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Mother Having Right Upper Lobe Removed next Wed

papersau
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2006

Hello,

My mother has been going through numerous tests for months now...CT Scans, a PET Scan, biopsies, with no decisive test results for cancer except a "suspicious" biopsy result on a 2.5cm nodule found in her upper right lobe. All doctors have recommended to surgically remove the lobe and she is scheduled for sugery next Wed. It has been a tough several months for my family as my mom had to suddenly quit her nursing job after 20+ years to focus on herself. She has always been very active and a go-getter so it's difficult seeing her endure these hardships.

She is 54 years old and a non-smoker. She has lost a lot of weight over the past couple months while taking these tests.

What can she expect from this surgery? Recover time and quality of life afterwards? Breathing, pain? I suppose they will do further testing during the surgery to determine the extent of possible cancer, the nodule itself and any lymph nodes.

Has anyone had the VATS surgery done to test for cancer prior to having there whole lobe removed and how does that compare? I don't believe they offer VATS at the hospital my mom will be having the operation.

Any of your comments would be most helpful at this time.

Daughter of patient

Vince34
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2006

Hello. Iam no expert on this subject but i have learned a lot about variuos types of lung cancer.My wife has stage iv which is very bad. It sounds to me,your mom might have stage 1 or 2.Trust me,the medical profession can make this go away.There are many cases of complete recovery.You just keep asking the doctors anything that will help you.Most important issue is to be keep a positive attitude.Yoi will find ,right here in this sight,many cases of survivors from various types of cancer.Your mom is lucky to have you. keep asking the questions and you will find comfort.It is a very tough thing to go through and your mom will need you.God bless you and your mom.Sorry i couldn't be more specific. Vince34

papersau
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2006

Vince,

thank you for your encouraging words...they have offered me some reassurement for my mom's future.

My thoughts are with you and your wife.

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi. I had the upper lobe of my right lung removed, based on positive tests, - x-rays, CT scans, PET scans, and bronchoscopy which yielded a photograph of the tumor. It's difficult for me to understand "all the doctors recommending surgical removal of the lobe", based on suspicion. VATS is minimally invasive, and is used in cases of early stage lung cancers, which seems to be the case here. Usually, a determination is made as to type and stage and size of a cancer. Maybe there is much that I don't understand here, and I may be "one voice crying out in the wilderness", but I would find a doctor and/or hospital that does offer VATS, prior to electing for open thoracic surgery. Open thoracic surgery is no picnic. If VATS is applicable in your mom's case, that is definitely the way to go.

papersau
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2006

Thanks for your feedback. I greatly appreciate it. They did a bronchoscopy on my mom as well, but it is deep in the long, so they could not reach it. I know it's frustrating for me to know that they're doing this surgery only based on "suspicion", but the doctors are saying that it is the only way to be sure....since the biopsy wasn't completely conclusive. I belive they will also test surrounding lymph nodes, one did show up a bit brighter on her PET. No determinations have been made with regards to type and stage and it boggles my mind they are doing such an invasive surgery solely based on suspicion. She now feels that it has been months since the tests first began and after the PET she did a number of following tests for possible mestasis to the breast and thyroid which all proved false. The tests have been prolonging the inevitable surgery, which could involve an aggressive type of cancer. Therefore, she has opted to have the surgery instead of spending more months testing for more definitive results....I think at this point she is just fed up and frustrated.

I've recently read about the VATS surgery and it seems much less invasive. The surgeon never recommended it, so either he doesn't perform it or it isn't suitable for her.? I don't know. I believe they also plan to remove a lymph node and test other surrounding lymph nodes.

My mother never had any symptoms...she had seen our family doctor last Nov for a twisted swollen thumb she wanted X-rayed for fear of arthritis. The doctor sent her for a routine chest X-ray as well, since she did not have one for years...and a shadow showed up, since then then tests have been ongoing...

Any idea on how much the VATS surgery costs? I will investigate further on hospitals that offer the procedure.

thank you

CHG
Posts: 34
Joined: Jan 2005

I had an upper right lobectomy in July 2005. Today I am cancer free. I did not have the VATS procedure. My surgeon had to remove one of my rib bones to get into the mediastinum to check lymph nodes for cancer. I had 6 weeks of chemo and radiation before suregery and two sessions of chemo after surgery. There is a lot of soreness after surgery, and numbness due to nerves being cut to make the incision. They get you out of bed the very next day and have you to walk. In three weeks I was back to driving my car, going to the grocery store walking slowly and using my arm cautiously. Once you make the wrong move-that is a good thing because it is a mistake you will only make once because of the pain. I understand the VATS procedure has you back to yourself in hardly any time at all. You will have a spirometer to get your lung back in shape. Do use it, we all hate it, but do use it. Also drink lots of water and eat well. It is doable.

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi again. Information that I have researched indicates that VATS procedure is more expensive, mainly due to disposable instrument costs, but the benefits are great. VATS usually results in shorter operative time, and a shorter hospital stay. The shorter hospital stay is said to be about half, and that would probably result in overall lower cost. This is simply information I was able to find. It is NOT the definitive word on VAT.

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