Survivor Spotlight: Vincent

2018-03-23T18:05:41+00:00June 23rd, 2017|News|1 Comment

Vincent getting ready to take a ride on his longboard.

By Vincent Wuellner

“There was an element of chance in my lung cancer diagnosis.  A coworker noticed a lump in the skin at the base of my neck and advised me to have it looked at.  It turned out to be nothing, but the x-ray image did show an area of concern in the upper lobe of my left lung. I was referred to a pulmonologist and had CT scans every six months for several years that showed the spot slowly growing and increasing in density.

The growth continued consistently with each scan, so I underwent a needle biopsy. The result was stage 1a non-small cell adenocarcinoma.

There is no doubt a cancer diagnosis gets your attention. I had just turned 57, was married to a wonderful woman, physically active, working full-time and was enjoying watching my son progress through high school.  Cancer was the last thing I wanted to deal with.

I quickly learned that surgery, a lobectomy, was the only treatment option available to me.  This was difficult for me to accept, and became my main concern.  I did a great deal of Internet research for an alternative treatment solution.  I experienced a lot of anxiety about the surgery, my main worry being potential breathing issues.  The irreversibility of the procedure frightened me; once the lobe was removed, it was gone forever.

My research led me to Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), where I began reading blogs and articles, and was soon asking questions and getting prompt answers.  I really liked the site.  It felt like a community.  I was connected with a Phone Buddy; an amazing guy who had been through an experience very similar to my own.  This was a big step in my acceptance of having the surgery.

I underwent surgery at Moffitt Cancer Center on February 8, 2016, went home eight days later, and returned to work on March 18. Following my surgeon’s advice, I walked every day, first around the hospital and gradually made my way to one mile, then two.  In April, l started riding my longboard skateboards again, and now, a little over a year later, I often skate 20 miles or more on a free weekend.

My advice to anyone facing a lung cancer diagnosis?  Consider a second opinion. I didn’t feel comfortable with some of what I heard from the first surgeon I consulted, but was able to find a better option for me. Also, reach out to LCA for support, not only is it a great resource; I found it to be a community of caring people.  No matter how alone you feel, know there is a community supporting you and people who have walked in your shoes.”

Do you have questions about your lung cancer diagnosis or just need someone to talk to? Call us! 1-800-298-2436.

One Comment

  1. mesh June 27, 2017 at 6:50 am - Reply

    My obsessive exploring of my neck resulted in me finding a lymph node. At my demand, this led to a CT scan and biopsy and on December 10, 2008, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. A PET scan a few days later reported that I had “at least” stage 3B inoperable non-small cell lung cancer. I had 3 tumours in my right lung, 2 in my left, bulky disease on the right side of my neck. Cancer was present in the lymph nodes on the left side of my neck, across my shoulders and down through my bronchus. Not that it makes a difference, but I was a non-smoker.

    My life fell apart. I cried for my children and my wife. I cried because I didn’t want to leave them without a mother and a wife. I was always confident, together, logical and capable and that all went out the window when I was told I had cancer.

    It is not lost on me as to how supported I was by my wife, family and our community of neighbours and friends. We immediately knew we weren’t alone in this.

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