Five years ago this morning I had my lung biospy – the most painful moment was saying goodbye to wife M, knowing she’d have to worry…

Five years ago this morning I went in for my lung biopsy.  What I remember most about that experience were the final moments before surgery, which were the most painful for me during the entire experience.  Why?  I was worried about my wife…  

For the previous two hours, I’d been in great hands.  My wife drove me to the hospital, the nurses gave me comfortable pajamas and a robe, and everyone who came to see me was very kind and treated me with dignity. When it was nearly time for the surgery, they had me slip into a rolling bed with warm sheets, which were quite cozy.  The surgeon paid me a final visit to ask how I was doing, and I joked that it was most important that *he* was doing great, since he was the one doing the operation 🙂  Then it was time to wheel me away to the operating room and I had to say goodbye to WIfe M.  Five years later, that is still a painful memory for me…

I smiled and kissed her and reassured her that I would be fine and to take care of herself, but I had to fight very hard to keep my composure and although I was smiling for a split second as she kissed me I was worried I might lose it since I was so worried about her.  I myself was going to be in a fine place, since I knew from previous surgeries that the next five hours would literally evaporate for me and that literally the next thing I knew I would be in recovery with kind and caring nurses attending to me.  In other words, I’d be free from pain and worry.  

But my wife was going to have to spend five excruciating hours wondering how the surgery was going, if I was okay.  I didn’t want her to go through that, I couldn’t imagine having to go through that. Later, that evening, while the nurses were caring for me, my wife would have to go home and cook dinner for the kids and keep the household running.  And all the time — even if the surgery went well, which it did — we still had to worry about the results of the surgery: did I have something fatal?  

Everything turned out about as well as can be hoped, but I’m glad that moment of saying goodbye to my wife is over.

Five years ago this morning I had my lung biospy – the most painful moment was saying goodbye to wife M, knowing she’d have to worry…

It has been 5 years to the day since I saw the thoracic surgeon – I feel incredibly lucky

5 years ago this week my pulmonologist referred me to a thoracic surgeon for a lung biopsy after a high resolution ct scan (HRCT) without contrast showed all kinds of “ground glass” speckles in my lungs.  The specks were everywhere, and I remember the doctor scrolling up and down through the image and my lungs looking like a starry sky (where the stars were something that shouldn’t be there 🙂 ) and thinking how strange it was to be looking at all those marks and realizing that was my lung.  

They got me into the surgeon two days later, and the surgeon (who was awesome) made a few comments that were memorable… One was that the complications risk were generally low but that I had very sick lungs so it was important to be aware there could be complications from the surgery, and the other was when we asked him if he had any educated guesses as to what I had he looked at the scan, shook his head and said “it could be anything.”  Five days later I had the surgery, and I still have the scars (they look like Walt’s scars in breaking bad, and I’m always surprised when I catch an image of them in the mirror at how noticable they are).  Those were scary times and I was looking at a very real possiblity of having something fatal.

Fast forward five years and I am remarkably — miraculously — healthy. I  still have lung disease and I now have autoimmune disease (which appeared later) and I will never be the same, but I am reasonably fit and look very healthy and – most importantly — am alive and not on an oxygen tank (50-50 chance of dying or having a crippling condition, which when its lungs can mean a lifetime of supplemental oxygen).    I was looking at the real possibility of lymphoma, untreatable lung disease or lung cancer and it turned out that my disease responded well to treatment (it is not curable, and was possibly treatable, and it turned it did respond to treatment).

In two words, I feel “incredibly lucky.”

It has been 5 years to the day since I saw the thoracic surgeon – I feel incredibly lucky

Lung Biopsy area is sore today 

The area where I had my lung biopsy five years ago hurts today.  It feels like a pulled muscle, except it is right in the area of the largest score and I was having some issues feeling like I was getting enough oxygen earlier this morning.  My guess is — once again — this will be gone within a day or two, but am documenting it here in case I need to know when it started.  I looked online to see if there are known complications after 5 years, but nothing stood out in my search.  Again, I am sure I am fine 🙂  The last time I had a pain like this on this area was a few days after the surgery, when my chest and back swelled.  My poor wife panicked and rushed me to ER, but it is not an uncommon complication following lung biopsy where the lungs leak.  The oxygen goes into the tissues and there is a strange bubble wrap feeling to the tissue until the body reabsorbs the oxygen a few days later; it was cool enough that I had a few nurses stop by to push on the area to feel it, since it really did feel like bubble wrap to anyone pushing on my back and chest 🙂

Lung Biopsy area is sore today