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Plueral effusion

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

My cancer was diagnosed after I suffered double plueral effusion. I underwent 3 chest drains within 2/3 weeks of each other before I started on my chemo regime. 4 weeks into my treatment I was back in hospital having my 4th chest drain.

The irony of this was like a kick in the teeth as I was a road runner and used to run half marathons. My biggest concern throughout all of these procedures was not "the cancer" but was "Will I still be able to run?" I was assured by my surgeon that "yes, having a chest drain will not impair your lung function"

However now I have been given a break from chemo and am desperately trying to get back into my running. I had a 5th chest drain last Christmas and after my last CT scan was told I had scarring from all of the procedures.

So, I am trying to build up my running. I know my fitness is getting back in shape as I am able to swim. I went running last night and found myself breathing really hard and at times was struggling. I stopped at one point to be able to get my breath back. It feels like I have a steel band around the bottom of my lungs where the diaphram is and now, today, I just feel bruised.

Sorry to go on, but what I am trying to ask is, has anyone else had:

1. Problems with plueral effusion?
2. Had reoccuring soreness, pain or tightning of the chest after a chest drain?

I ask my oncologist but he is not a lung specialist and all he can say to me "Are you struggling to breathe when you are going about your normal day to day life" When I reply that I am fine and I can manage all of my normal activities he is not concerned.

Tina xxxx

LaundryQueen's picture
LaundryQueen
Posts: 682
Joined: Mar 2011

Tina: I had pleural effusions on both sides. I couldn't get anyone to drain my lungs so I don't know if it was malignant fluid or not.

My guess is that you are feeling the restrictions of the scar tissue. I have experience with scar tissue after having breast implants removed. So I know that scar tissue CAN stretch. And it hurts a lot when it is stretching. The only way you are going to stretch the scar tissue is to expand your lungs as you have already done while running.

You may have lost some lung capacity but you wouldn't know that without having pulmonary function testing done. I presume that you will improve over time as you continue to train. You may want to try a homeopathic remedy called "silicea" in any potency. It would be better to have a consultation with a homeopathic doctor if you can find one. I have seen amazing results from homeopathy & it will certainly do no harm.

I have not had any trouble breathing since the pleural effusions resolved over time. But I don't push myself to test the limitations of my lungs as you do.

LQ

AussieMaddie's picture
AussieMaddie
Posts: 345
Joined: May 2011

Hi Tina,

I had 1.2litres of fluid drained from one of my lungs, and like you, it abated withe the chemo, along with the ascites in the abdomen.

I've not had any pain as a result.

If your oncologist doesn't know what's causing it, I'd do two things:

1. Push home the point that you *are* still having pain there and there must be a reason, and if he can't help, ask him to refer you to a specialist just in that area for follow-up. Doesn't mean that you have to stop seeing him.

3. If he won't refer you, get any of your other doctors to do a referral. I don't know how much like our system here in Australia you have, but I would be in my right to ask my general practitioner to refer me to a specialist in lung cancer or respiratory problems. One such person would surely know who might be able to help you.

Then again, I'm particularly pro-active (in general) when it comes to finding the right doctors for me. Not everyone has the confidence to do that or fear upsetting the primary physician. There again, your medical system might also limit your options.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

AussieMaddie

xxxx

wanttogetwellsoon
Posts: 147
Joined: Apr 2011

Tina...
It's typical that your oncologist seems to think it's great that you are getting about your normal life, but isn't too concerned about your running. I can hear the conversation and the gestures from here. From what I've read, I know your physical fitness is very important to you unlike for me when for the whole of my life, the spirit has been willing but the flesh has been weak! (Some people call it laziness!) I was wondering if you are anaemic as a result of your treatment which can leave you breathless. To me, it's amazing what you achieve. I find it difficult to walk and do physical activities because of the adhesions in my abdomen but I'd love to go running at this point in my life and I can see why it would be great for you. :)

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