? Recurrence of pleural effusions

I had my PleurX catheters removed 5 weeks ago because they were possibly a causative factor in the pain and spiking temperatures I was having. They had been in for nearly 10 months without too many problems, I was still draining approx. 500 mls from the left side weekly, but none for a couple of weeks from the right. I had previously had surgery to my right side to stick the pleura but it was not totally successful.

I was reviewed by the consultant following CXR and she felt that the catheters needed removing because of the infection and that I should be able to manage without them now.

I was also commenced on Tamoxifen 6 weeks ago by my oncologist to add to the Denosumab I have been on since Dx Sept. 2015 with pleura,lung and bone mets.

My problem is over the last couple of weeks I have developed a painful ache in my right side around the lower ribs area,which does not bother me too much during the day, but is very apparent when I change position in bed at night, worse when turning over from left to right. I have now started getting twinges in my left side now around the same area. I take regular strong pain killers twice daily but they do not control these symptoms. I am not unduly breathless which was my main symptom initially and am able to function normally although I do feel tired most of the time.

I have been slowly gaining weight but don’t know whether it is because I am eating well and on supplements or the fluid is returning in my pleural space and causing the pain, or could it be the se of the Tamoxifen.

I am a bit anxious now as I have had 2 lots of oral chemo to try to dry the effusions but I was not able to tolerate them and had a severe reaction to them.

I will be seeing both consultants next Thursday so I hope they can give me some answers. I am hoping that I will not have to have the catheters replaced but I don’t know what the alternative will be if the fluid is still accumulating. 

I just felt I needed to share my anxieties with friends who might be able to help. Ann xx


Dear Ann

It really does sound like you are having a difficult time at the moment and I am sure someone will be along very soon to offer support.  In the meantime, please do talk to our nurses in ourAsk Our Nurse section, they will be able to help you with any clinical questions you may have.

Best wishes
Digital Community Officer

hi Ann, sorry you are feeling so anxious. I have had pleural effusions and it wasd horrendous so i really feel for you. I seem to have had a little more success with the pleurodesis as ,up to now, i have been ok, albeit a little breathles and always tired. I too keep putting on weight and worry that its the fluid buliding up again. I notice you had some chemos which didnt help…i had carboplatin which seemed to do the trick…have you had that|? Would it help ease your anxiety if you couls have an x ray or scan to see if the fluid is building up? dont suffer…ask your onc or breast nurse. Please let us know how you fare. Lots of love. xx

Thank you Stresshead for your reply, I saw the registrar last Thursday who had done my surgery and removed the catheters, he was very pleased with the CXR that I had as it only showed a very small effusion on the right side. I asked him about the pain I was having, which incidentally is still a problem, but he didn’t feel that it was anything to worry about so he has discharged me. So the weight gain must be the cakes and chocolate I have been consuming and possibly the Tamoxifen.

I will be having a CT scan next month to check my progress and to see if the Tamoxifen is doing its job. It will also hopefully put my mind at rest if this pain is still evident. Ann xx

Ann, glad to hear things seem a little more positive but please dont put up with pain. If it doesnt ease up get it investigated and hopefully the right pain relief can be prescribed. Good luck for your next scan. Let us know how you get on. x