MAYWOOD, IL – After Victor Gryniewicz was diagnosed with lung cancer, surgeons at two hospitals said his entire right lung would have to be removed.
Mr. Gryniewicz, a jogger, bicyclist and swimmer, did not want to limit his active lifestyle, so he sought a third opinion from Loyola Medicine thoracic surgeon James Lubawski, MD.
Dr. Lubawski said he could take out the entire tumor in a lung-sparing surgery that would remove only the top lobe (section) of the lung and a segment of the lower lobe, preserving 65 percent of the lung's function.
"If you have major surgery that cures you of cancer but takes away the things you enjoy doing, it doesn't feel like as much of a victory as curing the cancer and keeping your life the way it is," Dr. Lubawski said.
Having one lung is sufficient for day-to-day functions but not enough for more strenuous activities, Dr. Lubawski said.
Mr. Gryniewicz, a nonsmoker, is cancer-free, and has returned to his vigorous lifestyle that also includes roller blading, cross-country skiing and scuba diving.
"I'm back to being very athletic and I am very happy to have my entire breath back," he said.
Mr. Gryniewicz and his wife, Pam, recently celebrated their 30 anniversary with a trip to Europe. One of the highlights was going up a 7,000-foot mountain. Despite the thin air, Mr. Gryniewicz had no trouble breathing.
They emailed Dr. Lubawski a photo of themselves holding a sign that read:
Vic's lungs are working fine in the Swiss Alps.
Vic and Pam
"I thought the photo was wonderful," Dr. Lubawski said. "It made it all worthwhile."
Loyola Medicine's lung and thoracic oncology program combines multidisciplinary care with research to fight the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Patients are offered world-class treatments with compassionate care.