Thanks, Pat. That is really helpful.
When I think back on how the situation played out, it really does start to look like the circus of the clowns. My PCP took and read the x-rays. Frustrating that while I mentioned my concern that it might be a pe due to sprycel, neither she nor my onc pursued that line of thought. Only after the second x-ray showed no change after a week of antibiotics, did my PCP decide that it was a pe. She set up the hospital appointment (wanted me to go directly there, but the hospital radiologist who would do the procedure was gone for the day). I asked if I should bring the x-rays with me, but she said no, they would do their own tests.
Then when I got to the hospital the next day, the radiologist looked at the notes he'd been given and said he really didn't know what they wanted him to do. So I explained the situation, explained what I had seen in the x-rays, told him that pe was a known side effect of sprycel. After the procedure, he didn't know if my doc wanted him to send the fluid in for testing since the paperwork didn't mention it, but said since it was my first pe, he felt it should be analyzed and I agreed.
It was pretty fascinating to see the ultra sound. This guy was good. . . he knew his stuff. The entire left lung area showed dark, which meant fluid. He showed me the actual lung, which was a flattened pancake looking thing that was sticking out to the side. . .he said it was collapsed and had been pushed into the pleural area (or something like that, can't remember the exact wording). Somewhere into the second bottle, they had to stop the procedure for 5 minutes or so because it got extremely painful. For the rest of the day I had very sharp pains in my left shoulder area, which was pretty weird. So my guess is that the lung may not have been totally collapsed, but was in pretty bad shape.
Yesterday was pretty rough, but today I'm feeling pretty close to normal, though the constant cough is annoying. I do think that my many years of distance running with pretty extreme training in my high school and college years had an affect on the difficulty of diagnosis. My body seems to compensate extremely well. All of my vital signs were perfectly normal.. 98% oxygen to the body.. .pretty amazing with only one lung. Also, my midwestern "suck it up and don't complain" attitude didn't help. And the fact that I think we sort of get used to not feeling fabulous but getting on with life anyway.
I am disappointed that my oncologist didn't pursue my complaints of my lungs not feeling right in the last two visits. but that said, I wasn't as insistant (I guess) as I should have been. I will have to consider how our next conversation will go.
One good thing to come out of this.. .I'd been pretty frustrated about my weight. My normal weight has been around 122, typically. Lately I'd been up to 129 or so, and just couldn't seem to get it down. The night of the thoracentesis, my weight dropped to 124. 5 pounds lower instantly. Husband says that 1.6 liters equals 3 pounds. . .but even so. . .no wonder I couldn't keep up with folks at boot camp!
Thanks again for your information. That will help me out tremendously on Monday. Doesn't seem like I should have to be the one doing research to know how my treatment should go, but that seems to be the best way to get things done right.
Have a great time in Cabo! Makes me want summer vacation to get here. Well, actually, I always want summer vacation to be here. I simply need to be retired.