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bronchitis and brown/rusty phlegm
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bronchitis and brown/rusty phlegm

Hi, I recently quit smoking when I became sick back in October, and have been sick on and off to this date. I have been a smoker of both cigarettes and cannibis for years, and my father died of lung cancer in 97. Around Thanksgiving I developed a hacking cough and produced fresh blood in my phlegm. I saw a pulmonary doctor and he diagnosed me with bronchitis, he took a chest x-ray and said my lungs were fine, but didn't order a CT scan b/c I was rattling, and said he wouldn't unless I was still coughing up blood after my bronchitis clears. He put me on 12 day steroid treatment & a hydrocodone syrup, but the meds bloated me and I developed horrible pains under my right rib cage, and chest pains. I stopped the steroids short of two days, at the suggestion of my regular physician, who gave me prevacid, when that didn't help my pains, he ordered a sonogram and that was fine. I saw my pulmonary again, he said my chest pains are from coughing, I was still producing lots of mucous, white thick, some yellow, plus brown/rusty speckled phlegm. He took another chest x-ray for comparison, said it was fine, just like the first time. He told me the brown specks are "old blood", he gave me a 5 day steroid treatment, which I finished well over a week ago - I do feel better but I am still coughing up "old blood" and I am extremely worried.

Should I get a second opinion, CT scan, other tests??? Someone told me, that my lungs are clearing out all tar & impurities because I stopped smoking. Can this be the reason for the brown specks? Nervous Wreck myk
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With your family history and your own history, it is easy to understand your concerns.  While it is most likely that you are simply resolving the infectious process from October, it is easy to get a CT scan to help allay some of your fears and also to be sure that nothing else is going on.  I would speak to your Pulmonologist about your continued coughing the "brown specks" and your concerns and request the CT scan.  The chest x-ray is simply not sensitive enough to pick up some early other processes that could be present.
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
My pulomonologist is aware of my family history, my history and concerns. We have been corresponding via email of my condition at his request. He said that "I am on my way to recovery" said "NO" to a CT scan and asked that I wait another week to give him an update. I will do that but will most likely seek a 2nd opinion. Thank you for the quick response.
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Avatar_n_tn
Im so glad to have found your comments. i have been coughing a lot. i also was perscribed medrol a steroid for it. after taking the steroids however it upset my stomach pretty badly and my doctor said to stop it and take prilosec for a couple days. have you had any new developments? Good luck!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry for the delayed response. I hope you are feeling better. I'm still coughing up brown bits in my phlegm.
I confronted my pulmonary DR regarding my concerns again and he didn't order a CT, but asked for a sputum sample which came back as normal flora. He said I needn't worry about lung cancer. He said a protracted bronchitis can linger for months - and until then, I should drink plenty of fluids to clear it out...he also suggested Mucinex.

In the meantime, I have read on-line that the brown / black specks could be the tar/nicotine/cannabis resin sitting in our lungs all these years - I have yet to  verify this with a doctor.  

I think I will obtain a CT scan anyway since I am still coughing.

Hope all is well with you.
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