Pnuemothorax - Pleurectomy

15 messages
23/03/2012 at 21:51

Hi All,

 Just wondering if there is anyone else on the forums who has had a similar complication,

I  finished my first marathon last May and since then i started to get a stitch in my shoulder blade/back, almost crippling me, couldnt run and was short of breath. Long story short; turned out i had a Pnemuthorax(Collapsed Lung). It repaired itself, but kept happening so i was refered for surgery. 

 I am now 6 weeks post surgery and i started running last week. Started off with 5K, up to 10k already but just slow 10Ks. Going to focus more on 5K and getting my pace up before moving further than 10k. Then i will decide what my next marathon will be. 

 Curious if anyone else has had a similar injury and woud like to share their stories. 

The Collapsed lung is apparently completely unrelated to running, it was just a coincidence apparently. It is more common in tall thin males of my age(24). Now that i have had the pleurectomy surgery which is where the lining of the lung is striped which causes a sticky bloody glue that makes the lung STICK to the ribcage wall(stops it from collapsing). Normal operation of a lung is that it moves freely in your ribcage,(the lining or the 'pleura' as its called acts as a lubricant basically.) Theres a 4% my same lung could collapse and more likely my other lung could have it as well since ive had it once. But doctors told me to go live my life as i did before, even if that includes running marathons and training 30-60miles a week depending on the season.

My PB 5K was 18minutes before all of this started happening, and i just clocked 21minutes tonight (6weeks after surgery) hopefully i will get back to the same level as i was before. 

If anyone has had any similar experiences please share.

25/03/2012 at 10:47
I had this happen to me many years ago living in Barcelona, I was 21 and am now 39 and running my first marathon in 4 weeks. I was told to avoid scuba diving and sky diving but to just carry on regardless! It tajes some time to get past it mentally but I feel fitter than ever. GL
18/07/2014 at 19:43

Hi Mark and Gary,

I'm one week post surgery for a collapsed lung, it was a primary spontaneous pneumothorax which came out of the blue. It got me in the garden one day and felt like I'd pulled a muscle in my chest. I had VATS (video assisted thoracic surgery) and an apical chest drain before and after surgery which has left me still pretty beaten up but making progress every day now. I was in hospital for nearly three weeks total; waiting for it to heal up naturally, then surgery and plus four days rehab.

Be interested to know how your running is these days? I see the thread is more than two years old now!

Prior to this happening, 26th June, I was running 40 miles a week and in pretty good shape. Drs reckoned it'd be two weeks before I'd be able to start running again and I'm not going to rush the recovery, no way.

Thanks, if you guys are still out there that is...

18/07/2014 at 21:01
Hi there

I was told the same, it happens for no particular reason and more commonly to slim young males. I should be safe now at 41.!
I did my first marathon and got round in 3 .54 and was very happy.
I am still running and no ill effects and have applied for London every year since without getting in. There is no reason you won't be as fit as before and I actually think it drives you on to do more as you think about what you have and what you can lose .
Currently I am going through the whole rehab thing again as I am recovering from ACL surgery from playing football, but I will be back!
Stay positive and you will be running again in no time!.
18/07/2014 at 21:12

Hi Gary, that's really good, thanks for getting back to this thread. Great to hear you made a full recovery from that, but sorry to hear about the ACL now.

Drs told me about the profile thing, which I fit, but at 40, am at the top end (20-40yr old slim males, otherwise fit, no underlying lung condition or trauma).

Rehab's going well, resting loads, breathing, walking, etc....beginning to reduce painkillers and getting mobility back as bruising subsides.

Good luck with London, I've applied too! Tried Paris? It's a fantastic course, superb atmosphere, and there's a great forum thread bumbling along on here.

19/07/2014 at 13:17
Hi guys. Im now 2 years post surgery and running faster than ever. Posted a half marathon PB 1hr 16mins in april. The only problem I have now is everyday running injuries. Still get odd feelings in the chest from time to time but its common because of the nerves that run along the ribcage.
19/07/2014 at 14:06

Great to hear it Mark, well done. Wow, 1hr16 is an amazing achievement, do you think there's more there in the future?

I've got to get this purse stitch taken out next Friday where the apical drain was but the swelling's going down really fast now, can bend twist and am able to take a full breath of air without it hurting now. The real test is: I can sneeze again, nearly... Otherwise, all incisions are healing up a treat so it's not bad really. Am certain that fitness prior to this event is really helping the recovery.

Hopeful to be able to go out for a little jog this time next week!

19/07/2014 at 15:55

Yea for sure more to come fingers crossed. Just need to get over this damn hamstring injury

Im interested to know if you ever smoked? Live with someone who does smoke?

I was running probably two weeks after surgery. You will feel great too once you start running. When i ran i felt like it was the only time i was getting good breaths of air to begin with. 

19/07/2014 at 19:11

Grew up with a smoker and shamefully smoked myself until i stopped, completely (not even one lapse), four years ago.

Drs were surprised this had happened and put it down to bad luck, possible low level genetic disposition not worth investigating (cousin has had same problem). Chest xrays show no underlying lung problems and O2 saturation is at 100%, clean as a whistle, thankfully.

Really pleased to hear you were up and out there two weeks after surgery, can't wait but will, not going to rush this recovery.

Hamstrings can be swines, good luck with them. I use a rumbleroller on them to good effect?

26/07/2014 at 13:40

15 days after surgery, went for a very gentle two mile run today. As you two might remember it was great to get out there again after a surprise injury.

The run was good, slow, very tentative, checking breathing and for any signs of breathlessness. HR was all over the place but then haven't run for a month. Felt tight across the ribs and got the occasional pull in the shoulder and around incisions, to be expected. Probably have to adjust breathing over time but for now just thinking about getting fitness back and checking that the surgery has worked. A few hours later, feel fine and incredibly happy to be back in trainers again. The road is open again for recovery running!

28/07/2014 at 11:16

Congratulations on the first run back. It feels great doesn't it. Just take your time coming back, 2-3 mile runs to start with. Every other day.

One good thing about having to run very gentley you can focus on your breathing and form. Great running book back the great Jack Daniels recommends the 2-2 breathing technique. Which means breathing in for 2 steps and out for 2 steps.


Here is an extract from the book.

Happy training!!

28/07/2014 at 22:44

Thanks for that Mark, some really good stuff there and it got me to dig out Jack Daniels' book which I've got and re-read that section too.

Went out for three miles this evening at 70%HR and clocked in at a magnificent 11:22min per mile average (bit hilly), felt good though and focused on steady breathing. Before this happened (about a month ago) I was comfortably ticking along around 9:15m/m at the same level of exertion..... so quite a difference. Hey, the fact that I'm able to run at all is fantastic, I'm not complaining.

But whilst out at my new 'easy' pace I was wondering, Mark and Gary, how long it took you to get back to where you were with your running before your lung collapses?

30/07/2014 at 21:52

Soooo, took a break yesterday. Went out this evening, same course, same distance, same exertion (70%HR) and knocked 20 secs per mile off the average pace!

Breathing seemed a little bit freer, less snatchy, and no aches or, progress already! There is no way I am going to rush this recovery and strangely I really like running at 11min/mile, could get used to it!

17/08/2014 at 20:35

got up to 11 miles on the lsr now  (10mins per mile) - 1 month post surgery, felt good, bit lopsided gait though. Going to give the Cheltenham HM a crack on the 7th Sept at the same pace and keeping my place in the Abingdon marathon (19th Oct) open, for now.

Going back to see the surgeon and have a check up on 28th Aug - I think all will be ok but be good to get signed off. Rib weirdness is still there but slowly subsiding and no shortness of breath. There's no way I can run for any length of time at the pace I used to but I'm ok with that - very happy to be a completer rather than a competer for the time being.

09/09/2014 at 22:09

Did the Cheltenham half marathon comfortably on Sunday, exactly three months post-surgery. It was a bit of a last minute decision but glad I did it as felt really good all the way round. Huge confidence booster that running post-surgery will be alright again. Surgeon said it wouldn't be until Christmas that full lung functionality (all the alveoli) comes back into action. 1hr55 - very happy with that at 'easy' effort.

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