So after releasing some emotion last night and getting a good night’s sleep, I woke this morning in good spirits, ready to start the week strong. Kari and I took a tram to the hospital, arrived early and waited in Radiology for my CT scan.
So far so good, but when the nurse wandered out to get me, wearing what can only be described as a luminous war-style yellow flack jacket, I did start to wonder… When she then explained that Kari could wait here and meet me when they wheeled me through to ‘recovery’ I clearly looked confused… “You knew you’re having a lung biopsy today too, right?” Erm, no?! But I know you guys need this to determine the chemo route, so fine – just do what you need to do…
She takes me into the CT room, where I’m met by a surgeon, who explains the procedure… “First, we’ll do a scan to check where to aim, then I’ll disinfect the area, numb the skin, then go into your lung and grab a sample, OK? Oh and I do need to warn you, there’s a chance your lung will collapse…”
WTAF?! OK so I know I said ‘do what you need to do’ but lung collapse?! That’s like proper serious, no?
“We’re hoping it won’t happen…“
No shit, Sherlock, me too!
Somewhat nervous, I lay down on the bed, close my eyes and just try to remember my newfound Ommmmm – breathing helps everything, right? Slow deep breaths and I’ll be just fine…
The scan is fine, the disinfection just smells, the anaesthetic aches like hell, and seeing a screen in front of you showing your chest cavity with a whopping great syringe sticking out of it is slightly unnerving. The dull pain of the string retracting a sample of the lesion is just uncomfortable, rather than painful. But when the surgeon suddenly says “Please stop breathing…” Seriously?!
Surely not? What about my Ommmmm? Apparently, my lesion is close to the surface of my lung, so should be easy to get to. But when I take a deep breath, my lungs and chest cavity expand, giving them further to go in to get to it. So shallow breaths please. Not what I want to hear – that’ll do nothing for my Chakras…
At this point, my back is really starting to ache… I tell the surgeon and he replies, “Ah yes, that’s because your lung has collapsed slightly…” Oh FFS can we just stop the ride now, I want to get off and just go back to Rhodes! “It’s only about 10% collapsed so not too bad, but that’s why your back aches” My back ached before I even entered the hospital this morning, I guest at least now I can say it’s for a greater good, right? Haha!
Finally, they think they have what they need (I damn well hope so!) The syringe comes out, I’m covered in blankets and Kari is allowed in to see me – poor love; god only knows what she expected to find, probably not a pale-faced moaning wreck begging for painkillers! I had no pain relief at all after my breast surgery and rarely take even paracetamol, but at this point I’d have taken anything.
The nurse tells me “We can’t give you anything here I’m afraid, but in recovery upstairs you can have some paracetamol” Paracetamol? Ah yes, I’m in the Netherlands – paracetamol fixes everything here… fine, I’ll take it.
So with a killing back, 10% collapsed lung, shallow breaths and no pain relief, they wheel me off to recovery. En route, my spirits raise a little as we pass some workmen repairing a light in the ceiling – loose hanging wires, no safety barriers, just two chaps up a ladder and a couple of hospital porters navigating my bed around the scene. I ask if I can have a #33 sign strapped to my bed as I feel like Max Verstappen – they laugh and I remember why I love the Netherlands so much – straightforward, no fuss, get on with it and use your common sense.
In recovery, I finally get my paracetamol and doze for an hour while my lung decides to re-inflate. I’m then x-rayed to check said re-inflation progress, before being given a chicken sandwich and a cup of tea and told I can go home. Winner.
So today’s CT scan wasn’t quite what I expected, that’s for sure. And if anyone ever has to have a lung biopsy, don’t worry; if it collapses a bit, they do re-inflate! And paracetamol kicks in pretty quick to sort the back pain. And however basic, that chicken sandwich did the trick in perking me up. Now back home, reunited with my Nespresso machine and a slice of Amsterdam’s finest banana bread, and having taken delivery of the new sneakers I ordered last week, Boxy is happy and all seems to be returning to normal 🙂
Check in again tomorrow for fun and games in the form of a PET scan – or at least, that’s what it says on the schedule…!