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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Pneumonia

Question: Mass found in lung during xray

 wylde2bme - Mon May 04, 2009 1:06 pm

My girlfriend is 45yrs old. She was a light smoker in the past but has been a non smoker for about 10yrs. She became ill with flu like symptoms (cough, fever, vomiting, diarreha, fluid in ears) last week and after 3 days I finally convinced her to see a doctor. The doctor said he thought she had pneumonia and sent her for xray. The xray showed a small "spot" on her left lung and the blood work showed elevated white and red blood cell counts. I know that and infection causes white blood cells to become elevated but what about red blood cells. I need to add that before she became ill she showed no symptoms. I am worried sick about this as my first thought was cancer but she has no family history of it. What are some alternative diagnosis that this could possibly be? All we have for right now is a "I'll call you" from the doctor. He didn't even tell us if it was in fact pneumonia but she is on antibiotics.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu May 14, 2009 9:15 pm

User avatar Hi there --

Sounds like your girlfriend may have had a bad viral infection that may have allowed an opporunistic secondary bacterial infection. Pneumonia can be a very black and white finding or sometimes just a borderline thing, a very fine line. The spot on her lung could well be a pneumoccal pus pocket or cyst, could be an old scar from the smoking days, could be a calcified lesion. Cancer isn't the first thing that comes to mind, although it's natural to wonder and your concern is appreciated. The elevated red cell count is most likely due to dehydration from diarrhea, fever and being off food part of the time during an acute illness. We don't know how elevated it was, but just being out of range could be due to a confluence of those factors above, and is the most likely reason, or the doctor would have ordered addtional tests.

If GF is on antibiotics and actually had developed a secondary pneumonia it should start to improve very soon. I certainly hope it does. Doctor should do a followup chest x-ray after the respiratory infection is thoroughly cleared up -- maybe the spot will be gone too then. Again, your concern is admirable, just don't want you to be overly worried right now, because all the findings are consistent with a really nasty enterovirus/pneumonitis and should start to resolve shortly. If this was pneumonia GF may feel a little run down for a week or two after the acute symptoms are past, but this is normal -- for that.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you both and please follow up here as needed.
 wylde2bme - Thu May 14, 2009 10:17 pm

Thank you so much for your reply. She is very precious to me and I tend to over react sometimes. I am happy to say that she is now feeling a lot better. It was very tough on her and she is as hard headed as they come and refused hospitalization. We watched my mother pass away from pneumonia in the hospital but she had an underlying illness (BOOP) and my girlfriend is freaked out about hospitals now. After a few days and a few trips to the ER late at night, they ordered her on oxygen at home and changed some of her meds. The oxygen helped tremendously with her recovery. They did a CAT SCAN and the spot was exactly what you said it could be. It was a little bit of scar tissue and some infection, which I guess was possibly the pus pocket you refered to.

What a relief to have her laughing and smiling again. She is still weak but that gets better everyday.

Thank you so much again for your reply. I think this site is great and the fact that professionals such as yourself take the time to come in and answer questions of freaked out family members like myself is just wonderful.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri May 15, 2009 4:43 pm

User avatar You're very welcome and thank you for your kind words about the site. We really do try to provide something useful. I'm glad to hear such wonderful news and am so happy for both of you that it all turned out just as it seemed it should. Having gone through an experience such as that with your mother is not only difficult in general, but given the situation, traumatic for everyone involved. BOOP really does make it an entirely different situation, though. I'm terribly sorry to learn of your loss, even if it is no longer recent. It's not something one forgets.

Again, thanks so much for the kind words and especially for sharing the good news here. Your girlfriend should being to improve exponentially now. I'm so glad to know she's more herself already. Good for you both!

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