Had my lower left lobe removed to cancer 8 weeks ago. I still feel some pain and some breathing difficulties. would llike to hear from others who have gone through this surgery.
I had my upper right lobe removed Jan 3 2001. Still have pain but is getting better. Not as tired anymore, still out of shape. My doc said it would probably be a year before I'm back to half way normal, of course being macho I didn't believe him, but I now believe. We had a major trauma to our bodies and to our mental. My biggest problem is for about 4 months I was a couch potato. Have gained 25lbs, but mowing the lawn and doing yard work helps. I forgot what it was like to smell the Roses. Take care it's a good pain.
Thanks for answering so quickly. I needed to hear from someone who has gone through this. Did you have anything else done besides the surgery? Any other treatment? I have rib pain and sitll have some difficulty getting deep breaths. My internist has prescribed an in haler because I do have times of shortness of breath.
Nothing else done since surgery. I found out I had cancer Oct 10, 2000. I met with a ogyn & sugeron and listen to what both of them had to say. I initally wanted surgery but went on the internet and search for info. Sloane- Kettering had a little article about chemo first then surgery, survival rates "appeared" to thriple. My ogyn wanted to do chemo so 3 days before surgery I canceled and started chemo for nine weeks. Last chemo Dec 19th, surgery "good way to start the new year" Jan 3 2001 with rescheduled surgery. Reports after surgery said at time of tumor removal it was dead. I feel chance of cancer spreading due to mestortises (spelling) when lung was opened is little to none. That's my story and personnel feeling, I don't know if I made the right decision. If 5 years from now I'm free of cancer then I'll think I'm right but still won't know for sure. How about you. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I had lower right lobe removed 9 months ago. I no longer have any pain. Do you have NSCLC or SCLC? I have had chemo before and after surgery, then 35 radiation. My biggest problem is cough which seems to be getting better with use of inhaler. Did you have any lymph node involvement? Good luck and keep your chin up.
I had NSCLC with no node involvement. My internist just gave me an inhaler which helps with my small cough. Good luck to you too
Had upper right lung removed 4-23-2001. What a horrific experience but have had no pain after 9 weeks but breathing is still difficult under various situations; brisk walking, etc. Just started 1/2 hr. strong swimming daily exercise to determine if this will strengthen lungs.
Indication was that surgery got the cancer as it early detection Stage I non-small cell. I am most interested in how others with this surgery felt about the operation in general and the recovery. I consider myself a person with a high pain tolerance and felt I was in excellent health but this surgery is something no one can fully comprehend in advance.
I had my surgery 4-24-2001, so we are at exactly the same point. I too had stage 1 non-small cell, with no further treatment warrented. The pain is finally gone, and the breathing is good, except in cases of extreme heat. Then I just go in air conditioning for a while. I do have an inhaler that I use as needed, and that seems to help. I do feel back to my old self, and am trying to exercise also to build my endurance.
Yes, the pain was interesting, but I feel that it was well managed in the hospital, and I was able to get off the pain pills within 4 weeks of suregery, which surprised the doctor. I am on anti-depressents and seeing a therapist also. Feel free to email me.
Janny,I had upper left lobectomy 18 mos. ago. Mine was also early detection.I am non small cell adenocarcinoma. I did not need any treatment, but every 6 months I get a catscan and xrays. I agree with you that I have never experienced pain like that in my life. I still have flashbacks about the pain, altho they are getting farther apart.It's funny cause I can walk and hardly get out of breath but climbing stairs to fast and I have a hard time breathing. Do you have trouble wearing a bra? I cannot wear one cuz it presses on the incision and bothers the nerves from the surgery.
I had upper right lobectomy may 2011. I am 51 stage 3A. At this point I have days when I feel pretty good and then I have days where my back and under breast just squeeze tight. Here is a tip regarding bra wearing buy a bra extender I started out wearing 2 and now I can manage just one. Forget underwire. Anyone out there can help me with this, My family has a house in the Catskilles when ever I go my pain from surgery increases. Could altitude have aanything to do with this??
I, too, had an upper right lobe removed. Still have a good deal of coughing, and my lung capacity does not feel normal yet. I seem to have quite a bit of pain around right rib cage. Seems my body is telling me I still need rest. Never been one to nap, but I do need a nap mid-afternoon, now. Like yours, my tumor was caught early, so I did not require chemo or radiation.
Hoping springtime will relieve me of this cough. Actually, it is not so bad unless I talk. I have two grandchildren, (3 & 5) and after a couple of hours with them, I crash and burn the following day. Guess our stamina comes back ever so gradually.
Input would be helpful.
Your story caught my eye, my husband just underwent an upper right lobectomy in February. He is going back to work tomorrow on his surgeon's advice. I worry it's too early as he too has pain, especially in his ribcage where the tubes were. When did you have your lobectomy? His incision is still swelled and a little red, surgeon said it's just inflamation and normal. He too gets tired quicker than he use too. They say it takes a year to heal completely, starting to believe it.
I had a left upper lobectomy 18 mos. ago and I feel wonderful today. Give yourself time to heal and be patient. I was a good ten weeks before I felt like a human again.Today I walk 2 miles a day. I guess I was lucky, I never had trouble breathing. I get shortwinded climbing stairs and doing physical work. It was a very painful recovery but I tried to walk in the house a little bit each day. During recovery from surgery, I felt very lonely a lot of times altho I had a wonderful supportive family and friends. I also experienced depression,anxiety and crying jags. My Doctor put me on antidepressant medicine and it has made a big difference. Also , these feelings are normal. Our bodies have gone thru a major trama undergoing major surgery. The biggest thing I found was to listen to my body. Rest when you are tired, cry when you are sad, talk when you need to. One day you will feel like a brand new person. Hope This helped you. If you have any more questions, I will be glad to talk with you. I am a 59 year old female.
Don't know if you are still checking in on this site but am home recovering from having my right middle lobe removed Dec 3rd and still taking pain meds..stage 1a with no further treatment reccomended although I will be following up with an oncologist..has your cancer come back?
You may wish to start a new post instead of replying to ones that are more than a month or two "old". Folks come and go quickly on a board and old posts rarely get checked so you don't get replies to your questions.
I hope you are doing well with your operation. It is normal to take pain meds for about a month after major surgery. If you had VATS surgery you should soon be ready to take over-the-counter meds instead of the prescription stuff. It may take longer if you had conventional surgery.
I am at stage 1a too, both for breast cancer and for lung cancer. I met with a pulmonary oncologist once but she said I was too healthy to see her!! I still see my breast oncologist as they have preventitive meds for that I can take. I sure wish there were medical ways to prevent future episodes of lung cancer too. Exercise and good diet is about all I see supported by research as a way to stay out of the operating room.
I just came to this site to possibly get more info on recovery after a lobectomy. I noticed the dates from the posts so I am not sure I am in the right spot. I also read the other person saying maybe would be better to start a new post. I haven't done this before and haven't been on this site for discussion boards either. So being new to this I will keep checking out what is available.
I had upper left lobe removed on 2-28-11 and working on the recovery process. No further treatment for the lung cancer is needed. I had a triple bypass late 1998 and lumpectomy for breast cancer, which was in a lymph node also; and breast reduction a year ago. Still taking meds for that after radiation.
This surgery is more painful and I a guess I am just looking for more info on recovery from the surgery.
I was 45 years old when I had my lobectomy in Sept. 2009. I have always been in good shape and I was quite shocked to learn I had a mass the size of Rhode Island in my right lung. The mass was making me very sick and it had just about destroyed my upper right lung so they did a lobectomy. Long story short it was not cancer but a severe infection. I did not have the VATS so I have a big ugly scar, but I am OK with that.
The recovery from the surgery took a lot longer than I expected. I was on hydrocodone for about 6 weeks after the surgery and ibuprophen for a few weeks after that. Even now I still have some discomfort here and there but it's not bad.
Do not be surprised if you gasp from time to time. It took at least 3-4 months for the gasping to stop happening frequently, meaning several times an hour. It still happens once or twice a day but not every day.
I found it much more comfortable to sleep sitting up. I did this for about 3 months after surgery. If you don't have a bed that raises up like a hospital bed, you might want to invest in a good chair-pillow.
Today I am 47 years old and I'm working on getting back in shape. I do my stair stepper almost every day and I take the stairs to my 8th floor office. There is healing from this surgery. It might be slower than you hope but it will come.
If I can answer any more questions I will be happy to do so. All the best to you in your recovery.
Thank you PBJ Austin for the reply. I don't know the term VATS but I have a big ole scar across the left upper back and some drain tube scars (ouch) under my left arm kind of on top of the incisions from the breast cancer. The doctors and others have told me that this is about the most painful surgery you can have so I thought I was prepared enough, I thought I would be off the RX pain meds after 2 weeks out of the hospital but I have tried the regular over the counter and it doesn't even dull the pain most of the time. I really don't like having to have my husband do the cooking and things I usually do. He is happy to be of some kind of help so I should just relax and let myself heal in the time it takes.
It does help though to hear from others that have had the same done and how it effected them. I am not in as good of shape or as young as you were when you had your surgery, but I have bounced back after my other surgerys pretty quickly.
Well, again thank you so much for your reply. I am glad you are doing so well and that you didn't have a hugh mass of cancer. Very fortunate. My lung cancer was caught at a very early stage due to a scheduled CT 6 months after a bad case of pneumonia during last summer, as a f-up scan. At that time they saw a new spot that had not been there during the illness in the summer. I was very lucky, but it was in a bad spot so they had to take the whole upper left lobe. At the time they were not absolutly sure it was cancer, but pretty certain from the Pet Scan. It was but caught very early so I am lung cancer free now.
Well gees, too many words. whew, wore me out! Thanks Again
Thank u for your candid post on your experience. I had upper left lobectomy 2/9 and am going thru the same feelings. A little lonely being at home and trying to do activities in the house to keep me active. I am lucky to have friends checking on me ss well ss my 20 and 22 year olds who are home in the evening. I though I'd recooperate sooner but its a slow recovery. I am 53 and was very active before my cancer reoccurence-ugh! And surprised the way it came back but lucky it was found!
My big concern is I have to have my other lung wedged and at that time a liver tumor will be removed so I hope to heal by end of month. I see the liver surgeon March 15.
Anyone, other thoughts on healing from this surgery?
I am trying to remain positive but the rib pain sure can hurt. I sm on ibuprofen q/4 hours and take a Norco at night when pain peaks.
I have read all these posts and to sum it up it sounds like walk wake walk to work out these pains and heal!
Any other advice?
I also have lidocaine strips I cm cut and place over my ribs......
I have read all these posts and to sum it up it sounds like walk wake walk to work out these pains and heal!
Any other advice?
Your comments have been most helpful. Thanks.
I am 6 weeks out and still in a great deal of pain. I had my upper and middle lobes removed from my right lung. I'm also easily made breathless. I hope you are much better by now.
I had my right middle lobe removed Dec 3rd and NOT by the VATs procedure so it is a completly diferent recovery..I too thought I was ready to deal with the pain but this knocked me off my feet..I returned to work part-time the middle of feb but was still taking vicoden at night and exhausted by the time I would get home from work..I am 51 years old and in good health and my tumor was found on a routine chest x-ray, have been staged 1a but will continue to be followed by an oncologist.
I spent hours on web sites looking at recovery time frames for this surgery and it takes alot longer than most of us were led to believe by our surgeons..I still take extra strength tylenol 3 times a day and don't even get me started on what its like to wear a bra! I do feel better than you do at 6 weeks out but please be patient with yourself, continue to do your breathing exercises, walk when you can, get as much sleep as you can (I take lunesta at night as I feel better in the day if I get a good nights sleep) and it will get better but it is a slooooooow process.
What is the VATS procedure? I haven't read enough apparently and the surgeons office never mentioned it. All I know is I have a large incision on my upper back and holes on the side where the drain tubes. I am sure it is going to take longer than I though for sure. I had a triple bypass when I was 50 and I don't remember it being this bad and was back to work after about 4 weeks. I am 63 now and had surgery for breast cancer early last year with radiation and now this. I think my body is getting a bit tired of being cut on. At least I am now retired and don't have to go back to work like before.
But summer is just around the corner and there are grandkids (17) I want to see so the recovery will have to speed it up a bit. I am working on it at least.
Take care Sissylu
VATS is video assisted thoracic surgery. That is how I had my right lower lobe removed. It is more of a laproscopic surgery. I had 2 small incisions (one on lower back and one of right side) about 1 inch and then a larger 3-4 inch incision (on side and rounding under breast) and a drain tube (under breast). I have a total of 4 scars from the surgery with the largest being the 3-4 inch one.
I had surgery 8 weeks ago and I still have minor pain in the incision areas an if i move wrong it hurts. However, VATS is a much smaller surgery than an open type like you indicated. I did notice an increase in incision pain since I started chemo.
I had a lobectomy Dec. 01/10.. I had a video conference with my surgeon 10 days ago. He said that the pain from the VATS surgery can last as long as a year for some people. He said it is nerve and rib pain where they did the surgery. In all of the four places you mentioned. This is because those spots were irritated during the surgery and is nothing to worry about. I was happy to hear that because I was a bit concerned.
Thank you for the explanation on the VATS procedure. I am sure I didn't have that then. I do know that my surgeon and the hospital are noted to be one of the best for this procedure and I had all the convidence the best surgery for my situation would be done. But some of the pain in upper back (not incision), and lower rib cage in the front is something I didn't expect. That combined with the other pains and issues is slowing me down.
Well good luck to all of us for a good recovery.
Hi everyone. I am a 55 year old female and I had the lower lobe of my left lung removed 8 weeks ago. My cancer was also stage 1a … no chemo or radiation required. Even though I had VATS, I am still in a great deal of discomfort. I have a total of 5 incisions … 4 small and 1 longer one on my side. Surgeons had to remove a portion of one of my ribs in order to get the lobe out. The pain is mostly in the muscles in my back and around my rib cage now ... I feel battered and bruised all around that area. Sleeping is difficult. I went back to work this week, but feel like I could use another few weeks off!
I agree with sissylu1 … it does take a lot longer to recover than our surgeons lead us to believe. I know it is definitely taking a lot longer than I thought it would! I don't think anyone knows until they've been through it, which is why this discussion board is so great!
Sounds like we just need to be patient. God bless us all ...
Patti 8 weeks out is not that long..I am 3 1/2 months out and have only been taking extra strength tylenol for the past 3 weeks..I believe I was given the best advice by the oncologist nurse who told me it will take a good 6-12 months for a more complete recovery..the messing with the ribs is what causes the most pain and then when you realize all those muscles and nerves have to regenerate it explains why you still feel sore sore..I am more tender now than sore except if I overdue it and still tired by the end of the late afternoon...I too have found this site to be of much comfort to me and am trying to provide that to others...patience is the hardest part for me but I do feel very very blessed!
Friends, I don't want to contradict any advice your doctors have given you since every case is different. But when I was trying to wean myself off hydrocodone I tried Extra Strength Tylenol and it did nothing for me at all. I called the doc and he said forget Tylenol, it won't help. He recommended ibuprophen.
Please ask your doctor which pain reliever is best and do not make any changes on my advice, this is simply what I was told.
And don't be discouraged if the pain or breathlessness lasts longer than the surgeon predicted. The same happened to me. Don't push yourself, your body will heal when it is ready. And do keep believing that your strength will come back, but these things take time. There is life after lobectomy.
Gentle hugs to all who are recovering from this surgery.
I was glad to read all of the information from you all. I am thinking now that my upper back pain is probably muscle pain due to all of the surgery. Still is really bothersome. I do take ibuprofen with the hydrocodone, hoping it will help with muscle pain too. Doesn't seem to make a difference. It is a patience kind of thing for all of us I guess.
Take care and Thanks for being out there and wanting to communicate. Oh and waring a bra, forget it! Maybe too personal but I found a tank top with light bra insert works best.
You are so right about the bra issue, grama17! I also went the tank with a shelf-bra route. I did find that "Barely There" makes a couple of very stretchy bras that work out pretty good when I want just a little extra (but not too much extra) support. Good luck with that!
oh yes to the bre thi!ng! Does this mean no more bras ever?
Well not sure you are still on? Came to this site for info. Have not had my surgery yet. Very interesting. I am the kind of person who wants to know what might lay ahead of me! I want to be pre-pared I know I will want things to move along quickly as far as recuperating. I have a goal! We have plans for a trip to Hawaii the end of Oct. Which will be just 3months out from surgery. Won't know if any of my lung will actually have to be removed or how much if that? So what can I expect? Should we cancel our plans?
For most of us 3 months is a long enough recovery to do most things again. I think you should give it a bit more time before you decide what to do about your trip. Good luck with the surgery.
My husband actually had 2 surgeries- a right upper lobectomoy jan. 2011 and then a lower left lobectomoy, March 25th and then a second surgery April 8th to repair a leak that had occurred as a complication from surgery- was in the hospital a total of 3 weeks. A collapsed lung May 4th. BUT on July 1st we boarded a plane and went to Mexico for 2 weeks. No problems with his breathing on the flight there and back. Keep your plans!
I am exactly the same way and i do not like surprises...anyway, I had the middle lobe of my right lung removed the old fashioned way on Dec 3, 2010 and I asked a ton of questions about how long I would be off, pain level, etc...what you will keep hearing is "it's different for everyone" which is not the answer I wanted to hear. My second child was graduating in June of 2011 and we wanted to go to Hollywood, CA for a graduation trip...me being the pre planner that I am I already wanted things in place..then I started to panic that I would not be up for the trip or that I would not be able to keep up with her.
We just got back the beg of July and had a wonderful time..now keep in mind that is 6 months out but I really started to feel back to my old self by May..having a goal is a good thing to strive for..you might not be able to do EVERYTHING that you wanted but you can still have a wonderful trip..ps, I did buy the trip insurance just in case.
My left lung tumor removal was similar to yours just one drain tube, vats assisted with a 4 to 5 inch incision. Haven't started Chemo yet but soon. Was suppose to do a trial but have changed my mind. Not interested in using Cisplatin because of side affects? What stage was yours?
I had my right upper lobe removed in November 2010 and thought I would never make it through the pain. My surgeon advised me to MOVE as often as I can. He had me walking in the snow four times a day and I walked around my house all through the day. He was right. the more I moved the better the pain or my ability to deal with it. After three months I wasn't happy with my breathing progress and complained to him. He told me that you only have about six months to rebuild your lung function, after that it really doesn't get much better. Again he told me to walk. I worked my way up to walking two and a half hours straight, daily. I felt great by the end of the sixth month with no more need for pain meds and still only a little short of breath occasionally climbing stairs. I hope by now your doing a lot better. good luck.
I had my lower right removed Jan 28, 2011. Pain was gone by about 6 weeks. Still I know something happed in that area. I have got back on my bike am and doing a 73 mile ride on Apr. 16. Hope your pain goes away soon.
I went to a Thorasic Surgeon who insisted I need VATS. He told me that they would biopsy the nodule while I was under and if I did not have cancer I could go back to work in 2 days; if they needed to removed my lower left lobe, he stated I would be back to work in 2 to 3 weeks? Now reading this - I doubt that a person can be fully recovered and back to work in a few weeks? Julie
I didn't have the VATS procedure but it sure sounds like it would be rather quick to go back to work that soon after a lobectomy. I had the traditional surgery and work in a factory, so I opted to take as much time as I felt I needed. I was off work for 10 weeks because of the physical nature of my job as well as enviroment. I still feel I am not 100% and am finding I have new feelings to get used to. Surgeon said it could take up to a year to completely heal inside. Good luck on your surgery Julie and just take it easy and don't let them push you back before you are ready. God bless Cheryl
Everyone's case is different..the VATS is a shorter recovery time..I had my surgery the traditional way..if I were you I would plan on being off for a month-if you have VATS that may be a reasonable time period to plan for, if you wind up going back to work sooner than that you could do so...I know how hard it is to plan with this kind of thing but plan for longer than expected so you don't have the anxiety of a deadline date to return to work and let others help you when you get home!!!!!!! Please keep us posted.
I am doing okay, still have some pain thinking it's mostly from the ribs. I do have some numbing pain if you know what I mean. Just had a medi Port inserted and it gives me some pain. Did you have to have Chemo? How much of your lung was removed?
I had a left pneumonectomy and left and right lymph node dissection last month, complicated by a post op hemorrhage, infection, right lung collapse, the lungs both filled with blood during the hemorrag, I lost half my blood supply and coded. I went home, by myself six days later. The seventh day I walked 2 miles and it took three hours, and I was extremely short of breath. I also had seven incisions and a few drain holes and a throat wound. Not comfortable. Every day I walked more. Sunday I walked 9 miles in2 and a half hours. In 2 or 3 weeks I will go back to walking 10 miles round trip to my job where I walk and carry for 14 and a half hours a night. I don't have the money to stay out of work any longer. After the third week the pain got a lot less. I had a lot of nerve pain initially, pain where the drains had been, and pain underneath the front of my rib cage and flank, I gguess where I had retractors. I vacummed one week post op. Its a month and I am still not lifting really heavy things, but I am getting a lot of exercise. My oncologist said to exercise as much as I possibley can, and my thoracic surgeon said that a person can not walk enough.Every day I am getting less short of breath. Since my insurance company is owned by my crappy hospital, I did not get physical or pulmonary rehab, so I am doing it all on my own. Since my throat was cut twice to put in tubes externally, my voice was very hoarse. It sounded awful when I spoke. I let that rest till Sunday. I am maximiz**** my breath contol with singing. Its very hard. I can not do the whole score of Phantom of the Opera yet nor half as well as I could do preop, but I am missing a few lungs. The right lung has stage 3 COPD, asbestosis. emphysema and chronic bronchitis. I tend to get pneumonia every three months even though I am active, because of fibrotic lungs. I also chose not to go home on oxygen. Because I have COPD, I can easily live in the upper 80's, low 90's in saturation. oxygen is a drug, and should be used only if necessary. most docs will not prescribe it till a pulse ox is below 87 percent. I've been as low as 85, but my body tolerates that. Its a lot to adjust to, bioth physically and mentally. I always was very athletic and competitive. I am only 49. I was diagnosed a year ago, by myself on an xray and had to fight to get a CAT scan, paid for out of pocket. They did not biopsy me for 7 more months, despite me calling twice a week. My hospital, who owns the insurance company, forbids us to see snyone but their doctors, and the town is small, so they are the only show in Central Texas. I am lucky to have made it through alive. But the more you ask your body to do, the more it will adapt, the more function you will have. Good luck.
I am 53 and had L lobectomy, trying to walk farther e recovery is so slow. How are you feeling? I am walking everyyday but still get rib pain. I have to have 2nd surgery scheduled in other side but feeling now?d I hope m Barbuch better. Are you back at work? Barb