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Patient discovers courage within himself for risky surgery

For years, Robert Trevino had just put up with the symptoms of a crippling disorder called Fibrous Dysplasia, which created abnormal bone growth in different parts of his body.

He even lost an eye to the disorder, when a bone mass began growing in his eye socket.

Despite the complications of his Fibrous Dysplasia, he was able to live a semi-active life. But as he reached 40, Mr. Trevino’s health began to decline. Doctors found a bony growth that was growing inside of his chest wall, virtually crushing his left lung.

Mr. Trevino spoke with Scott I. Reznik, M.D., Cardiothoracic Surgery, and the doctor told him that he would need some sort of surgical treatment or his disorder would soon end his life.

“He said he wanted to think about it because I told him that if for some reason the left lung didn’t expand, then he might not survive the surgery,” Dr. Reznik said.

But after a moment of clarity Mr. Trevino decided to go through with the surgery.

“It’s not my time to go. I’m not done yet,” Trevino said. “I have a lot of things I want to do.”

The day of the surgery finally came and Mr. Trevino wasn’t the only one nervous about the outcome of the surgery. Dr. Reznik and Dr. Roy Smyth were also hoping that relieving the pressure on his left lung would allow it to reinflate and give their patient a better chance at life.

“The hardest part was standing there waiting to see if the lung would inflate,” Dr. Smythe said.

When the lung expanded for the first time in over a decade, the whole medical team breathed a sigh of relief.

“It was a moment of truth,” Dr. Reznik said. “We don’t always have that in thoracic surgery where you know that something is going to work. We knew that we had helped him tremendously,” Dr. Reznik said.

Both doctors were overwhelmed by the success of the surgery and Dr. Smythe said he would never forget this landmark case.

“Dr. Reznik and Dr. Smythe really made me comfortable going into the surgery,” Mr. Trevino said. “I think about them every day. They’re the reason why I’m still here. They didn’t give up and they gave me a reason not to give up.”

About the author

Jessa McClure
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Jessa McClure holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX, where she is currently an adviser for student publications. She has been a writer in the health care field since 2009.

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Patient discovers courage within himself for risky surgery