Monday, July 27, 2009

A few days after talc pleurodesis

The talc pleurodesis went very well. I've forgotten who I updated on what. So...I will do a recap. Sorry if this includes info you have already seen. The procedure is intended to remove fluid build up - in this case, in my lower right lung. This is the same side as my lung cancer.

The scans that found this new issue also confirmed that the blood clot in my left lung has fully dissolved. thing cleared up with another new problem. At least this time I didn't need to get radiation or chemotherapy - just surgery.

This is my first major surgery. I have never had general anesthesia. I have never needed this level of pain meds. And, I have never had to deal with the type of nervousness and anxiety that go with major surgery. Certainly, I have had very significant medical procedures - 12+ hours of IV chemo every 3 weeks for months or ten rounds of full brain radiation therapy. Those were, obviously, pretty serious. But, there's something different about being awake vs being knocked out completely for surgery.

Don't get me wrong. I would not want to be awake for the surgery. It's just that it's the first time for me. So...they start prepping me and I heard the comment to start the anesthesia. That was it. The next thing I knew, they were waking me in recovery. After a few minutes, I was pretty much fully aware and it was a matter of waiting until they had a bed to put me in - took a couple hours.

The bed they had for me was in the IU Hospital. Typical hospital room - I have been in plenty for Jill's amyloidosis treatment, stem cell transplant and ongoing treatment.

Turns out that I was now in a wait and see process. Wait and see how much drainage comes from the chest tubes. Wait and see that everything heals properly. Wait and see if I can breathe better. Wait and see if the fluids have cancer cells. Wait and see - wait and see. In some ways this is not different from my process for the lung cancer or the brain cancer lesions or all the various side effects from cancer treatments.

I've now had Saturday, Sunday and Monday mostly sitting around in my hospital room. Watching TV. Blogging. Answering emails - both work and personal. I don't do much reading right now. I have had problems with maintaining concentration for a few months since my radiation treatments. But, I have adequately kept myself busy and occupied.

Happily, things are progressing well. The chest drainage is coming; but, it is reducing. So far, with the 1/2 gallon removed during surgery, I think there has been something like another gallon or more that has drained during the past few days.

Most importantly, I am finally starting to feel better. With the fluid almost all drained, I can breathe again. I do still have an occasionally cough that hurts quite severely. But it is what they call productive - meaning it is bringing up "gunk" and is helping to clear my chest.

Also, I have some appetite back. They gave me a couple meds to increase my appetite over the past couple days. Perhaps they have finally helped. Don't get me wrong. I have some appetite - but, it isn't a bigtime appetite. But I can finally have food in front of me without it making me feel bad.

Well...that pretty much catches everyone up to where I am right now. In-patient at IU Hospital. Recovering from a talc pleurodesis. Finally, able to eat again. Expect to be released later this week.

1 comment:

Abandoning Eden said...

glad to hear you are feeling better and that the surgery worked! :)