So, they stuck a big needle into my lung today…

They did indeed.  Well, probably not all THAT big (I never actually saw it) but they did stick it right into my lung.  Sort of.  OK, let me explain…


It’s called a “thoracentesis,” which purpose is to drain excess fluid from the pleura, or lining of my right lung.  Apparently, there’s a membrane around the lung and another membrane lining the chest wall, and between these two linings was a space filled with quite a lot of fluid which was impinging on my right lung and causing shortness of breath and various pulling and aching sensations there.  They numbed me up with lidocaine and inserted a long needle into that space (not actually into the lung itself) and drained an entire liter of fluid.  Yes, a whole liter.


I already feel some improvement, and as the next few days wear on I expect to feel even better, as that lung readjusts to being fully inflated.  The procedure itself was actually quite easy.  The worst part was getting the lidocaine shots, as the second shot goes quite deep.  It felt a lot like getting novacaine at the dentist.  There was a weird sensation when he was finding his way between my ribs – I could feel the needle bumping around – but once it was in I felt nothing and the whole process probably lasted 20 minutes at most.


Now they’ll test the fluid for cancer cells to see if the nodules in that spot are in fact new growths.  I figure they probably are.  My oncologist tells me that, because my case is such an outlier in the world of lung cancers (young, healthy, never smoked,) she wants to see if I might have a mixture of both small- and non-small cell cancers going on.  If that’s the case, she says it would open up more treatment options for consideration, which I am all for.  She also continues to be on the lookout for any new treatments or studies I might join, which I am all for.  And there’s probably a biopsy in my future of one of the nodules, which would be similar to this procedure but through the front of the chest, which I am reluctantly for.  The fun never stops!


There’s a possibility that, if my insurance covers it, I can take the chemo scheduled for January in a pill form, at home, which would be w-a-y better than going to the hospital for 5 days to get an infusion.  They’d still have to watch me for signs of infection and hydration, but being home would be so much better than the infusion rooms!  Fingers crossed!


That’s about it for now.  More to come as events unfold.


4 thoughts on “So, they stuck a big needle into my lung today…

  1. Gordon, that is such good news. Now, I hope that good things will continue and you can literally and figuratively breathe a little easier.

  2. Yay for easier breathing! I’ll keep my fingers crossed too that the at-home pill option works out for you. Thanks for sharing your good news!

  3. Thanks for the updates, Gordon – so glad that the treatments have been helping you to feel better! Hope to see you at Happyoke on Friday (and consider this your double drummer warning).

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