Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breathing is Fun

Since the RFA, I have been much more out of breath than before. Ever since my first thoracotomy back in September 2007, I have been more prone to panting than normal people, and this tendency to pant has only become more noticeable as I have undergone more surgeries and procedures that reduced my lung capacity. Of course, the big cancerous tumor growing in my lung before the thoracotomy did not help my breathing either, so it has been a long time since I have been able to breathe normally. I sometimes wonder when was the last time I did breathe normally.

I had been warned that the RFA could result in a pneumothorax, but did not think I had one. However, as the days wore on and my ability to breathe did not seem to be improving (and also my sweet MIL encouraged me to call), I decided to call the doctor. I ended up having to go get a chest x-ray and thank goodness there is no pneumothorax. However, it does seem that I am having a harder time/taking a longer time than other patients to recover this time. (And thank goodness I could find a radiology place that allowed me to bring Captain Adorable, because that made it so very much easier for me to get the thing done.)

Again I wonder how many more times I can sacrifice a bit of lung. What is my lung capacity? Do I want to know--are there negative implications (oh, you've got plenty more capacity, let's cut out some more!) to knowing? I saw an old man walking along carrying an oxygen tank yesterday and I worry that is my own future. I really enjoy breathing. I really enjoy moving my body and experiencing the world as a physical being. I don't want to be limited by a lack of lung capacity. Being out of breath is no fun and can get frightening quickly. While snorkeling in Hawaii (ah, what a fun trip) a few years ago, I became very out of breath and tired and was pretty scared. I don't like that drowning feeling. How many times can I come back from one of these procedures? How many times can I recover? Of course I will always keep fighting and pushing and healing, but oh, right this minute I am feeling tired. Tired looking back on the many times I've had to get up when I wanted to lie down, and tired looking ahead to the many more times I will have to push myself to get my base line lung capacity back again. And tired knowing that it will never get better than it was before this RFA.

Oncologist called to follow up today (left him messages about what was going on yesterday). Next appointment is Feb 3. We're going to perhaps schedule another CT scan soon, before the 3 month mark indicated to follow up on the RFA, to check if there is anything else growing. I really hope there is nothing to see.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

You might look into getting a vocal coach. It sounds weird, but one of the main things that singers work on is breath support and breath control, including increasing (or maximizing) lung capacity. You could probably also just look online for singer breathing exercises.

In any case, I think you're doing great!