This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Charlene Marshall 1 month ago.

  • Author
  • #17787
     Mark Koziol 


    I began to have symptoms of interstitial lung disease (ILD) around November 2012. The first time I sought treatment was April 2013; I was experiencing periods where I would have shortness of breath, dry cough, and fatigue. My original diagnosis was lipoid pneumonia and ILD. After a 10 day stint in the hospital I was then under a pulmonologist care that mostly focused on respiratory issues that were not as extreme as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, (IPF). After 18 months under her care and my lung capacity moving downward, she referred me to the Cleveland Clinic.

    As many people do, I would Google information regarding my symptoms and what was then my current diagnosis. I didn’t really like what I read. Along with reading internet sites, I also focused on professional medical journals and literature from established institutions; such as Johns Hopkins, The Mayo Clinic, and The Cleveland Clinic. There were others but I mainly focused on these research hospitals.

    Dr. Leslie Tolle, is the pulmonologist who diagnosed me. He was very thorough in the initial appointment and also set me up for exclusionary tests. After all exclusionary testing was completed; there was still one procedure to do to confirm IPF. The procedure was the Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery, (VATS). By this time I had read many blogs, forums and social media pages offering their opinions on whether or not to opt for the procedure. There were valid arguments on both sides. However, I knew I was going to make the choice on my terms and beliefs.

    Dr. Tolle was very bipartisan in his approach to me regarding the VATS. He offered pros and cons for surgery and no surgery. The speculation was I had IPF but the CAT scan was not exhibiting the IPF diagnosis and the only diagnostic tool to actually confirm, was the VATS. I decided to have the VATS procedure done and Dr. Tolle recommended 2  excellent surgeons to do the procedure. I chose the surgeon who had a personality similar to mine.

    Dr. Daniel Raymond was the surgeon I chose to perform the surgery. The surgery went extremely well and I was only in the hospital for 3 days. I had very little pain associated with the surgery and there were no other complications. My diagnosis was able to be confirmed, and a treatment plan was established.

    Have you had the VATS procedure done? If so, please share your experiences with the forum. 

    If you chose not to have it, what discourage you from having the VATS procedure done?


  • #17867

    So you recommend having the VATS procedure?

    • #17869
       Mark Koziol 

      Hello Marianne, if it makes any difference how i decided; I went with my heart. I trusted my pulmonologist and my thoracic surgeon. My Surgeon was rated highly by u.s. news and world report and he had a terrific bedside manner. I’m a guy who likes to bust chops and have fun. All his interactions were of the same, even in the operating room before I went under. Ultimately this is your decision and I would never want to sway you one way or another. Thanks for commenting.

  • #17890
     Cooper P Abrams III 

    What is VATS? I read the name but what is actually done in surgery? This is first I heard of it.

    • #17891
       Mark Koziol 

      The VATS procedure is a minimally invasive surgery in order to diagnose lung diseases. They tend to use it if doctors are having trouble identifying the proper diagnosis. There are pros and cons to the surgery just like any. In the surgery they take several pieces of your lung for pathologists to examine and hopefully give a diagnosis. My stay in the hospital was 3 days, and I didn’t have any other complications. Some patients state they have complications and have longer stays.

  • #17906
     Charlene Marshall 

    Great reply Mark, thanks so much for the explanation! Hope this helps @cpabrams3 🙂

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