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Zara:
My husband wanted to take the kids out for a walk and it was a beautiful day out. I remember walking down, I’m like, I can’t even walk after a few steps. It was really hard for me to walk. This is the only way I can explain it. I feel just a shift happen in my chest. The air is just pressuring, pushing down on the actual lung, like the balloon that’s being pushed down.

Dr. Patton:
We treated her for that. She initially did very well. What made her case a little bit unusual was that she came back with another one. That only happens less than 5% of the time.

Zara:
I’m trying to understand what it is in my life that’s different that could have caused this. I went through many rounds of IVF. I pumped myself up with hormones. Is there some kind of connection with that, and that’s when he brought up catamenial pneumothorax.

Dr. Patton:
She did not have a diagnosis of endometriosis at the time, but it was really the only disease that links the two.

Dr. Seckin:
It’s a disease of menstruation that’s characterized by very painful periods, fertility issues, and over the years, decreasing quality life. These patients typically are undiagnosed, misdiagnosed.

Zara:
I started a chart and go back and look every time that I would go to an ER or the urgent care or an x-ray. It was either around the time I was ovulating or going through my period. It was a five-hour one to determine if there was endometriosis and also obviously to fix the lung.

Dr. Patton:
Traditionally, the surgeries would be done separately because they’re in different body cavities, but since we both operate minimally invasively with very small incisions, it just made sense to do them at the same time.

Dr. Seckin:
I take pride that at Lenox Hill we are doing that. It’s a multidisciplinary approach to a multiorgan disease.

Dr. Patton:
Dr. Seckin will get started. He’ll look in your abdomen, if there’s anything on the diaphragm. Then I’ll look in the chest at the same time. We were able to make the diagnosis of endometriosis.

Zara:
The endometriosis did reach the diaphragm, which Dr. Patton was able to remove. Again, that just solidified the catamenial pneumothorax.

Dr. Patton:
Now that she’s has the endometriosis treated, she should not have another collapsed lung ever lung.

Zara:
It stole two years of my life with my kids because I was never present. I don’t even know how I’ve maintained a job. I can now start to pick my kids up again, be present, be a wife and be a human being and not just be broken. I was broken.

Dr. Seckin:
Zara was the icebreaker, again. Connected two departments.

Dr. Patton:
They only have to come into the hospital once. They get anesthesia once. If I remember right, she was only in the hospital two or three days after the surgery,

Zara:
The past six months has just been really healing, really trying to take time for myself. I think there was a period of four weeks, five weeks where I didn’t see any doctors and I didn’t think about it. It was like heaven. I just want the simplicity of life back. It hasn’t been simple.

Dr. Patton:
All of her x-rays have shown that her lung has been completely expanded with no evidence of air, so it should be a permanent solution.

Zara:
I will forever be indebted. I think this is still an unknown that needs to have more information on it. There needs to be an understanding between the doctors to work together in this capacity. I’m thrilled to see that Patton and Seckin are.

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