Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pectus Carinatum

I thought this would be the easiest place to talk about what's been going on with my chest. I have had the condtion known as "pectus carinatum" since I was little. This is basically a deformity of my chest wall where my chest wall grows out (also called pigeon chest) instead of growing flat. It has never bothered me before. I never noticed any growth, never experienced any pain. I felt like the only time it was noticeable was when my clothes were off, and its not like I walk around often with my clothes off.

Over the last year and a half or so, I have noticed a significant amount of growth so I mentioned it to my doctor just over a year ago. She sent me in for x-rays and there was nothing medically wrong, other than the growth of the bone.

Over the last couple of months, I have again noticed growth, and with that has come alot of pain. It is waking me up in the middle of the night, I can't sleep comfortably, and it really hurts when I work out. You know I work out alot, I have been doing kickboxing almost every day since right before I got pregnant with Jackson. There is alot of twisting involved, and I can't even do it anymore because of the pain in my chest when I do it.

With these new developments, I felt like something must be going on so I decided to do some research. "Symptoms" and things I have always considered normal for me are directly tied to the deformity of my chest wall. When I was in school, one of the things we always did was counting respirations. Our teacher told us to just watch our pateint's shoulders and that would be the easiest way. My classmates noticed that they had to watch my stomach and not my shoulders, which is right. I absolutely breathe with my stomach and not my chest. This is very typical for someone with pigeon chest. Also, I have tried very hard to be a runner, and I have gotten alot better, but judt can't seem to run for a long distance even though I have been "training" for over year. My heart starts beating too fast, I can't catch my breath, etc. even though I consider myself to be in great shape. This is also a very significant symptom of someone with pigeon chest. I also learned that even if a chest wall deformity can be "dormant " for many years, it can get worse as the person ages and have serious medical comlpications as you get older. Doctors and insurance companies no longer consider corrective surgery a purely cosmetic procedure because of the long-term issues.

So, I decided to make an appointment with a reconstructive surgeon at Wake Forest. I met with her last week and we discussed my symptoms. SHe took pictures and upon laying me down and feeling my chest wall, she was shocked, and told me that mine was the worst chest wall deformity she had seen. She set me up for a CT scan, which I had yesterday. She told me she will call me once she finds a thoracic surgeon since surgery would involve breaking my sternum, etc. SHe told me that she wants to find someoone very experienced in doing the surgery on adults. So it might mean having it done at Duke or somewhere else.

I am waiting to hear the scan results, but I am feeling optimstic to know what is going on and that it might all be resolved soon.

I'll keep you posted, and answer any questions you might have, You know I'm an open book :)


Sawyers Family said...

WOW! I am shocked to hear all of that! I hope you get feeling better as soon as you can have the surgery! I bet it feels good to finally get some questions answered!
Too bad it might have to be done at Duke, right :)!

Marti Family said...

Oh my goodness!! You really do have to be your own advicate now a days don't you! Isn't it funny what a blessing your schooling has been for you (in more ways than one!) I hope all works out well. We will be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Have you heard from the hospital about the surgery? I am a 29 year old man from Norway that have the same chest. I feel the same way taking my cloths off.