chemo/radiation asap. If the results are negative, then we still have to wait for the surgery. This may not sound like good news, but for someone sitting around with a massive tumor in her chest, it feels like we're at least doing something. Too much information? You know it's more than I ever wanted to know.
Regardless, every time I talk to Scheinberg I feel cured, even if I'm not.