I met with the vascular surgeon on November 21. He asked when I would like to have the surgery. I told him the sooner the better. He said he could do the surgery the next morning, which was a Tuesday, and that way I could have my chemo treatment on Wednesday, 11/23 using the new port.
We arrived at the out-patient surgery center bright and early and I had the preliminary blood work, x-rays, etc. I was wheeled to the operating room, given anesthesia and promptly went to sleep. I woke up in the recovery room with several young doctors hovering over me. One of them asked if I knew what a pneumothorax was. I replied that yes, I did- it was a collapsed lung. Turns out that’s what I now had in addition to the new port. I was told the port placement went well that the new port was placed on my right side with a subclavian approach. Turns out that means my new port has a catheter that runs on top of my collar bone and up into my jugular vein. In the process of placing it, my lung got nicked resulting in a 20% pneumothorax. After calling Mr. G in to tell him what was going on, they said they were going to place a chest tube and admit me to the hospital. So much for out-patient surgery and having chemo the next day!
The young resident placed the chest tube while I was still in the recovery room and I was taken up to a room and told I’d probably be there for several days. I told them I had no intention of being there over the Thanksgiving holidays so I began to think positively, visualizing my lung fully inflating as I practiced some yoga breathing. Oddly enough, the lung didn’t hurt when I breathed and had it not been for the tube, which was quite uncomfortable, I’d not have known anything was wrong. I spent the night and had several visits from various medical personnel the next morning. My breathing and positive visualizing efforts were working! After a series of x-rays showed that my lung was fully inflated, they said they would remove the tube and if everything checked out I could go home later that day. The young resident who had placed the tube and an intern came in at around 2 o’clock to remove the tube. That was quite an interesting experience. First they took a big piece of gauze and covered it with something resembling Vaseline. They placed the dressing over the tube and snipped some sutures that held the tube in place. The young doctor told me they were going to apply some pressure and when they did I should take a deep breath and hold it. Which I did, and as I did one of them said, “pull” the other one pulled and out came the tube. They taped the dressing in place and said they’d need to check for a few hours to make sure everything was OK. That meant several more x-rays. My oncologist stopped by to check on me and told me to call the office on Monday to reschedule my missed chemo session, and I was discharged at 7PM on Wednesday. So I didn’t have to stay in the hospital over the Thanksgiving holidays after all and we were able to eat Thanksgiving dinner at Jonathan and Sharil’s house as planned! Yippee!
My chemo treatment was rescheduled for Wednesday, 11/30 and the new port worked well for both the blood draw and the treatment, which was quite a relief. The port and catheter were quite uncomfortable for quite a while afterwards, though, whenever I turned my head or moved my arm a certain way, and the dry skin across my chest did not help. A post op visit with the vascular surgeon confirmed everything seemed to be healing well and there haven’t been any problems with blood draws or treatments since the surgery.
I had a CT scan on December 12 that showed a decrease in the size of the ablation focus in the liver and there was no evidence of new metastatic disease, so that was a relief and meant I could enjoy the Christmas season without worrying about what the latest scan would show. And now we’re almost caught up to the present- one more blog entry should do the job.