Been tad quiet on this site ………. but that doesn’t mean things have been slow.
Arrived back from the field and after consultation with my medical team we decided to have a follow up CT Scan prior to the continuation of chemotherapy.
Well lo and behold ……….
Scan revealed a mass of fluid trapped in the pleural space of the right lung [see volume of grey sea above]
I was promptly booked into Vincent Pallotti hospital and my favorite surgeon did a bit of investigation by conducting a thorascopy of the lungs and thereafter inserted a chest drain. Treating the build up of fluid in the pleural space is by virtue of a combination of tactics – once the fluid is drained off – It was a this time that he removed 2.5 litres – a remarkable amount by all accounts. The surgeon performs what is known as a chemical pleurodesis – which consist of him dusting in a mixture of silver nitrate tetracycline talc which promotes the lining sticking together.
Once in the ward – it appeared that somebody had left the tap on inside my thorax – as I was draining up to 500 mld every 12 hrs > a liter every 24hrs thereafter.
However by day 4 this had petered off somewhat and eventually I was discharged attached to a smaller portable unit to convalesce in the comfort of mine own home.
So why did I get the pleural effusion….. lets take a look at general causes
- congestive heart failure.
- cirrhosis, or poor liver function.
- pulmonary embolism, which is caused by a blood clot and is a blockage in the lung arteries.
- open heart surgery complications.
- severe kidney disease.
Having gone through the list and ticked off all the above we focused on CHF [congestive heart failure] and visited Cardiologist Jens Hitzeroth.
The concern was that the red devil chemotherapy had served to damage the heart muscle as this is a known and recorded side effect.
First off a comprehensive sonar was conducted – which showed a perfectly good / functional heart muscle – with all the valves operating as they should.
From the scan it appeared that we have a tumor i the chest cavity which was from time to time making contact with the right atrium causing a spike in heart rate. I was also required to wear a holter device which monitored my heart rate and electrical activity for 24 hrs. Thereafter the device was removed and the data sent to Amsterdam for decoding.
2 days later I received the news that the heart muscle is as strong as a “blou wildebeest”