Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thoracotomy........... and House Renovations

I have always wanted to bash down the internal walls of my home and create a larger, open-plan living space; but somehow  never got around to getting it done.    Finally this project came to fruition in mid August.  We packed our belongings into boxes and moved them, plus all the furniture into my workstudio and the spareroom.  We decided not to move out the house as we didnt want to put the cats into the cattery for such a long period of time.  Luckily for us our friendly neighbours were visiting relatives in the UK and offered us their home.   This turned out to be the perfect arrangement.   My husband could pop over the wall and check on the builders whilst I sat reading peacefully on the swing chair.  Lily and Pippa think that John and Jen's garden is paradise and feel very at home there.    As soon as our workmen left for the day we'd pop over the wall again and sleep at home.

The breaking down commences.........

my spareroom becomes our makeshift kitchen for 4 months
Lily at home on the neighbour's roof

Pippa wants to sit on the swing chair too
September was not for the faint hearted.  I had a left thoracotomy to remove a huge pericardial cyst from my chest cavity.   The recovery from this was long and painful and took the best part of the next 2 months.
I am now adding some pics I didnt want to show, but a number of people have asked how this cyst looked so here are the awful pics. 

                      the grey mass in this scan shows the cyst lying next to my heart

                and here it is...........             good riddance to this disgusting thing.  Ick.

the banging and clanging doesn't bother Pipsqueak
.........and the building up
 Then back to the fun part of redecorating the newly created room at home.  Of course there were frustrations, hitches and snags aplenty  ( there still are!) but we were able to move back in three days before Christmas.

Cats owning their new toys
  I love my new space.


  1. How exciting. What a great space. I do hope you are feeling better.
    hugs Kay

  2. thanks Kay. I am indeed. Ready to get back to creating again.x

  3. I stumbled across your blog via Google.
    I just had a pericardial cyst removed 2 weeks ago the size of an orange.
    I have 3 little kids & im concerned about recovery.. which is looking long.
    How did you have yours taken out & can you tell me about recovery?
    Since its rare I don't know anyone to ask questions.

  4. hello Heather. Sorry i have taken a while to answer this query, but i have only just seen your comment. For some reason I wasnt notified when the comment was posted. To answer your questions......My cyst was located on the left and was inside the pleural cavity. It was 13cms x11cms which was huge indeed and seem to cause great excitement to all the medical people involved. Apparently they are rare, and the ones that are seen are small. Luckily mine was not attached to my heart but lying alongside it and attached to my diaphragm and pushing the left ventricle out of place, as well as squashing the left lobe of my lung.

    The cardio-thoracis surgeon performed a left thoracotomy on me......this entailed making an large incision on my side, spreading the ribs, collapsing the lung in order to get to the heart and the cyst. The cyst was then removed whole but unfortunately a rib was broken in this process and another cracked.

    Recovery was a week in hospital, then home on meds. I would say I was out of action for at least 5 or 6 weeks - and then gentle exercising. Luckily my husband was on hand to do all housework and cooking for me. All I can tell you is that you should rest as much as possible and let your body heal.

    The large incision wound healed well but the lower cut made for the drain gave me a lot of pain. Remember that they have cut through all the nerves there so that takes quite a long time extra to get back to normal

    3 months after the operation i was back exercising and even started a running program.......working up to doing 5kms 3x a week. I feel great, and am so thrilled not to have that ticking time bomb inside me.

    I can only imagine how hard it must be for you with 3 small children to take care of. I sincerely hope you have someone near or dear to you that can assist you in your day to day chores. I think if you push it, or dont rest properly you could end up with severy chronic pain. Dont google 'Thoracotomy recovery" cos there are so many horror stories out there. My op went brilliantly and I am super healthy right now. Hope this info helps you and I wish you a swift and steady recovery.


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