After days of coughing and chest pain, on June 10th Lyndsey went to the ER. She was diagnosed with a collapsed right lung (pneumothorax). Hours later, the doctors found that she also had a blood clot in her left lung (pulmonary embolism).
Scary! Too scary…
A CT scan showed that Lyndsey has small air blisters, called blebs, which are clustered at the top of her right lung. The blebs burst, which allowed air to leak into the space between the lung and chest wall. This air pushed on the outside of her lung and made it collapse. For treatment, a chest tube was inserted between her ribs into the air-filled space that was pressing on her collapsed lung. The chest tube was attached to a suction device that continuously removed the air from her chest cavity to help re-inflate her lung. The tube remained in place in her chest for 2 days. Lyndsey was hospitalized for 3 days, and finally discharged in the afternoon on June 13th, which was her 36th Birthday.
At that same time, the doctors put Lyndsey on blood thinner medication to treat the blood clot that they incidentally found in her left lung. In the hospital she was given injections in her belly (NOT FUN); she was luckily sent home on oral medication. As you can imagine, all of this was very sudden and scary. But Lyndsey is a fighter and so she carried on.
One month later, on July 13th, Lyndsey began having similar chest pains, and she thankfully went to the ER in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, a chest x-ray showed that her right lung has collapsed again. She was told that the recurrence rate for her lung to keep collapsing is high. The pulmonologist very bluntly stated that next time could be worse. He advised Lyndsey that in order to prevent future reoccurrences that could be threatening to her life, surgery will be the best option for current treatment.
The decision was a no-brainer. Today, July 17th, Lyndsey will have surgery on her right lung. They will make three small incisions, and use a rib separator and a tiny fiberoptic camera to perform the surgery. The surgeon will look for the leaking blebs and staple them shut. Then he will use a substance to irritate the tissues around the lung so that they’ll stick together and seal any leaks. The lung will stick to the chest wall to permanently fill that space, preventing air from getting in. If necessary, the surgeon may have to make a larger incision between the ribs to get better access to the blebs.
During surgery, a chest tube will again be inserted. It will remain in place over the next few days to continue to drain the air. While the chest tube is in, her lung will slowly re-inflate and will then adhere to the chest wall. She won't be released home until a CT scan shows that this has happened.
The surgeon explained that because there are nerves along the base of the ribs and the ribs will be separated, Lyndsey will experience postoperative nerve pain to the superficial chest wall, as well as pain from the lung, and from the surgery itself. This pain typically lasts from 6 weeks to 6 months… sometimes longer.
The surgeon also stated that this surgery works for 90-95% of people with pneumothorax. We need your positive energy, prayers, and thoughts that Lyndsey is part of this percentage. If the lung were to collapse a third time, they will repeat the surgery again.
Lyndsey has been in the hospital for 4 days, resting, being monitored, preparing for surgery. Her surgery is today. She can then expect to remain in the hospital recovering for up to 10 days. Once home, she can expect a post-operative recovery of approximately 6 weeks. The pulmonologist advised staying off work for those first 6 weeks due to pain and fatigue. Then to slowly transition back to work as tolerated – not to go back full force, full time. As I sat with Lyndsey while he told her this, I could see the worry and fear set in on her face. Lyndsey works as a hair colorist at a salon in Chicago. She is paid based on commission and earns tips for her amazing talent. To be off work for 6 weeks or longer means she will receive no income during that time. My goal with this Go-Fund-Me request is that this unexpected financial hardship will not take importance in her mind, will not negatively impact her recovery, and will not stress her physical self for even a moment.
This is where you can help. Any donation, large or small, will help ease the burden of worry during a time when Lyndsey needs her mind focused on healing. Your donation will help cover Lyndsey’s basic daily needs that her income would have otherwise. It will help cover the hospital bills from the first 3-day stay. It will help cover the hospital bills from this current stay, which could be up to 14 days long. It will help cover the cost of the surgery, the blood thinners, the pain medication. But mostly it will help cover the cost of worry… as we all know that stress can wreck havoc, not only on our minds, but our bodies. Your donation will ease the burden of stress as Lyndsey takes one day at a time to recover and move forward, and eventually return to work and her normal daily life.
We are so grateful for you, that you took the time to read Lyndsey’s story. Whether you can afford to make a donation or not, please stop and say a prayer. Send a text. Facebook message. Make a call. Send a card. The power of people never ceases to amaze. As we all come together to show Lyndsey that we love and support her, she will heal. She will recover. She will overcome.
Lyndsey is hospitalized at Franciscan St. James Health – Olympia Fields Campus, 20201 Crawford Ave. Olympia Fields, IL 60461. I am more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about Lyndsey, her surgery, and her recovery.
Thank you so much ~
- Elizabeth West
- Elizabeth Berlinsky
- Anna Lamden
- Adam Konieczny
- Gaby Nunez-Reyes
Organizer and beneficiary
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