August 13, 2010, - 2:10 pm

You Lucky Dog!: Luck of the Pea Ingester

By Debbie Schlussel

This has to be the good news/weird news/”You Lucky Dog!”/Thank G-d! story of the week.

Ron Sveden thought he might have lung cancer and lived with that fear since Memorial Day weekend, when he arrived at Cape Cod Hospital and an x-ray detected a small dark spot resembling a tumor in his left lung.  He’s a smoker who suffers from emphysema.  But the “spreading mass,” examined in a biopsy, turned out to be a pea that sprouted in his chest.

Sveden’s lung was swollen and inflamed around the pea, making the problem difficult to diagnose at first, said Dr. Scott Slater, Sveden’s pulmonologist.

Though it is fairly common for bits of food to become stuck in a person’s airway, it is strange for a plant to grow in that environment, 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 from a private office in Hyannis.

“It’s not often that things end so happy like this.’’

Pulmonary vegetation is not unheard of. 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.

As for Sveden, he has not lost his appetite for peas.

“One of my first meals in the hospital after the pea came out, the vegetable was peas,’’ Sveden said.

Glad for him.

What you inhale does make a difference.

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9 Responses

Good thing it wasn’t a cactus!

Little Al on August 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm

If the peas don’t get him, the emphysema will.

#1 Vato on August 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm

It gives new meaning to “mind your Peas and Q’s 🙂

Fred Taub on August 13, 2010 at 3:49 pm

This is pretty serious…

As goes on August 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

“It gives new meaning to “mind your Peas and Q’s”

I was seeing that come a billion miles away!

And Debbie, that actually is Cape Cod, not Code. I have an Aunt and Uncle who live on Falmouth in the western part of the Cape. Next month they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

That has to be the most unusual medical story I ever heard.

Bob Porrazzo on August 13, 2010 at 6:34 pm

From now on, pea soup!

T. Y. on August 13, 2010 at 8:58 pm

This guy probably aspirated the pea because of the emphysema and the last thing he should do is eat another one. How about stopping the smoking to celebrate your new ‘lease on life’ instead?

Lee in IL on August 13, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Maybe this will encourage him to count his blessings and STOP SMOKING!

Mr. Sveden may have gotten lucky this time, but he may not be as lucky the next.

He may not have “lost his appetite for peas” (which are, in fact, usually innocuous), but I hope that he did lose his appetite for cigarettes (which are usually harmful).

Mike on December 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm

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