Last week I finally underwent bronchoscopy and biopsy procedures at the Philippine General Hospital – Department of Pulmonary Medicine and part of what was revealed was that I have two pulmonary masses inside what appears to be one of my bronchioles or air passageways in the lower left lobe of my lungs. What?
I mean, no I’m not surprised as this is just a confirmation of what they have found in my CT scan last month. The only thing that’s new is that now we were able to see in clear and colored picture what the pulmonary masses actually look like. So it’s real. And there are actually two of them. I just wanna scream right now.
Anyway, the two masses have grown bigger that they now appear to be entirely blocking that specific passageway which helps transport air in and out of my lungs and into my trachea thereby making it impossible for air to travel through that passage tube. My attending physician has not given advise yet (at least nothing final) but I am assuming this might be the primary cause of my frequent and heavy gasping for air especially when I’m talking.
The bronchoscopy and biopsy procedures were done in one single session. Thanks to my pulmonary team at PGH because they know my pain. I am also glad that it was completely painless due to the local anesthesia that my pulmo had administered prior to the procedure. Moreover, it’s a relief that the anesthesia was administered as a liquid spray inside my nostrils and in my throat and not something that involves needles. You know what I mean.
But the shocking revelation about the procedure is the fact that the pulmonary mass is now true and confirmed and there are two of them. Hell, I got two of them growing inside one of my air passageway. How crazy.
I have always thought myself as a strong person but I have never proven it until that day. It took me a lot to swallow and accept the fact (without crying) that I actually have it and the next months of my life will be spent dealing with whatever impact it might have on my health and body and the treatment procedures that will be administered to try and cure it. Just the thought of it all makes me close my eyes and scream in my mind. What did I do? Why did it have to be me? Fuck, I’m fucked up.
Like I said, the pulmo team that administered the bronchoscopy and biopsy procedures did not immediately provide an explanation to what was revealed on the bronchoscopy screen which clearly showed the appearance of the two pulmonary masses. That’s because they have to wait for the result of the laboratory tests. Waiting kills me. I have been waiting since July.
Liquid samples were taken from my lungs and placed in separate bottles. There were also glass-like panels which they call “slides” that bore my blood and labeled as samples as well.
The last and bloodiest part was the biopsy procedure where they had to get a sample tissue directly from one of the pulmonary masses. I am not sure if they took samples from both but what I know is that it caused internal bleeding for a minute or two but the physicians were experts in their field and were able to suction the blood from the inside and stop further bleeding.
For me, the experience was like no other. And despite the painless procedure, it is something I would never want done on me ever again. To be clear though, I do not want to create a scare about bronchoscopy and biopsy procedures as these are safe and significant requirements in curing lung diseases. I just want to be honest and share my own experience here.
Bronchoscopy uses a bronchoscope, which is a thin, lighted flexible tube that can be inserted into the mouth or nose (yes they inserted that tube in my nose and through my throat until it reached my lungs) and through the windpipe (trachea) into the bronchus (airway) of the lung. The bronchoscope has a very small camera at its end. Biopsy tools can be passed through the camera to reach the nodule or pulmonary mass. At least, they did not administer needle biopsy on me because that is more scary.
So I wouldn’t say it was a traumatic experience given that like I said, it is a required process when treating pulmonary diseases but I do want to say that it was kind of scary at first. My advise to people who are undergoing this type of procedure is to prepare yourself for it mentally and physically. Condition your mind and brain before it happen. During the procedure, remain calm and think only positive thoughts. Do not worry because your doctors won’t do anything that would risk your life so trust them and cooperate. Follow every instruction, take a deep breath when they say so and cough when they say so. When the tube has penetrated your trachea, you will feel like you’re a bit drowning. I think it’s because of the saliva build up or sometimes, blood and pleghm combined that they are trying to clean or remove from your passage ways through bronchial washing. Again, don’t worry as they will suction the liquid from inside to avoid filling your trachea. If you feel like panicking because you cannot breathe, don’t try to open your mouth and talk. Instead, try to breathe from your nose or mouth whichever is more convenient. Right now, I am still waiting for the results and will provide an update once I get them.
The truth is, I’m really scared and it is stressing me out so bad. Not to mention, I have been feeling very depressed these past few months. I am unable to work and unable to do stuff that I used to do such as working out or just about anything that ignites my passion. In other words, this disease is slowly paralyzing and immobilizing my life.
I try to google causes of pulmonary masses and all I get is lung cancer. Who wouldn’t be terrified by that? Lung cancer, according to VeryWell.com “is far too common, and is currently one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in men and women in the world. Lung cancer may occur even in people who have never smoke, and in fact, the majority (around 80 percent) of people who develop lung cancer in the United States do not smoke; they are either former smokers or never smoked.” Fuck it, I have never smoked.
This disease is really testing the toughness of my character. There are days when I just can’t comprehend why it is happening to me. I would question my lifestyle for the past ten years and find that I have always been health-conscious. I never drink or smoke in my life ever. I never engage in risky or physical activities that would jeopardize my body or whatnot. I have always been careful about what I eat or do. Yes, I have been choosy with the food I eat that sometimes I would skip meals but don’t we all sometimes? In addition, I didn’t think my eating habits would be that serious it could cause a lump or mass inside my lungs. But anything could happen. And it is happening to me.
Despite my faith, these are the times when it is easier to just think how unfair the world to me is. But what good is it to sulk in one corner and drown yourself in negativities? What good is it to regret everything or cry about it now? Right? Nothing. I’ll get nothing but sadness and that’s the last thing I want to be engulfed with. If anything, I want to stay calm and collected. I want to stay happy and find reasons to be grateful that I’m still alive and breathing. If anything, I want to be more inspired and amazed about life and believe that I have a purpose in this world and until I am able to fulfill that purpose, I won’t die. So let’s continue to hope that I do fulfill that purpose and live a little longer, okay? 😊