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catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

Anybody have adenocarcinoma of the lower right lung? Scheduled for vats surgery on 9/10/08. How bad is the surgery? They feel they caught it very early. But won't know for sure until after surgery.

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear catcon49,

I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (with BAC tendencies) of the right middle lung. Maybe that's not exactly what you have, but it's fairly close. I had a VATS surgery to see what I had two years ago. Um, they didn't know mine was adenocarcinoma of the lung when they did that operation, so yours truly got a modified VATS less than two weeks after the first procedure. This won't happen to you, unless you happen to be a breast cancer survivor who just happened to have adenocarcinoma of the breast before getting lung cancer...it's a long story. In any case, the first VATS procedure wasn't all that bad. The incisions could have almost been covered by large bandaids. I had no idea that they could take out part of my lung and the rest would still work. It did. I worried that I would wake up in intensive care-a possibility if the whole lung is removed-however, I didn't need that. I was not really in any pain thanks to some wonderful drugs, though at times I was uncomfortable. The nurse would bring pills from time to time that took care of the pain problem. I did not want to roll on my sore side! That made sleeping somewhat more difficult. I was very weak when I first woke up. I couldn't believe how much effort it took just to walk to the chair in my room next to the bed! But after a day or two, I was slowly walking around the entire floor and nurse's station. My mom walked me around a mall when I went home so that I could exercise on a flat, protected, climate controlled area. It is very important not to overdo it when you come home. When they say no lifting they mean it. Also, after you have lung surgery, you are the one who has to stay inside during smog alerts and such! Before I went in to have the second VATS procedure done, I was able to jog short distances. The second operation took a lot longer to recover from. It seemed to take weeks just till I could walk steadily at a moderate pace. My incisions were longer for that one too, so hope they get it all the first time around for you! If you have never had surgery before, be aware that many pain meds are constipating. Get some Phillips Milk of Magnesia for your medicine cabinet before you need it! For whatever reason, the smell of food was the opposite of comforting to me when I got home. The nurse said it had to do with the anesthesia they used. Frozen dinners or meals brought in helped a lot. I didn't want to eat much anyhow. Eventually I recovered completely, though I still have occasional coughing spells. This site is great if you had any questions that need answers. Please keep us updated! Cancer is scary enough without having to face it alone.

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

I have to go for an MRI today of the brain. Just to make sure there isn't any metatasis. I'm lucky I only live 2 hrs from University of Penn that is where my surgery is going to be, one of the top 10 hospitals in nation. I have had major surgery before, gallbladder surgery 17 years ago, not laproscoptic. They cut me open I have a 8 - 10 inch scar. This is all new to me. I am scared I lost a friend to lung cancer 2 years ago. She was dx on 2/28/07 died 3/30/07. She never saw a doctor. I can't look at my co workers because they all look so worried. I feel like they think I am going to die. I am not a big girl, but I am a fighter. My husband has been great, but I know he is scared also. Will I be able to go up and down steps after the surgery my home is bi level? or should I make arrangements to stay somewhere all on one floor? Will I be able to return to work or should I think about early retirement or disability social security? This really helps ease my anxiety having people who have been through this.

Loudon143
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2008

Hello...
I am new to this site and I can tell you that people here helped me validate all my feelings and how to get through my day.
Last month on this date I had a lobectomy. They took the lower lobe of my left lung w/c had the tumor. Adenocarcinoma Stage 1B.
Last Monday I saw the oncologist and she told me that I don't need any further treatment but I have to be monitored every 3 or 6 mos. (Ct Scans, x-rays...)
Getting ready to go back to work on Monday. Live by myself. Kids all grown up.
This is also very new to me and still coping with the shock that I did have cancer.
My goal now is to get better and go on with my life.
Best of luck to you,
Nell

Irene2003
Posts: 7
Joined: Apr 2008

Loudon,
I had Lung cancer stage 1B two years ago. My Ongologist told me the same as your Ongologist told you and my cancer came back after 8 monoths. I regard a lot that I didn't take the chemo. I have a friend that had a stage 2 Lung cancer. She took the chemo and she is free of cancer for almost two years already. I suggest you to have consult with other doctor to got more opinion.

Loudon143
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2008

Thanks for your info.
Actually, 2 doctors already told me that I don't need chemo but after I read your comment, I will talk to them again. If you don't mind my asking, did the cancer went back to your lungs or a diff part of your body?
Nell

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

How was the surgery I am scheduled for 9/10. Alot of people feel you should get chemo anyway. I didn't get that far yet.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I had VATS lobectomy of lowest right lobe on Jan 31 of this year. In my case, the surgery was a breeze, although some issues not related to cancer occurred that kept me in for awhile longer than I anticipated.

I would have been out of the hospital and at home in four days, maybe five, without the complication, and I can honestly say that pain was minimal with respect to the surgery. Since I consider myself allergic to pain, that is saying something.

For me, the hardest thing was downing the hard plastic tube they stick down your trachea prior to surgery, at least some of that due to previous head/neck cancer surgery. Otherwise, again, a veritable breeze.

In my case, my oncologist recommended chemotherapy following the surgery, once I was up for it. Again in my case, the treatment consisted of four 'cycles', each cycle consisting of three weeks 'on', getting one weekly dose of chemo, followed by one week 'off'. The first of the three 'on' days included both carboplatin and taxol. The following two were 'only' carboplatin.

Some of my friends on this site have indicated that this combination was tough on them, but to this day I have experienced very little discomfort from the particular 'cocktail' being provided. I HAVE seen someone have a fairly nasty reaction to carboplatin, but I have had no problems with it.

Please be advised that my oncologist recommended the chemo as a preventive measure (hopefully) and I jumped on that. I believe we need to be pro-active and aggressive, although I play hookie on the treatment every chance I get ( :) ), and so I am with that program, which will be over within the next month.

The reasoning here is that even though the lobectomy hopefully took out all of the cancer, cancer is a rather sneaky thing, and it doesn't hurt to take the extra measures to kill any strays if they are out there. I concur with that.

I am getting a CAT scan next week, and OncoMan indicated he expects 'nothing to show up'. Wish I was as confident as him ( :) ). But, I almost am.

Best wishes with your surgery! Please keep us posted, and welcome to survivorship. It is not the end of the world but the beginning of a new one, for sure.

Take care,

Joe

Loudon143
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2008

At first they tried VAT but they end up opening my left side. They will give you epidural for the pain. One of the pain killers they gave me is the one that you can control by pushing the button every 15 min. I don't like pain but my will power to get out of the hospital kept me endure the pain :) I was confined for 5 days at Stanford Hospital.
Dr. gave me 2 more weeks before I can go back to work. I am back to do my morning walks with my Ipod. Still trying to get rid of my cough everytime I talk. Still trying to tell myself to slow done and re-evaluate life.

Best of luck to you.

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

Thanks I need all the encouragement I can get and stories of survivors. In case I didn't mention I have to go for a biopsy today. Thyroid. Don't know what is going on there. What was your PET Scan suv on the lung? and did they give you a CEA blood test if so what was the score?

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

I moved rather slowly and deliberately the first few days after surgery while I was in the hospital. My thoracic surgeon told me he had one patient who went home and played tennis the next day. It took me about a week before I felt like jogging and then not very far at a time. I still was surprised that I could even walk fairly normally a week after. I guess I thought I was going to be bed bound or in a wheel chair after losing part of a lung. The rehab lady had me go up three steps in the hospital. They weren't hard at all after the first VATS procedure. Once I got home I was not supposed to drive (a real bummer) til I met with the surgeon about two weeks after surgery. That was partly because of the long lasting effects of anesthesia, not just the surgery and stitches. They definately wanted me off the pain peills before I started driving. I know what you mean by the funny looks I got from coworkers. I have learned from watching that my coworkers worry a lot when they hear the word cancer. All they know is that people die from this disease. That is all I knew when I was first diagnosed. Boy, did I have a lot to learn! I have since met lots and lots of cancer survivors. They too have been diagnosed with cancer of various types. They were caught early, had surgery, sometimes chemo or other treatments, and made their doctor appointments. For most of them, including me, cancer is like a chronic disease that you LIVE with, rather than a death sentence. Yes, some of the battles are a drag and even scary at times, but mostly life is normal with interruptions here and there to take care of the cancer situation. It helped when I was up front with others about what I was facing and how I was doing. (Of course, it helped too that I was caught with an early stage, nonaggressive cancer both times. None of us get a choice about what kind of cancer we have and I just got lucky twice.) Having faced breast cancer a few years before, I knew that my coworkers would go crazy with flowers, dinners, and stuff like that. All that stuff made me feel like I was at a funeral. I didn't like it at all. The second time around I made it as clear as I could that I didn't want more than one bouquet of flowers from work and I didn't need a ton of food and no more cards! They made it equally clear that they were going to give me stuff whether I wanted it or not! They are a scappy group. We ended up settling on gift cards to local restaurants that made it easier for me to feed my family and saved me from doing the dishes at the end of the work day. I wanted to be totally independant, but because I had two surgeries in two weeks, I admit that I really needed the extra help, especially after I returned to work. I could get through the work day, but I was wiped when I went home. You will need some extra dinners in the freezer too, but two weeks of dinners should be plenty if you have only one VATS surgery. Good luck with the thyroid test!

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

Thyroid test came back negative for cancer.

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

YEAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing the good news!

C. Abbott

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

YEAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing the good news!

C. Abbott

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

Yeah, now if I can get to the surgery without a break down. I thought the dr. said she would take out the lower section of my right lung, now I don't know if she said the middle also? Thank god the dr. is a god send to me she gave me her email address and answers my questions within a couple of hours.

Do you know if there is a better part to get lung cancer in? Not better but upper lobes or lower or doesn't it make a difference.

What did you change in your life after cancer that you feel gave you the best chance for survival?

Loudon143
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2008

For me, it happened so fast that I did not have time to think things over. All I know is my doctor wanted to take the tumor as soon as possible.
Surgery was not bad bec you won't feel it :) It's when they wake you up in the recovery room. The Med Team will help to make you comfortable but it's still yourself that will help you. Choices. I need to be strong so I can go home, get well so I can move on with my life...
Well, 5 weeks after the surgery I already make changes with my life. I bought books like Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do by Greg Anderson and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I walk every morning, record food that I ate daily so I can monitor my intake of natural vitamins to fight cancer. I live everyday like it's my last. Support is very important. That's why I joined the American Cancer Society.
Good Luck and God Bless,
Nell

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

Had surgery on Wednesday, came home on sunday. Now I have to wait for final pathologist report. till next week. I know I am impatient but I can't help it. What happens next? anybody know?

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Congratulations on making it through surgery. It sounds like you must have had the VATS procedure to come home so soon and already be up and typing. Right now you need to rest and recuperate. Take those orders not to lift anything seriously! You don't want to pop any stitches after all the work the surgeon took to put them in! Avoid getting colds and infections. That means lots of hand washing when you can't avoid crowds and sneezers, but for me it meant I had to give up taking care of the two's and three's at church (too many of them carried strep). On hot days, stay inside with the AC on. You are now part of the crowd with compromised lung function along with the elderly and kids with asthma. I don't know about you, but that bit when I realized that I had to restrict some of my previous activities. But exercise is still very much on my list. Right after lung surgery, my mom took me to the local mall to walk and recover my strength. It took awhile, but when I could walk the mall quickly and keep up with her, I knew I would be able to take the hills outside, at least when it wasn't too hot. When I got the okay from the surgeon a few months later, I went back to the gym. By winter, I was ready to go skiing. The following summer I went kayaking and body surfing. I'm no athlete, but I love doing stuff. Lung surgery requires some life changes, but exercise is not something you have to eliminate. In fact, keeping strong helps you fight cancer as well or better than some of the medicines that are out there. Exercise can keep your bones strong which lowers the chance cancer will spread to your bones. Exercise also strengthens your immune system which can reduce the number of messed up cells that can turn into cancer. So one thing that you can do next is get back in shape. Just remember to take it easy and don't do more than your doctor suggests is okay, especially at first.

As far as the medical scene goes, the next thing to happen will be checking back with your surgeon to make sure you are healed. Then he will probably refer you to a pulmonary oncologist or a general oncologist if the specialist does not exist in your area. A specialist in lung cancer would be better so that you get the latest opinions of what works for your particular kind of cancer. Either expert will read your report and let you know if you should probably have chemo or if you are not a candidate at this time. Not everyone gets chemo. I had stage 1a adenocarcinoma of the lung with BAC tendencies and they sent me home and told me I was too healthy for them to deal with. I still saw the surgeon: every three months with a CAT scan for the first year, a CAT scan flipped with an Xray every 6 months for the next two years, and then I will have yearly checks with either the surgeon or my primary care physcian. I may go for a chest xray for life should I be so lucky, but right now I'm just finished with year two.If you are having breathing problems (common after lung surgery), they may suggest you consult a pulmonologist. I had a clear Xray last month but I still have a bit of a niggly cough that won't go away, so I'm finally getting around to seeing the pulmonologist. Apparently that is who helps with breathing problems, not that mine are so much of a problem as just an annoyance. If your cancer is localized and now out, you won't need to deal with radiologists. If surgery complications show up, there may be other specialists you have to deal with, but mostly right now, seeing your surgeon and then the oncologist is up next. Good luck!

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

what to do about constipation? tried everything

Greggriggs's picture
Greggriggs
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

Boy that is a tough one .
It was so bad I thought I would have to dig it out with a spoon.
try the beneful tabs an Philips.
Hope that works for you cause that is a miserable son of a gun.
you could also try fleet enama.
I had a complete lung removed left side an I am still kickin after two an a half years they were not all fun an still aren't
There are times I realy miss the old Me mostly for my Family.
You know warm prune juice is good also .
Golly listhen to me !!!
Hope every thing goes good with the path reports .
You are in my prayers .
Greg

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

finally I got the constipation thing under control 5 weeks later. Cancer type is T1a nomo. Adenocarcinoma. no met no lymphnodes involved. They said no chemo or radiation. I don't know what to make of this, but it makes sense that if the cancer was in that part of the lung and that lobe is gone what would they give me chemo for. I know it can come back in another area of the lung or body. I don't know what to think. Any body with any thoughts out there.

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

That is really great news! I checked up on T1a when that was the diagnosis I got. Usually no chemo is recommended for that level. That is because surgery has a great chance of being sufficient at that level. If it comes back in another part of the lung, they can do more surgery if your lungs can manage it. If not, they can discuss whether chemo or something else that might work to stop or slow down the cancer. If it somewhere else in the body, you are dealing with stage 4 cancer and chemo and maybe radiation are usually used. Hopefully you will not have to go there, but many of my friends from this website can share how chemo and radiation are helping them survive cancer in spite of a stage 4 diagnosis. The doctors will keep a very close watch on you especially over the next two or three years. My surgeon warned me that I would continue to see him for probably 8 years because sometimes my kind of cancer can take that long to show up. That's if it ever does show up again. He doesn't want to take chances and neither do I. So I will make my appointments and get all my CAT scans done as scheduled. But the rest of the time I'm making plans for Thanksgiving with my family, skiing this winter, buying a new car, and ...well, you get the picture. Cancer happened, but it isn't all there is of me. The doctors worked hard to get me well enough to go do all that other stuff. So don't worry too much about cancer coming back and what you'll do then. That's what the doctors get paid to do. Thanks again for sharing your great news!

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 388
Joined: Aug 2008

I was wondering, it will be 9 weeks since my vats surgery. My right breast is still sore underneath my back muscles are still weak. I also have a little shortness of breath after some activity. I am walking the mall (it's a small mall under 1 mile) 3 times twice a day. I also start very small exercise at curves. My doctor released me for work on 11/10/08, but my work is giving me a hard time about my restrictions that I have they say they have no light duty work for me. I have a very strenuious (?) job at the Post Office. My sick leave and vacation time are all used up. I have to use my right arm constantly to sort mail. This is one of my restrictions. Did anyone run into any of this at work?

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

It takes a while to recover from major surgery. You don't want to over-do things by attempting too much too soon. It will take longer to recover if you have a set-back. Getting part of a lung removed is mighty major, even if it is a VATS procedure and you did well. I know I was "guarding" my right side through the end of October and my operation was during the first part of August. By the following summer I was feeling a whole lot better. Right now (two years later) you would never know I had part of my right lung removed (well, unless you saw me in a bathing suit. I have a couple of interesting scars in various places and they haven't disappeared completely). Anyhow, I had an job that didn't involve much lifting or carrying. Yours does. I may have recovered slower because I had two back to back surgeries before my lobe was completely removed, but it will still take a while for your stitches to heal. You will know you are over-doing things if they hurt. I tried pulling up a weed in my garden a month after surgery. One yank and I knew without a doubt that it was a very bad idea to proceed. Now I can yank as much as I want. (Too bad that isn't as often as I have weeds. But I digress.) You might consider calling your local American Cancer Society and ask what the disability laws are that might protect your job while you are recovering. A good lawyer in the field of disability could also explain what you could do, but lawyers sometimes cost a bunch. It would be great if they could move you to a position where you do something that didn't involve any lifting or carrying. Can you learn to use your left hand to sort the mail? Are there any machines or lifts you could use so that you could sort mail without using your right arm? The same laws that protect the handicapped protect folks with cancer, but they do need to get the job done. Think outside the box and see what might work. Good luck!

C. Abbott

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