Matt Schaller

First post: Jun 19, 2018 Latest post: Aug 10, 2019
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 On May 25, 2018, Matt went into to see his primary care physician because of a three-week history of shortness of breath and coughing.  They diagnosed him with pneumonia and a pleural effusion.  Because of the pleural effusion, they performed a chest CT to be sure nothing else was going on.  They drained 2 liters from his left lung. 

On May 29, we received a call from Dr. Bruce asking us to come in and review the results of the chest CT.  It turned out the pneumonia was actually a mass.  We met with an oncologist on May 31 who thought it was germ cell tumor, thymoma, lymphoma, or possibly even benign.  The first biopsy on June 1 did not show any cancer, but the tissue they found (fibrosing mediastinitis) is found near germ cell tumors and lymphomas. 

We met with a thoracic surgeon on June 11.  She scheduled an incisional biopsy for June 12.  She also decided to place a PleurX drain so we could drain his lung at home and the shortness of breath would be better.  During the procedure on June 12, Matt became very nauseous in recovery.  He tore the PleurX  and had internal bleeding.  They had to put him back under general anesthesia to investigate some oozing.  He ended up needing a blood transfusion, and they placed two chest tubes.  This was supposed to be an outpatient procedure, but he needed to spend a couple nights in the hospital.   The surgeon called Katy to review the surgery.  Stephen and Katy met with her and were given the likely diagnosis of fibrosing mediastinitis.  This was a blow.  The surgeon said she wished it was lymphoma as there is not a cure for fibrosing mediastinitis.  The next day, the results were reviewed with Matt.  She reviewed a very aggressive surgery that she was considering. 

On June 15, we received a phone call letting us know that the biopsy actually showed Hodgkin's lymphoma and NOT fibrosing mediastinitis.  This was a very welcome diagnosis. 

On June 18, we met with the hematologist who told us it was Hodgkin's lymphoma with some vertebral involvement and said it was likely stage 4.