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Sunday, January 23, 2011

VATS (rhymes with DRATS!)

VATS is an acronym for Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (see photo) -->

In my case, this surgery was done to get a large enough tissues sample to determine which DNA markers are affected by my cancer and, therefore, which treatments would work best.

To be honest, I was feeling a bit of dread before I went in for the procedure last Friday, but it turned out to be not that big of a deal.

It's mostly uncomfortable, although it does get downright painful when the pain meds wear off, but I'm able to take in pretty deep breaths and cough (as instructed) to stave off any possible pneumonia. I had a bike accident last July and I cracked a couple of ribs. It was MUCH more painful then to take in the deep breaths from that than from this. I think the most uncomfortable thing was the drain tube that is left in your lung for a day or so to drain out excess blood and fluid. Again, more uncomfortable that painful, but there were some very strange pinching/poking sensations in the front of my armpit that were slightly disconcerting. They went away when they pulled out the tube which, again, was not that big of a deal. It felt a lot like when they pull out a larger IV catheter.

So all in all, I have survived another in an ever-growing line of procedures without too much suffering. If anyone reads that who has to go through this procedure, know that there are much worse things out there. This is a pretty easy one.

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