Four days after his lung surgery, VIM Clinic patient Quay Giao is recovering in a private room at Martin Memorial Health Systems. He’s sitting in a chair, talking to a visitor, as surgeon Sunil Gandhi walks in the room.
Giao is groggy and moving slowly. He’s looking even smaller and more frail than usual, but he’s alert. He smiles broadly as he stands up, cups his hands together and bows to Dr. Gandhi.
There’s a wide variety of newspapers stacked up on the bed and side table. Giao’s body is sore and he’s not feeling too good. Even so, his thirst for current events evidently remains insatiable.
Giao winces as he moves because of the pain in his ribs. That’s the worst part, he says. It feels like his ribs have been broken. The surgeons had to get through the ribs to excise part of Giao’s lung for a biopsy. He has a bandage over the wound in his back and a tube in chest to drain fluid.
Originally treated for a lymphoma in his stomach, a follow up PET scan detected a spot on Giao’s lung. Physicians were concerned that Giao, who’d been a heavy smoker most of his life, had lung cancer. Hence the surgery to remove the affected tissue.
Giao, however, had always been confident about his outcome. He confided as much when he was at the VIM Clinic the week before his procedure, when Dr. Howard Voss cleared him for surgery. Turns out, he was right.
In the hospital room, Dr. Gandhi is impressed with Giao’s recovery, although Giao will need to stay in the hospital a day longer than first anticipated.
“He’s recovered well, better than I expected,” Dr. Gandhi said. He’s very pleased, indeed, with the outcome – as is Dr. Voss: Giao does not have lung cancer.
“We thought the mass that we had identified in his lung was cancerous,” Gandhi said. “However, it turned out to be more of an inflammatory mass, so it worked out in his favor.”
The mass may have been related to a childhood bout with tuberculosis, Dr. Voss suggested. The two centimeter mass in the upper lobe of his left lung was friable – easily fragmented – and easily removed.
Giao will go home in a few days. He’s anxious to get back to work and he’s planning a trip to Vietnam so he can see his octogenarian father and the ancient mountains of Da Nang.