My Symptoms

The second most common lung cancer related question I am asked is, “What were your symptoms?”  Here is a list of things I remember and feel were directly related to me having lung cancer.

  1. Shortness of breath.  While on runs I would not be able to take in a chest full of air.  While climbing routes I’d come to the ground and feel winded.  When I complained to the docs about this feeling it was dismissed because I was 34 and still able to run for an hour or two.  I was given an asthma test, then an inhaler by my general practitioner (GP).
  2. Persistent cough.  I had a cough that once it started, it never went away.  Docs prescribed me bronchitis meds and pneumonia meds.
  3. Coughing up blood.  This was rather scary.  I was enjoying the backyard in the sunshine when I got a horrible coughing attack.  This time I produced blood.  I’m not talking small specs, think teaspoons/tablespoons full.  From that day forward I’d have an episode every day or every few days.  At this point I got a new GP, she ordered a chest X-ray and a tuberculosis test.
  4. Lost my voice.  I was shopping with my mom and niece when my voice decided to go on a vacation.  On the inside my tumor had grown large enough to apply pressure on my recurrent laryngeal nerve– which caused me to loose my voice.
  5. Collapsed lung.  This made it rather difficult for me to breathe.  However, with pain in a particular location it was easier for docs to figure out what was going on.  It felt like I was breathing in a crinkled up paper bag.  As I would inhale I could feel each crinkle expanding to let air in.  This was quite painful.

If you experience any of these things you should go to the doctor AND request an X-ray.

Oh, and the first most common lung cancer related question I am asked is, “Do you smoke?”  Really?!?! If I answered yes would that mean I deserve lung cancer and it is ok for it to kill me?

About kimmywink

I'm Kim. I've got advanced lung cancer. It sucks.
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3 Responses to My Symptoms

  1. Melanie says:

    Yes, my GP said the headaches that felt like a 2×4 smashing me in the back of the head were due to neck problems and stress over my daughters upcoming wedding. I had to demand a ct of my brain after a month of this. The dreaded brain met! And yes I smoked all my life so, I really do deserve it!

  2. Vandy Hall says:

    Kim – I just found your blog via carver bouldering info. Wow… Yes, you are right, NO one deserves to die of cancer. Really, no one deserves to die of an illness that you must struggle against (having friends that also struggle with things like Colitis). Really, it’s bad enough to have to live with it, which is still the better alternative most of the time. I’m so sorry to hear what you have been going through but very glad to see your blog. *hugs*

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