I'm here at USC University Hospital waiting for paperwork to be completed so I can get the heck out of here. My anticipated "quick" recovery was not so quick, and what was scheduled to be a four day stay turned into nine days. A week ago, I was lying here with a chest tube, catheter, oxygen, and all sorts of other tubes hooked to things electric. Now I am free of all "leashes" and just waiting for my release.
My procedure was performed by a cardio-thoracic surgeon, and involved cutting a "window" in the pericardium (covering around the heart) to drain a large amount of fluid that had collected. Pathology report's still not in, so we don't know if the fluid around the heart was highly malignant and caused by the cancer, or if maybe the fluid was the result of my five rounds of aggressive chemo. Guess I'll find out that info the next couple weeks.
I was also walking around with a significant pleural effusion (fluid around the lung), but the condition was asymptomatic, as I had no shortness of breath or coughing. Now all that fluid has been drained, as well. Besides cutting a window in the pericardium, the surgeon also applied powder to the area to act as an irritant, which will help the heart and lungs stick to their coverings and prevent more fluid from collecting.
The surgeon used a robot to do the procedure and made a movie of it. When I spoke to my oncologist this week, she said she's "seen me in the movies", as the surgeon had already shown the movie at the "Tumor Board" - oh, the organizations I did not know existed.
This turned out to be a pretty technical post, which is much easier to write about than the emotional roller coaster I created/endured over the last week. Probably should've asked my psycho-oncologist for some anxiety meds. Oh well, live and learn - I hope to do a lot of both.