David is a runner and appeared healthy and fit. Before leaving on a 16 day trip to MI, AZ, back to MI and then WI, he was having tightness in his chest. He has experienced that same tightness and difficulty filling his lungs completely on occasion since an incident in March of 2015.
At that time, the pain was intense, a 10+ and I met him at emergency where he was tested for heart attack, pleurisy, or pericarditis. All were ruled out. With steroids he regained normalcy except for the occasional chest tightness that never reached a 5 in pain. He was told to avoid push ups thinking it was a torn cartilage in his chest.
During these past 2 years 3 months, when the tightness came, it quickly went away in a day or two.
This time, with the trip about to begin, the discomfort lasted 10 days and he even took an occasional tylenol. We agreed he would see a primary physician before the trip and that's when the discoveries began, on Monday,May 8.
A new primary doctor had difficulty with the assessment and ordered blood work. She called that evening and asked Dave to postpone all travel plans. He had 2 inflammatory tests which were high. On Tuesday, May 9 the doctor ordered another test STAT and Dave scored high on the d-dimer which tests for blood clots. The doctor told him to proceed to the closest ER to get a chest CT scan, she was looking for a pulmonary blood clot. I met him there about noon.
About 4 the ER doctor came to tell us "mixed news", no pulmonary embolism but he has a mass in his chest! I could not believe him until I saw it myself on the CT CD he gave me.
From that time, we went from the diagnosis of a mediastinal mass or cyst to on Tuesday, May 30, an epicardial tumor. Then, on Thursday June 8, the news that the tumor was leiomyosarcoma cancer.
To have a heart tumor is rare, to have this sarcoma is more rare. Duke doctors advised us on Wednesday, June 14 that Dave needs 25 treatments of strong radiation followed later by surgery. This will be a long and dangerous journey.