Getting My Lung Ablated
Yes, it’s done, and I am actually now 3 weeks post-ablation, and am fully recovered (I have only a small bruise on my chest to show for it). I wanted to write a quick blog to document how it was, what happened, and how my recovery went, so this is that blog!
Hopefully this blog will be helpful to anyone also having a lung ablation (a long shot probably!) and is feeling a bit worried (I struggled to find personal accounts of ablation online, and would have found them reassuring), or to anyone being admitted into hospital, or just anyone who is vaguely interested how it all works.
Tlwr: In short- the procedure was okay, and I get proper results in a week or so when I go in for a scan. :)
The admission process was fairly simple, I arrived to hospital (UCLH - How cool is this view of London?!) with my parents and boyfriend, and was greeted by the relative nurse who asked how I was (hungry, and maybe a bit nervous) and went through the details of the operation (microwave lung ablation) again. They took us into a little private(ish) waiting area, where they gave me my uber-stylish outfit for the day, nappy-like underwear and tight-ass socks included.
After a longer wait than expected (about 2 hours) the anaesthetist took me and my boyfriend to put me under (is that the correct term?). I lay down as my boyfriend held my hand as I freaked out a little over the needles, so I just closed my eyes and let what happens happen - they insert the cannula and put an oxygen mask on me, stick the monitors on my chest and back, and slowly give the anaesthetic. I remember speaking a bit about my year in Rome, apparently I was quite chatty but of course after that I don’t remember anything.
I woke up not much later in the recovery room, with an extremely painful throat, but otherwise not in pain and actually feeling fairly lively, though I was told I needed to be on bed rest for 6 hours (something to which I did not abide…). I was very happy to find out that my lung had not collapsed/there was no need to put in any tubes as this was my biggest concern (1 in 7 cases will need this kind of intervention, but it is not dangerous).
I had a chest xray about an hour after waking up to check for air leakage in my lung, which meant I had to wait before I could eat and drink which was the hardest part for me as my throat felt so painful and dry and I was starving! Luckily the scan was completely fine and my parents got me some delicious food to eat and I drank a good couple litres of water for my throat.
It turns out my uvula (the dangly thing at the back of your throat) was pretty swollen, and that hurt for a few days after the procedure.
I also had a nurse check over the puncture sites, which were on my right side and upper chest - you can see the plaster/bandage in the photo, they were really quite small and I took them off a few days after.
After not-the-best night’s sleep in the hospital, being woken up at 1am and 6am for my blood pressure and pulse to be taken, the next morning I was taken for a chest CT which was looked over by a consultant and was fine (thank god - no chest tubes!).
I was due to be discharged that morning, but it took a lot longer than anticipated as the discharge nurses were missing some documents so my morning involved a lot of waiting around with my boyfriend and nan. Eventually we left, and I was very happy to be outside as I was feeling pretty normal which is great but makes ‘resting’ more difficult!
I did rest, though, and the next few days I had a bit of a cough, and pain in my right side, I’m assuming where the tumours were removed. Apparently this is normal and I dealt with it using paracetamol and ibuprofen, but the pain in my right shoulder was annoyingly pretty bad at times, an unexpected pain but did made ‘resting’ a lot easier and more guilt-free…
Other than that, I’ve been lucky with no complications and am now back at uni and back into normal life. I will be having another CT in a week or so to check the results of the procedure now all the inflammation in my lung is down, but that should be fine.
Yesterday I went for my first run since the day before the procedure, and it felt great (legs are aching now though!).
Until next time,