What a great message board here!!! Has anyone here heard of, or experienced lung nodules as a result of coccidioidomycosis (a.k.a. "Valley Fever" which is caused by a mold spore that is prevalent in the southwest, especially Arizona)
I had a routine annual physical with a chest x-ray that showed a small nodule 2 weeks ago. A following CT scan showed that nodule was 1.9 x 2.0 cm in my lower right lung and also found a smaller 4 mm nodule on my upper left lung. There is no involvement of adjacent tissue, thankfully.
My pulmonolgist tested me for coccidioidomycosis and the test was positive for the IgG antibody and a comp fixation of 1:4. Apparently, the coccidioidomycosis can produce lung nodules that mimic lung cancer nodules. There are a significant number of documented cases where this has occurred. In addition, it frequently causes ongoing flu like symptoms and fatigue that can last for months - something from which I suffered all during January February and much of March. Tourists are most susceptible to infections because residents tend to develop immunities.
I had a biopsy of the larger nodule, but the results were “inconclusive”,
The docs here in Michigan don’t seem to give much, if any, credence to a connection between my lung nodules and the Valley Fever. I am awaiting PET scan results but the data I have seen so far suggests that won’t be conclusive for malignancy versus coccidioidomycosis.
I’m afraid I am facing thoracic surgery for a biopsy.
If anyone has any comments, advice or a story of their own, it would be greatly appreciated.
Update - In my earlier posting, I said I had an annual physical and subsequent CAT scan that showed a 1.9 x 2.0 CM nodule in my right lower lung. A much smaller 4 MM spot showed on my upper left lung. My doctor suspected it may be malignant because of my smoking history and sent me to a pulmonologist for a lung capacity test. She elected to do a coccidioidomycosis test based on my travel history to Arizona and the results were Comp Fixation 1:4, IgM Negative, IgG Positive. (Positive for the infection) Coccidioidomycosis is also known as Valley Fever, endemic to the Southwest, particularly, Arizona. I visited Arizona for two weeks last year in March and then for another week in November.
The pulmonologist also ordered a PET scan and I received the results today. There was not any unusual uptake of F 18 FDG in the nodule (or anywhere else) I am celebrating today!!! And I am thanking God for hearing the prayers of my friends, my family and myself these past two and a half weeks.
Just further validation that not every lung nodule is malignant. Now that said, the radiologist did caution that “bronchioloaveolar cell carcinoma has a very low metabolic activity, but the lack of radiotracer uptake is somewhat reassuring in that this very well could represent a post infectious granuloma”. (Like VF)
I certainly have more to do to get through this whole thing, but now I can focus on the VF. My symptoms have continued to improve and I am feeling better each day without medication at this point. I will see the Infectious Disease doc next week to see what the next steps are.
Today though, I am reflecting on our risen savior and God’s love. He does indeed listen to those who reach out to Him.
Hope you keep us updated.
(Just a note on the PET Scan – My research shows that the PET can be positive with VF nodules under certain conditions. So please don’t anyone assume that a hot PET automatically means malignancy)
If it is valley fever the infectioius disease doc will put you on an antibiotic/antifungal couse to kill the spores. Valley fever can be very serious so be compliant with whatever med regime the doctor gives you. Good luck!!!
Thanks for the advice on Valley Fever, Mari. I've learned much about this disease over the past few weeks, and I have read volumes of information on the subject. But I want to learn more. With all that has transpired this past week, I now finally have 2 doctors and a throracic surgeon telling there is a high degree of evidence my lung nodule problem is cocci (Valley Fever). When this all started, they thought it was lung cancer.
Mari, if you or anyone else out there have information or a story about Valley Fever, I would love to hear it. The people who live in the Southwest, for the most part, know about this condition. When I tell people here in Michigan about coccidioidomycosis or "Valley Fever"..... the reaction is "What?" or "say that again". I hope to inform as many people here as I can about this because, travellers to the southwest (and we have many) are vulberable to this disease and the doctors here are not very aware of it.