Things are a-changing for us as August comes to a close, changes that will feel a little scary, changes I may not be prepared for. Because this is a long time coming, I’ll give you a little background.
In November of last year Ethan felt pretty ill. He was coughing, wheezing, hacking, and when he went to the TMC on base, they diagnosed him with a case of pneumonia, which never seemed to go away even after using his prescribed medicine. He continued to cough and have issues, even failed a few PT tests from asthma attacks. After a few different doctor appointments this spring and early summer, we found out his lungs have a clump of sitting tissue, called pulmonary sequestration, which looks cloudy in a chest X-ray. Its a mass of tissue that was meant for some other part of his body (think teratomas, except on a smaller scale), but somehow found its way into the lower lobe of his right lung. This mass has an unknown blood flow, which can cause sudden bleeding, infection, and other sorts of bad stuff…so, after his doctor finished explaining, it was clear we had to get it out of there.
Lung surgery itself sounds like a scary thing, for both Ethan and I who have only ever had our wisdom teeth taken out. But to make matters even scarier (for me anyway), because of the placement of this tissue mass, the entire bottom third of Ethan’s right lung has to be removed. When the procedure is over and Ethan is fully recovered, he will have much less lung to rely on to breathe. Although the operation itself is comparatively low risk, he will have a three month recovery period and work his way back into the heavy lifting his job requires. And his running will be jeopardized, a crucial aspect of being in the army.
His surgery will require cutting through his ribs and the insertion of chest tubes to drain fluid afterward. He will have a great chance for picking up pneumonia from his history as a smoker. Once he gets back into the groove, I am especially nervous he will be exposed to second-hand smoke from family members, friends and coworkers. I hope and pray that the seriousness of his lessened lung capacity will hopefully make them think twice about lighting up around him AND make Ethan think twice about being around them while they do smoke. I know it goes both ways. Or else I’ll have to be the B of the century in hopes of keeping what’s left of his lungs nice and pretty.
So as fall approaches, his birthday passes, and snow is well on its way, I will be taking care of my Ethan, being nurse Dana to the best of my ability. Like I mentioned on Monday, Ethan’s parents have made the trip up from Missouri to be with us while he is hospitalized. And my own mom is preparing me for the initial shock of seeing my hubby weakened and all drugged up. Yesterday was the pre-op appointment, so that means today is the day. If you pray, please add Ethan to your intentions. If you don’t, we will appreciate any positive thoughts you could send our way. Treat your lungs kindly folks. You never know what will happen to them.
I won’t be posting tomorrow, but will try to get an update on here by Tuesday.