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Over 40 With A Spontaneous/Catamenial Pneumothorax

I was playing tennis and went to hit a forehand return when I felt something pull. I thought I had pulled a muscle in between my breasts, more on the right side. I didn't do anything until the next day. I didn't experience a lot of pain, or shortness of breath. I coughed and felt a little sore.

I decided to see my Dr. as it was Friday of a long weekend and I knew my husband would want me to play tennis with him and I just did not feel up to it. The Dr. bought my pulled muscle theory, but ordered an X-Ray because she recognized the lacking breath sounds on the right side. I ended up in the emergency room with a 50% collapse.

The thoracic Dr. immediately determined that a chest tube, and suction was necessary and proceeded to insert it with only lidocaine for pain. In my opinion, it should be standard practice to give patients something for the mental pain and anguish!!

I would not consent to the procedure the second time around until I was given demerol. The chest tube was pulled after 2 days, at which time I was told that I had a 30% chance of a reoccurance. It is important to note that the collapse took place the day before I got my period. I did ask thorasic surgeon who was inserting the tube if he thought there was any connection. He didn't think so. I did not hesitate to ask others if they thought there might be a connection. I did finally find someone who knew of the catanemial condition, but hadn't treated any patients himself.

The reason I asked was that for a year or more prior to the 1st collapse, I felt that every month when I had or was getting my period,when I would sneeze I experienced a sharp pain in my back. The pain sort of radiated from the area I felt the pull (of the collapes) right through to my back). On occassion I would relate this sensation to Drs.,only to be met with that "here's another crazy lady" look. I had to admit it sounded strange yet month after month I experienced the same pain everytime I sneezed.

Sure enough, a month to the day after the 1st collapse my right lung went again. I went to the Dr. who wasn't very concerned as it was only 10%. He hoped it would resolve itself. Two days later I woke early and felt it collapse as I was getting out of bed. This time it was a total collapse, causing a tension pneumo on the left.

I was admitted and chest tube inserted to a standing room only crowd in my room. Demanded painkiller other than topical. I had done my homework on the internet and I was in control. The tube came dislodged 2 or 3 days later and lung again collapsed, and tube was reinserted. I think at this time surgery was suggested.

They explained how they would do it with 3 incisions, find the bleb(s), grab and staple. Unfortunately they could not find the leak and from what I understand made a larger incision and collapsed the lung, filled the cavity with water and inflated the lung to see where the bubbles were coming from. I was told that what they found was buried inbetween the 3 lobes was more like a tear than a bleb and therefore need stitching and glueing. I'm pretty sure they also did the abrasion & talc.

It was a long recovery, but I have not had any other collapses and do not feel pain during my periods. I am very active and haven't changed my lifestyle because of this problem. I'm not sure if this would be considered a classic catanemial pneumothorax or just spontanious pneumothorax.