Meeting the thoracic surgeon today and planning the next steps

It’s now the end of another long day. I had my specialist appointment today. He was very knowledgeable and had a great bedside manner. And he is apparently the best in his field anywhere in this area.

Thankfully, my husband and father came along with me or there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be able to report on a damned thing. For every ‘it has the look of a benign mass’ there was a ‘we can easily collapse the lung and remove a chunk of it or your chest wall to get everything out.’ (Deep breaths.) He does this kind of thing every day. But I don’t.

Following the appointment, my husband carefully scripted the following text that we have now collectively forwarded to more than fifty people:

“We saw the thoracic surgeon today. He looked at the CAT scan, etc. He seemed pretty confident that the mass is benign, again citing shape, location and density. But we won’t know for sure until he is in there. Regardless of what it is, he wants to go in, check it out and remove it. He might be able to do everything thoracoscopically but will be prepared to go in with traditional surgery to remove it if necessary. The next step is an MRI, which will happen either Friday or Monday. We should also have a surgery date by Monday. It will probably happen right after Thanksgiving.”

Since his text, we have scheduled my MRI for the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. Which will be good practice for the 5am arrival time I’ve already been quoted for the upcoming surgery. I am a big baby about sleep. I love it and don’t like ending it so early in the morning. So, the sweats I’m sleeping in tonight added to a ponytail and possible toothbrushing should complete my morning regimen before my mom (who is sleeping here tonight) and I head out tomorrow morning.

I had another little moment of anxiety today when the surgery options were being explained to me. A little dizziness as I’m prone to nervous fainting and some nausea. So I was prescribed a little oral ‘help’ from my doctor and am feeling well enough to write everything down tonight before I fall asleep. (Here’s hoping I sound lucid.) Writing about everything may seem odd at a time like this one but organizing my brain is helpful, even therapeutic, for me. So thanks for listening.

And please continue to keep my friend in your thoughts and prayers. She still really needs all the positivity she can get.

Talk to everyone soon. Oh, and if you’ve ever had an MRI, I’d love details and advice for tomorrow. Thanks, all.

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8 responses to “Meeting the thoracic surgeon today and planning the next steps

  1. Thinking about you Michele!!!! I know that all will turn out well.

  2. Stay really still which I know will be hard but if you wiggle around too much they have to start the test over. Typically most mri patients get a nice little valium to help calm the nerves and stay still. The mri tube will be small and the noi se if the machine can be loud but other than that the entire procedure is absolutely painless. Lots of luck and positive thoughts for you and your friend….

  3. I’ve had several MRIs, the most recent of which was for a rotator cuff tear a few months ago. I didn’t get any premedication but was sleep deprived from the shoulder pain & dozed off even with the chaotic cacophony of the machine. Some places will give you headphones with music and others go for ear plugs to cut the racket.

    My best tips:
    • Wear socks so your feet don’t get chilly and if they offer warm blankets, accept. Forty five minutes is a long time with cold toes!!
    • Put a few drops of a calming scent like lavender oil on the neck of the haute hospital frock.
    • Being in the tube reminds me of being on a large airliner at night with my over-seat light on and that’s a positive thought for me so I try to relax into that.
    • Consciously relax each bit of you starting at your head and moving toward your feet. If you do yoga, you know the process. Repeat as many times as necessary. Some folks do that the entire scan time.
    • If you are uncomfortable in any way – or about to sneeze – tell the tech. They are used to that kind of stuff!

    It’s wonderful that your family is able to be there with you for all of the doctor visits, especially these. You and your friend are my and Matt’s thoughts and prayers. Hugs!!

  4. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t see this post until this morning. I absolutely hate MRIs. I have to be sedated just to schedule one. Once they tried to fool me with that open MRI crap. When they got me there, they tried to put me in some kind of medieval torture device that they swore was necessary to enhance the images. I canceled that MRI. I obviously wasn’t sedated enough.

    If your doctor is telling you that it is most likely benign, odds are really in your favor. They have to allow for that one in a million possibility to avoid lawsuits just incase. You’re young, you don’t smoke, and I’m guessing you don’t work nights removing asbestos from old buildings. You and our friend will remain in my prayers. Good luck!

  5. It’s 7:40am…you may already be in the MRI machine…I would pray the rosary during my MRI’s, while in the machine. Since the noise is loud and the situation in general is uncomfortable, it makes you really have to concentrate on the prayers thus blocking out everything else. And i kept my eyes closed the whole time.
    Thinking about you and your family.

  6. Still praying and sending healing vibes to both you and your friend. Hope the MRI wasn’t too stressful for you. Had a few myself… stay positive and try not to think about it. You’ll only drive yourself batty. Concentrate on the good times with family during the upcoming holidays and stay busy. And remember, this too, shall pass.

  7. As always, you were completely lucid in this post, which is remarkable, considering what you were going through when you wrote it. Still pulling for you, hoping and praying all will turn out well.

    • It’s funny that you chose this particular post to label as “lucid.” I think my husband would beg to differ as he had to take the phone away from me as I typed groggily (with, his words, “your eyes crossing as you were falling asleep on the bed”) with Xanax coursing through my system.

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