It wasn’t cancer that doctors discovered growing inside a 75-year-old Brewster man’s lung in May after an x-ray of his chest showed a small dark spot.
Doctors feared the worst when Ron Sveden, already suffering from emphysema, was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital, coughing with a collapsed left lung and pneumonia. But after multiple biopsies, doctors discovered not a tumor -- but a pea seed germinating inside Sveden’s collapsed lung.
They removed the sprout, about a half of an inch tall, and Sveden has recovered.
“I must have ate something and it went down the wrong way, that’s all they could tell,” Sveden said in a telephone interview today. "It was too big to get through" from coughing.
Though it is fairly common for food particles to become stuck in a person’s airway, it is a strange case for anything to grow in that environment, said Dr. Scott Slater, Sveden’s pulmonologist.
Sveden’s lung was swollen and inflamed around the pea, making it difficult to diagnose at first, he said.
“He thought he was going to have lung cancer, and this would have been his last six months, but instead he has this new lease on life,” said Slater, who practices out of a private office in Hyannis. “It’s not often that things end so happy like this.”
Sveden first sought help for what turned out to be the pea on Memorial Day. “But I’m doing fine now, not only am I happy but the family is happy,''' said Sveden, whose moment in medical history was first reported by the Cape Cod Times.
Last year, doctors discovered a fig tree, measuring 5 centimeters, growing inside the lung of a 28-year-old Russian man, according to news reports.
Meanwhile, Sveden said he hasn’t lost his appetite for peas. “One of my first meals in the hospital after the pea came out, the vegetable was peas,” Sveden said. “It all turned out very positive.”
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