This is long, but if you have time, please read it and give me your thoughts....
I'm a 32 year old male. Pretty overweight (6' 2") 280 Lbs. Around 200 is my ideal weight. Been smoking around a pack a day since I was 13 or 14. Until around age 25 I was normal weight, but around that that time I quit a heavy drinking habit and started gaining weight. I suppose I substituted malt liquor for McDonalds without thinking about it.
When I was about 27 I started having heart palpitations. Went to a cardiologist and he said that I have a some slight regurgitation in my mitral valve that wasn't anything to worry about and that I should quit smoking. He said the palpitations were nothing to worry about as well and weren't life threatening. For awhile the palpitations were quite disturbing but over time they went from one or two episodes a day to a couple a month and they really don't scare me that much anymore. However, a couple times I've had a few extended episodes where they keep coming back to back for several hours and each time I went to the ER. Last year in February was one of these extended episodes.
At the ER, as they've done all 3 or 4 times I've ended up there they basically assmue I'm having a heart attack and do the basic blood tests to check for heart attack and do chest x-rays. Each time there was no evidence of heart attack and they said to lose weight and quit smoking which regretfully, I still haven't done. I've cut back from a pack a day to 4 or 5 and lost 20 pounds after I quit drinking soda and fast food, but I still need to quit smoking entirely and seriously focus on losing weight.
Anyway, last summer I started having some irritiation in my throat, ear, and eventually in my chest. Basically felt like a minor cold that would never go away. My throat is never really sore, just scratchy, and the upper part of my chest always feels "raw" like I've been jogging in cold air. I have insurance now (which isn't that great of insurance but it's better than nothing), but it only recently went into effect. Back when all this started I was going to a local free clinic for medical care. I went to the free clinic twice with no explanation really. The first time they said allergies and the second GERD, which I don't think is the problem. I sould also mention that this irritation in my ear, throat, and upper chest is entirely on my right side. The left side feels fine. I also went to an ear nose and throat doctor and paid out of pocket with no explaniation either except to quit smoking.
Well now that I've got insurance, I made an appointment with a real, non-free clinic doctor. I told the doctor what was going on in my ear, throat, chest, but instead of trying to find out what the problem was, he gave me this holier than thou type attitude and lectured me for 15 minutes about my weight and how I should quit smoking (which I already know about). He said to try some Benadryl and that it's allergies. I told him that I already tried an anti-histimine but he just went back to my smoking and said he wanted a chest X-ray.
They did the chest x-ray and everything was normal except for about a pea sized spot on the very lower part of my right lung. He said that it might be cancer (great. I went for answers and walk out with more problems). He consulted another doctor and the other doctor seemed reluctant to on a CT scan, but said to do it anyway. Both docs said it might be from a past fungal infection and might not be anything to worry about, but wanted a CT anyway.
Well, after I left thier office I went back to the hospital/ER where I had my last chest x-ray back in Feb of 08. They gave me the images on a CD and I took them home and looked at them. I was curious if the spot was there in the older images. It wasn't. However, the x-ray from the hospital was MUCH cleaerer and high quality looking than the one from the doctors office. The x-ray machine in the doctors office today looked like it was from the 70's and actually had parts falling off of it. Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that it's nothing, but do you think that the spot they saw today was just an anomoly on the film and not actually a spot. Is this possible?
Given the fact that I've been a smoker for so long, had this thing in the right side of my throat ear and chest for so many months I was already scared of cancer, and now I'm even more worried. Plus the spot wasn't there a year ago.
Another thing that I'm worried about is that my insurance only covers up to 10,000 dollars per year. The doctor today said that the CT I'll be having is only about 800 to 1200 dollars, but I had a CT done in the ER several years ago when I was having extreme unexplained abdominal pain and it was over 6,000 dollars. Likewise, my wife went into the ER with a bad bladder infection and they did a CT and she got a bill for almost 7 grand.
Based on what I've read they'll probably want to do another CT in 3 months to see if the nodule has grown. If the first one is over 6,000 bucks, I just won't be able to have it done again until next year. Just paying the 20 percent on 10,000 is going to be hard enough.
I'm really worried and concerned and any advice, or anything you can share is greatly appreciated. I know I need to quit smoking and am planning on quitting this weekend as soon as I can afford some nicotine gum. I quit for 4 months with Nicorette a few years ago and it wasn't that bad, so I know I can do it again. I HAVE to quit this time. I also plan on continuing to lose weight and put more effort into doing it.
I guess I'm just one of those people that thought "I'll never happen to me". Now it feels like it's happening to me.
Thanks and sorry for the long post.