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Surgery tomorrow & new info


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I'm embarrassed to have yet another post, but I'm doing it anyway.

We got the CT results today. A couple of things were a little better, but the thing that is causing the breathing is worse. They called it "severe alveolitis" and that said it's worse than a week ago. Again, I looked this up, and this is about the best description I can find: http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/23069035/

An open lung biopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. We met with the surgeon late afternoon and he said he will make a 1" incision in the front and a 1" incision in the back of his right lung, and possibly a 3rd incision on the side. They will then take a piece of his lung for testing. He held up his fingers in about a 1" x 3" rectangle. He said it will be clamped closed with very tiny staples. They are doing this in his right lung because his left lung is already beaten up pretty good from radiation.

He told Don that he knows he's struggling with breathing right now and after the surgery it will be worse for several days. He said they have to do it to find out what's causing this damage and causing it to continue to get worse. He said they will be looking for three things: Infection, Drug reaction, and Cancer. He said it will take 2-3 days to get results. Apparently the bronchoscope doesn't get into these areas of the lungs.

Since it takes 2-3 days, they won't be able to treat whatever is causing it until they get the results, except with steroids.

They said he will come out on a breathing tube, and because of his weakened condition and diseased lungs, he may have to keep the breathing tube for several hours to several days, and be in ICU. He will also have a chest tube for several days. He’s been in there one week today, and will be in at least another week.

Don immediately said, "Let's do it. Get in there and fix it - I've got things to do." :roll: I've been hearing that line for two years, but it's the one line that keeps his focus on staying well.

I called the oncologist after I left his room to confirm and that he agreed with doing this and to ask if he thought Don could do this. He said that there really isn't much choice and that the alveoli will apparently continue to worsen without finding a way to treat it.

He told me if it's infection, we can get some antibiotics in him and see how he does over the next month or so. If it's a drug reaction, then about all we can do is steroids and time, because there's no more chemo for him while he's in this condition. And he said, if it's cancer, we're in a lot of trouble. He was very kind and I appreciated his direct response.

If he has to go to ICU, I'm glad he will be in this hospital's ICU. They are the same ones that took care of my dad when he first started having trouble, and they are the ones that took him in at the end. They are first class!

As for me, I started using Becky's breathing techniques tonight, and I sure wish I would have bought the expensive bubble bath for tonight's bath. I admit that I'm scared - very scared, but so far I've got my wits about me and just doing what needs to be done. I've been giving him his baths and getting this and getting that, and he says I'm a good nurse. :):)

Well, I’m off to search for the surgery tips you wonderful people have provided. I never printed them because I never thought we would need them. Please pray that he will get through this. He’s so strong – mentally and physically. I must believe that he is strong enough to get through this.

Love to all,


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I am sorry they have to do this to Don Peggy. At least it is not a full open thoracotomy. And, they should have a definitive answer in a few days. If I were in Don's place, I would want to do it too. God bless you and yours Peggy.

Don M

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Thanks for all the updates...they are always welcome.

I'm sooo sorry that Don has to have this surgery. Praying they are able to get answers very quickly and get him on the road to recovery. I will be praying for all three of you. We are here for you. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING that I can do to help. Take care.



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Oh Peggy, I really believe that the good news is that the drs. still have procedures and plans. They have not given up hope. That means they expect to be able to fight whatever this is.

Peggy, find your bubble bath. It might be a big bowl of chocolate ice cream or a glass of good wine, but take care of Peggy. Don is in good hands right now.

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Hi Peggy,

He is such a trooper and trying so hard. Bless his soul!! I love his attitude.

You hang in there, in a couple of days they will find some answers. You have so much to go through right now and please know I am thinking of you and have been sending out mediatation prayers to Don and for you for continued strength. You can and will get through this Peggy. One day at a time.

Remember we are here.. please keep us posted and don't ever think that you are updating too much. You are doing exactly what we want, to be updated so we can give you support that you desparately need.

Please take care of yourself. The next few days is going to be very stressful for you and Mike. Again, one day at a time.

Continued mediatation prayers being sent for some positive results and for Don's breathing to improve.


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Peggy, it hurts me to hear what's ahead for Don. I am praying for his strength and comfort, and peace for you. It's so good to hear you have faith in your medical team, too, SO critical. You'll be on my mind all day tomorrow, and thereafter.



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Dear Peggy and Don,

Just adding some extra prayers for you both. I'm sorry you both are having to deal with so much right now. I agree with Ginny in that thank GOD the doctor's are still willing to do what it takes to figure this out.

Best wishes to you and Don.

(((((((PEGGY & DON))))))))

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gee whiz.

sorry all this is coming down the pike at you guys. But, Peggy, you know that you have the prayers and support of all of us here.

Prayers that the surgery will result in something that can be fixed. Gotta love that Don! What a positive believer!!!

Expensive bubbles have paid for themselves many times over for me too. Saves on the shrink bill, yeah?

love, Cindi o'h

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I was on briefly last night but didn't see your post. I'm so thankful that the doctors have a plan to figure out what's wrong because plans help you get to the solution. I'm so glad that Don is agreeable to all of the onslaughts to his body, even though he would rather be mowing grass.

Will wait for his results with thoughts of only good things for you and Don.

Please update when you can.


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Peggy, I have to agree with Ginny, as I almost always do...LOL!!! It sounds as if Don has a very proactive doctor that isn't anywhere ready to give up on you guys! That's a really good thing. Just think of all the posts we have read on this board about doctors that just throw their hands up in the air and say there is nothing more to do. I know the pain and heartache this is putting you through. I am glad that you are taking care of yourself. Breathing techniques and bubble baths are both good. A glass of wine can do wonders and help you relax, unwind and take the edge off. Please remember that I am keeping both you and Don in my thoughts and prayers. If I was closer, I would be right there to help you through this!!! I'm sure you will feel much better when you find out exactly what you are dealing with and figure out your plan of attack!!!! Hang in there, girlfriend!!!

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Thinking of you and Don today -- hoping all is going well and that this will finally clear up what's been happening. Take care of yourself -- this is such stressful times for you. And ICU's, scary though they are, are also comforting because they take such good care of you there.

Let us know how things are going...


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