I am a 32yr male, with no medical conditions, and have been an on/off social smoker for approx. 12yrs. Usually I would have 1 or 2 cigs a day after work, and then maybe a 6-8 during a night out when drinking (which I would say on average would be once every 2 weeks). Therefore, I would estimate at the very most on average would be 40-50 cigs a month (some months zero)
Sorry this a little, long - this is my story so far:
Mid Oct 2017 – minor cold, which cleared up after 3-4days and started to feel better. Cough lingered for 3weeks.
Mid Nov 2017 - and started coughing up blood. Had a chest XR which showed some consolidation in the lower right lobe. All blood tests, including TB, WBC, CRP, HIV, all normal. Took amoxicillin for 1 week. GP referred to chest clinic as lung cancer (they advised that it is more likely chest infection, but the only way to get seen within 2 weeks is to)
Early Dec2017 – Coughing up blood became less frequent. Another XR showed the same consolidation, and I therefore insisted to the chest clinic that I was very anxious and wanted a CT scan.
Mid Dec 2017 – CT scan showed persistent consolidation with possible abscess formation. “An ill-defined area of consolidation within the RLL with a 4.3cm thin walled rounded low attenuation component, adjacent to which is a 1.6cm area of low attenuation”. I was advised by the consultant that based on this scan lung cancer has been ruled out, as no mass or other node abnormality was seen in the CT and that most likely the appearance is infection with abscess formation.
Mid Dec 2017 - had a bronchoscopy where no abnormality has been seen. BAL (sputum) collected for analysis – it’s been 6 weeks or so and no growth seen. (Apparently can take on average 6-8weeks)
Feb 2018 – still waiting on Sputum AFB (checking for mycrobacteria and TB etc.), and potentially another CT Scan will be done later this month.
I appreciate this is a complicated diagnosis, but I feel completely helpless and really can’t move forward in life. The consultants believe the CT findings and hemoptysis are due to TB or a TB like bug (NTM, MAC or fungal) but are struggling to prove this just yet.
My main symptoms are fatigue (comes and goes, some days I feel ok), occasional chest pains, wheeze and some breathlessness – which is made worse when doing light exercise, coughing up blood (which has become a lot less frequent, but still happens and the blood is definitely coming the lungs), cough- comes and goes which is worse at night and in the cold. No fever, no night sweats, no chills.
Has anyone been through the similar tests / diagnosis process? I hope someone can relate to what I am going through and help? I am scared of lung cancer, but every time I mention this the consultant tells me that the CT scan has ruled this out and given my age and lightish smoking history that the chances of lung cancer are extremely small and I need to forget about this as everything is pointing to chronic infection of some kind. Is this my anxiety getting the better of me or am I right to be so worried? Would anyone suggest any other tests to be done? Or likely cause?
Thanks for reading my post, god bless.