Here is the quick version of my last two weeks, for my "just the facts, ma'am"-friends:
-5/3, Tuesday. My fiducial marker implantation was only 1/2 successful. One of the two markers fell out. It was a very difficult place to implant markers, in the first place, right next to my aorta, or "Tiger country", as the surgeon told me.
-When they pierced my lung, I developed a pneumothorax, or pocket of air in the pleural space outside the lung. When you get air out there, it makes your lung collapse. It seemed tiny and appeared to be healing on its own, so they sent me home. (For a bit more info on this, see the "Long Version" of this post.)
-5/4 Wednesday, I had to rush to the ER due to sharp pain when I inhaled. I spent a day in the ER. Against the odds, the pneumothorax had grown! But it was stable in size. I went home.
-5/5 Thursday--They admitted me to the hospital and put a tube in my lung. The purpose is to drain air from the sac around the lung, and thus, to reinflate the lung. They go in through your ribcage and stick a small pliable tube into the sac around your lung. It's about 8 inches of tube coiled up inside. Hellish pain, right up there with childbirth+back labor. Except a chest tube never lessens in intensity until they rip it out. Heavy narcotics and awful nausea. Trying to find the right balance between the two.
- 5/6 Friday, I had another procedure where they implanted 3 more fiducial markers. Only one stayed in place. So of a total of 5 markers, only 2 had stayed in place.
-5/7 Saturday morning, I had my chest tube removed. They rip it out, in one quick jerk, like the pulling of a lawn mower starter, while you are awake. Then I went home.
-5/8 Sunday, Mother's Day. Couch time and narcotics. Sounds dreamy, but...no.
-5/11 Wednesday morning, I learned that, YAY, my two fiducial markers were sufficient enough for us to do CyberKnife. But BOO, against great odds, the pneumothorax was back! This required me to be re-hospitalized, and hellishly, to get ANOTHER CHEST TUBE placed, and THREE MORE DAYS OF HOSPITALIZATION.
-5/14, Saturday (yesterday), they discharged me. The lung has been re-inflated for a few days, but they have not removed the chest tube yet just for good measure. It's still in place on the off-chance that if my pneumothorax comes back again. they won't have to repeat the process.
-5/15, tomorrow, I will have a final x-ray. If the pneumothorax is not back, they will rip out my chest tube and hopefully this will mean the end of this debacle. If it's back, they will admit me again. And I promise you I WILL lose my mind.
I've had this current chest tube in place for 4.5 days now. My left side is completely frozen up, with my left shoulder grotesquely slanted downward at a 45-degree angle from the muscles being completely contracted. I can't really move at all.
Sounds dramatic, I know. But I'm keeping my spirits as high as I can. Neil is being a star, so are my friends. This will be over soon.