Coping with lung cancer and heart disease

I was preparing for heart surgery when I received a lung cancer diagnosis. The two health problems could have had dire results, but fortunately, I found a thoracic surgeon at MD Anderson who could help me navigate not one, but two complicated surgeries – and come out cancer-free. A sarcomatoid carcinoma diagnosis I was first diagnosed with aortic stenosis in 2010, and by February 2016 I knew it would need to be repaired surgically, but given the risks, my cardiologist recommended I wait six months. Then, in April, I started coughing up blood. I thought it was allergies. Even though it stopped, I went to see my doctor. A chest X-ray came back abnormal, so I was sent to a pulmonologist, who ordered a CT scan and found a 3-cm tumor in the lower lobe of my right lung. The pulmonologist then did a biopsy, which revealed a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer called sarcomatoid carcinoma. My lung cancer surgery at MD Anderson On May 26, I saw Dr. Mara Antonoff at MD Anderson.  She warned me that it was too risky to operate on my lung without first replacing my aortic valve. I discussed options with my cardiologist, who recommended one surgery to replace the heart valve and remove the tumor at the same time. But that seemed like two very different types of operations requiring different skill sets. I turned his idea down. My wife and I were in despair, but Dr. Antonoff had a plan. She referred me to one of her research partners who does minimally invasive valve surgery. He recommended that I undergo a...