I saw the thoracic surgeon today, finally. I think at first he didn't really want to do the node biopsy, but since my oncologist referred me to him, he figured that she wanted the biopsy done so he's ok doing it. The biopsy is not without some risks: the biggest ones, aside from the usual ones associated with general anaesthetic, are internal bleeding and nicking a nerve causing vocal changes. So if we don't absolutely need to do the biopsy, we wouldn't do it.
But if we don't do the biopsy, then we won't know why the nodes are enlarged. And if we can't figure out why the nodes are enlarged, then we can't know how to treat that. If the nodes are enlarged due to sarcoidosis, then we might not need to treat them (or they could be treated with steroids). If they're enlarged due to breast cancer, we can change my treatment. A third possibility is that they could be enlarged due to something else like lymphoma. No matter what, we have to figure out what we're dealing with before we can move forward, so the biopsy is a necessity.
This biopsy is done under a general anaesthetic as day surgery and recovery takes about a week. At first the surgeon wanted to schedule the biopsy for after my trip (I'm going to meet my online mets support group friends during the weekend of June 3-6) but I really don't want to wait a minute longer than I need to for the biopsy. So we scheduled the biopsy for May 26 at 1pm. I expect that'll leave enough time to be recovered for my trip. Even if I'm a little sore and slow on my trip, that's ok; no one else there is going to be racing around.
I don't need to see my family doctor before the surgery, like I had to for other surgeries. This time, I just need to make an appointment to see the anaesthesiologist. That'll save time. I am currently supposed to see my regular surgeon and respirologist on the 26th and those appointments will have to be changed or cancelled. The surgeon today said that he could refer me to a respirologist here in town, which would be more convenient for me. He said that usually the respirologist refers patients to him, so we're doing everything backwards. :)
The biopsy results will take up to two weeks to come back. I'm currently supposed to see my oncologist a week after the biopsy but I'll call them and see whether we should change it. There's no point in seeing my oncologist for biopsy results if the results won't be there.