For a few months, everything was great. Because I was never referred to a pulmonologist or even my Primary Care Physician for follow-up, I continued on with my life as if that was just an odd bump in the road. It was a great topic of conversation at dinner parties, but overall, I felt fine. We got through the Christmas season and greeted the New Year with the expectation that 2015 would be better for us.
A week into January, I was sitting in church when I felt almost a pop inside my chest. It was tiny, but I felt something. This was quickly followed by familiar chest pain (once you've experienced one collapse, you know what it feels like without a doubt). I looked at my husband frantically and mouthed to him that I thought my lung had collapsed again. We went home and I immediately went to bed to rest. Not only am I tough, but I am also stubborn, and while I am usually not the type to self-diagnose, I am super sensitive about seeking medical care when I think it could be unnecessary (and I'm painfully cheap and ER visits are expensive, so there's that). As I was evaluating my symptoms, I determined that because my shortness of breath was minimal, it must be a rather small collapse. My internet searches all told me that small collapses are usually treated with observation only, so I decided to wait it out on my own. I spent the following week resting and the pneumothorax eventually resolved on its own.
We figured that was the recurrence the doctor had mentioned and maybe I was in the clear, until a month later -- boom -- another small one. And the month after that? Yet another small one. At this point, I was frustrated. I didn't have a week out of every month to lay in bed. I didn't see them as life threatening (because I hadn't been told otherwise) but these pneumos were quickly affecting my quality of life. And yet each time, I assured myself that that had to be the last one. Having no specialist to turn to, I simply didn't know what to do.