Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Can tracheal stenosis be cured?

This is something that I have been considering for some time now.  Pondering, you might say.  The big question is, can tracheal stenosis be cured?  Well, I must begin by stating that there are several 'types' of TS.  There is the 'acute' variety, which occurs suddenly and can be cured very easily.  And then there is the 'chronic' variety, which is not so simple to resolve.

As you might have guessed, I have what they call chronic tracheal stenosis.  My TS developed after intubation, and was total (it blocked my entire airway), and it blocked a long segment of my airway.  I believe that something like ten centimetres of my trachea are damaged by stenosis.  That makes it difficult to deal with.  They could not just cut out the damaged section and remove it, and join the ends together, as this would have left me with a very short trachea indeed!  So instead, I underwent an interesting surgery to open up the damaged section, and graft in a donor section of trachea.  I was in hospital for five weeks after this major, major operation.  And you know what?  It failed.  I developed tracheomalacia ( a floppy airway).  This was the last thing I needed!! 

So over the years, I've had 100 or so procedures to laser out granulation tissue in my airway and place a stent in to support what's there.  And when that failed, I've had tracheostomies.  Six tracheostomies, to be exact.  I've had pink ones, I've had green ones, I've had blue ones, I've had yellow ones and they're all pretty icky and they all look just the same, lol....  I have never had a silver one.  Maybe next time, eh?

So ultimately, my surgeon told me that my TS cannot be cured.  And I calmly nodded my head and said 'c'est la vie'.  I walked out of his clinic, I walked upstairs and out of the hospital.  I walked along the length of Grays Inn Road, till I reached the station at Kings Cross.  I got on the train.  I got on another train.  I got as far as Stratford.  And as the crowded train left the station, I broke down completely.  I am only human.

The moral of the story today is this;  all of these radical surgeries are great.  They save mnany, many lives.  But they do sometimes fail.  You must understand that the consequences of failure are severe.  So when you have to make decisions about surgery, make them carefully and do not let anyone at all rush you into making a decision.  I say this because I care, you must look out for yourself.

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