The Surgery, The Recovery

The Surgery: Diagnosis

Now I was required to go through a CT scan (with contrast) – which obviously had to be done through private healthcare as this was a time-sensitive matter. After forking out an unexpected amount, it was only a better look at the mass that was gained. No concrete diagnosis. Therefore, still being in uncertainty I was to go through further testing.

Then I was referred by the doctor to the Respiratory Clinic at VGH (Vancouver General Hospital). There it was determined that I was to undergo a bronchoscopy, which would conclusively determine the nature of the mass detected. The procedure itself was a breeze, leaving me only with a bit of nausea for the day but no harm/discomfort otherwise. And best of all, I had an answer finally.

The mass detected in the bottom lobe of my right lung was a carcinoid tumor.

Carcinoid tumors are rare, slow-growing cancers. They usually start in the lining of the digestive tract or in the lungs. They grow slowly and don’t produce symptoms in the early stages. As a result, the average age of people diagnosed with digestive or lung carcinoids is about 60.

Surgery is the main treatment for carcinoid tumors. If they haven’t spread to other parts of the body, surgery can cure the cancer.


sam thegrizzly lung surgery bronchoscopy image vgh

The obsctruction seen blocking the major air-way was the carcinoid tumor. Image taken during the bronchoscopy procedure.

I was informed that the tumor took form for no specific reason. It was a mere shitty luck of the draw, and not related to my genes, lifestyle, or past habits (smoking – college days). Also, it had been detected at a fairly early stage as I had not begun to experience any sever symptoms – so I got super lucky there.

I also found out that the tumor’s nature caused it to occasionally secrete these hormones which would at times make me feel nauseous or sick to my stomach. This explained a lot actually, because I remember in the past couple years I would wake up feeling sick, for no apparent reason. At the time I would always just brush it off as a result of poor choice of food for dinner the night before. But it was good to now have a concrete reason for it all.

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