Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Have You Ever Seen a Surgeon do the Chicken Dance?

Today my parents and I drove back to Johns Hopkins for the post-op visit with my surgeon, Dr. Ying Wei Lum.

I was very touched by Dr. Lum’s empathy after discussing how far I have come since the initial surgical visit. He told me that he’s performed the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) surgical procedure nearly 500 times and has never simultaneously diagnosed a patient with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after surgery. Dr. Lum was sad, but glad with the prognosis. To tell a young person that he has cancer was very difficult for him.

TOS is apparently a controversial medical issue to even diagnose in the first place. It is a dysfunction that could mimic many other issues in your body. Therefore, it’s very important that you have the BEST doctor to narrow down your symptoms and undergo all proper steps before surgery.

Here is a Fun Fact. Dr. Lum told me TOS is one of the top topics that’s searched on the Johns Hopkins vascular surgery website.

I also found out that I was Dr. Lum’s first trapeze artist patient. Pretty cool! He did have a patient who thought she had TOS, but Dr. Lum’s team found breast cancer instead. It is so important to listen to your body.

Before my parents and I left, I got to introduce Dr. Lum to the Boomerang app for us to take a quick video of the Roos Test. The Roos Test is a method of testing to identify for TOS. Basically you keep your arms at a 90 degree angle and open and close your hands for a period of time. It looks like you’re doing the Chicken Dance. You’ll very quickly know if there’s a problem when you feel numbing or a circulation cut off from your shoulder all the way into your fingertips. Worst-case scenario depending on the kind of condition you have, this can lead to nerve damage and blood clots. Thankfully, the symptoms I exhibited this time around were much more reduced since the last time I performed this test.

Overall, my medical visit was very informative, and my recovery progress has been going according to plan, thank Gd.

Dr. Lum wants me to let him know how my chemo therapy is going and keep him posted on my health. If this was destined to happen, then I am happy that it happened this way. Dr. Lum is an amazing surgeon with an outstanding medical team at Johns Hopkins. They deserved to have this scenario with me as a patient. I hope that this experience helps increase their intuition to save lives and catch potential lurking life threatening conditions with future patients.

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