Monday, March 26, 2012

lung cancer biopsies

“Man plans, God laughs.” Yiddish proverb
An outpatient procedure, CT guided needle biopsy, was scheduled for the Monday morning after Super Bowl.

Informed I would need a ride home since conscious sedation was involved actually became a proverbial silver lining.

Sooo Super Bowl weekend I broke the news and the truth to our daughter. I decide to stop trying to be my Dad and be me. Megan has been at my side every step of the way even as a coconspirator in silence.

Outpatient pre-surgery famous last words #1 – “Less than 10% chance of anything going wrong” … well, 'I am the 10%' ending up with a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) and hospitalized overnight with a chest tube inserted to inflate lung. Waiting to be discharged the next day I watched the last snow fall of the season from my room window.
Now a ‘we’, we learned the biopsy revealed the nodule was malignant and it was off to an Oncologist and Thoracic surgeon. They felt a look and biopsy of lymph nodes would improve treatment options including maximizing surgery options.

Another outpatient procedure, an Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) Biopsy of Lymph Nodes was scheduled for March 1.

Outpatient pre-surgery famous last words #2 - “Less than 1% chance of anything going wrong” - well, 'I am the 1%' as my heart beat plummeted and stopped beating for 15 to 20 seconds during the procedure.

Revived and admitted to the cardiac unit overnight and after a thorough cardio work up I was released the next day and informed that 1) I DID NOT have a heart attack and 2) my heart was in excellent condition. (‘Probably in better shape than the surgical team you freaked out’, quipped one cardiologist.) … Best medical guess – vasovagal response.

After a night’s sleep at home I returned for a nuclear cardiac stress test which I rocked and was cleared for lung surgery.

Unanswered – no heart beat for 20 seconds; do I qualify for zombie status? Or was I just thrown back like an undersized fish? Sorry, no lights or tunnel to report, I slept through it all.

(originally published in Caregivingly Yours blog March 26, 2012)
Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

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