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Surgery

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

I am schedule for a partial lung removal and wonder if anyone has had this surgery?
What can I expect?

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

I had a lobectomy, which is the removal of one of the lobes of one of the lungs. In my case, they did a VATS procedure so that I ended up with a smiley face under my arm pit and a few scars on my side, and the process was painless then and has not bothered me since.

They told me I would not be able to run a marathon anymore, but I wasn't running marathons before the surgery, so I was cool with that. Had it not been for a staph infection, I would have been out in four days. Piece of cake.

The great news is that when they do that, they hope to remove the cancer entirely and get it out of you. I like that idea and would go for it every time.

As for what you can expect, in my experience you will probably spend a day/night in ICU, maybe two, and then be moved to a room. You are likely to have a couple of foot-long cylinders stuck in you, about half in, half out, (in your rib cage area) and they will be attached to a machine that monitors the junk that is coming out of your affected lung. This is all good, and doesn't really hurt, assuming you are receiving proper medication.

By day two at the latest, they will be asking you to take a couple or three or four walks a day. And you will.

You will do fine.

Take care,

Joe

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

I had the middle of my right lung removed about 2 1/2 years ago. The meds they gave me kept me pretty much pain free, though I was uncomfortable if I rolled on my right side for about a month or so after surgery. I was surprised at how many precautions they took to make sure they could take care of any emergency. I had lines everywhere when I came out of surgery! Several of them were just back-up in case of things that never happened. One thing I always have problems with after surgery is a side effect of pain meds. I needed at least one bottle of Phillips Milk of Magnesia to get things working again after all those lovely drugs. I stocked the fridge with lots of fruit and the shelf with some extra prunes also because of what I knew was coming. It took about a month after surgery before I could lift much more than a clipboard. Forget weeding the garden for a month or more! Do go to the mall or somewhere warm and safe and flat to go walking with someone. They won't let you drive until you are off the pain meds so get the friend to drive you. Take advantage of friends that want to help by assigning them weeks to make meals--two or three a week can give you a break so you can nap that first month or so. Canned soup and frozen dinners work okay too. If you smoke, quit now. You need all the breath you have to get back on your feet. Nicotine delays healing too because it negatively affects the circulatory system. The smoke will irritate your lungs too. You won't want to cough that first couple of weeks. Do plan to spend 20 minutes or so every day doing breathing exercises with weird looking devices. They really help strengthen your lungs even if they are rather weird looking devices. Those are just a few things I recall that you might expect to have happen to you. Good luck!
C. Abbott

Mawoni
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi miss mable. I had the upper right lobe removed in June this year.I can say that I didn't have the solid guidance you will find here at the discussion boards. I knew it would be a difficult surgery, and that recovery would be long. (I didn't have VATS ... I'm not sure I even understand what that is) What I didn't know could fill a few chapters of a book. My surgery started as a biopsy that turned out to be malignant, so the surgeon came back in and did the removal of the entire lobe (long incision under my R shoulderblade and two chest tubes). 4 weeks later I was starting chemotherapy. It is now December and I still struggle with a lot of surgery pain caused by (per my surgeon) ribs that haven't mended and nerves that haven't healed. Breathing is difficult and I constantly feel as though I have on a bra that is way way WAY too little around! Ha. I was in intensive care for 2 days and on the surgical ward for 4 more. Came home with pain meds and oxygen tanks. Got off the oxygen in late August. I am feeling ok, but not back to normal. I think docs should warn people that feeling the way you used to feel before the surgery and the chemo may not be in the cards. I had it in my head that I'd be doing all I always was able to do once I finished chemo, so I have dealt with a lot of disappointment and am trying to work through it one day at a time.

Relating to after surgery...One of the many things I found helpful was very soft very oversized t-shirts cut down the middle of the front. You may be surprised to find you can't use your surgery side arm in normal ways. Milestones for me were being able to cut my fingernails, being able to get into and out of the shower without assistance, the first time I was able to dry myself off after a shower, being able to lift a more than 1/2 full cup of coffee, being able to eat with my right hand. (Baby-steps, Dr Marvin.... Did you see that movie?)

With love and many uplifting prayers for you and your speedy recovery! M
(What date is your surgery?)

MadelynJoe's picture
MadelynJoe
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Miss Mable:

On May 9, 2005, during a routine physical, my physician found a 2.8 cm nodule in the lower lobe of my right lung. In June 2005, I had a lower right lobectomy utilizing the minimally invasive method. I did not experience any terrible pain. Some discomfort yes but, nothing I could not withstand with the morphine pump I had after surgery.

Beginning in August 2005, I had 2 adjuvant chemo treatments, 3 weeks apart, just to ensure no microscopic cancer cells remained in my body. Today I am over 3 1/2 years cancer free!

Today I feel great and can do just about anything I want. Don't despair, you can and will do well!

Best regards,

Madelyn

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

thank you all for the info and encouragement

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

I had VATS surgery 12 weeks ago. The worst was the constipation. Take your stool softener. I am back to work now but on light duty, for a while. My surgeon and team were great. It was easier than my gallbladder surgery 26 years ago, surprisingly. It sounds really scary but try not to worry about the surgery too much. Hope everything goes well for you and wishing you a speedy recovery

hanmarmax
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2008

Dear Miss Mable:

Hi, I had a lobectomy done the VATS way. I hope that is what you are having. I had it a year ago. I had my right middle lobe removed. It was o.k. Take your pain meds and keep track of not getting constipated(another problem you don't want to have to deal with.) I felt pretty good and was taking walks a few days later, then I started chemo and got a bad pain in my right shoulder. I finally figured out that my lung collapsed and had to go back in for a talc pleuradesis(they put talcum powder in your lung to scar and keep it inflated.) Well it worked! I finished chemo. I can tell you as of now. I year out. There is no residual pain. I feel great. You do feel some pain for a few months. It took 10 months to feel myself again. I had massages a few months out and they really worked on my scar tissue and released the pain. Any more questions keep asking. Have you had your surgery?

Lisa

Mawoni
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi Lisa ... your post gave me some hope back. I am just six months post surgery and still having enough pain that I just lay around most of the time trying to "nurse my wounds". You saying it took you about 10 months to feel yourself again was just what I needed to hear!
Thanks and Merry Christmas! maw

hanmarmax
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2008

Dear Maw:

You know I actually starting moving my arm over my head a few months out and it released my pain funnily enough. I hadn't lifted my arm over my head b/c I guess I was scared or hadn't thought of it. So try stretching your arm over your head. Also, stand in a doorway and kind of walk through but put your arm on the doorjam like you're stretching. Does that make sense? Bend your elbow, but have your body go through. Believe me my surgeon didn't suggest anything post surgery. Felt like I was on my own. Have to go, but I'll get back to you.

Happy New Year!
Lisa

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

Had surgery the 15th. Am home an progressing daily

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

I'm glad the surgery is over and you are home again. I remember wondering if I would ever get my strength back and get back to anything close to normal. It took awhile, but soon I was back to work and a little later back to the gym 5 days a week. Take your pain pills and take it easy at first. Little meals will sit better than the holiday feasts. (I didn't even care for the smell of food cooking the first week or so after getting home!). The thing that helped me recover fastest I think was my mom taking me to the mall to go walk. Stay warm and let folks spoil you for awhile. You will be better soon!

C. Abbott

Mawoni
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2008

So glad to hear you're doing ok! Hope you have a speedy recovery. Will you be having chemo? Have they told you what kind of cancer it is &/or the stage?
Sending prayers and hugs ... maw

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

I hope your recovery is quick with as little pain as possible. You didn' say what lobe they were taking out or any other details. Good advice take the pain meds. I also found that a recliner chair was easier than bed at first. Good luck and Happy Holidays.

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

My cancer was non small cell lung cancer in the right lung.They removed the whole lung.
I am feeling much better than I had expected. I am still sore but no constant pain. I do take a pain pill before bed then just Advil during the day.It hurts to cough and am dreading the first sneeze.Ha!

hanmarmax
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2008

Dear Miss Mable:

It progressively gets better. You'll feel better!

Lisa

Mawoni
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi Miss Mable ... Two weeks post surgery now, huh? You are amazing! So glad you are getting by with Advil during the day. That's wonderful! Did you have VATS?
Be sure and stay hydrated and get in some walking when you can. Both very important. And very important that you avoid people who may have colds or flu.
Prayers for your speedy recovery .... Maw

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

No I did not have VATS. I did take a paain pill about 4 o'clock yesterday and again at 9:30
so I could get a good nights sleep, and it worked.
Mawoni, thanks for the encouragement and advice, I will up my water intake.

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

It sounds like you are doing great! They warned me several times at the hospital to try to stay ahead of the pain as much as possible. Don't be afraid to take the medicine they give you. If it causes any negative effects (loss of appetite, constipation), call your surgeon's team for advice. The nurses have heard it all and can tell you just what to do. Or you can check in here from some folks who have been there and can give their suggestions. Being in less pain usually means that you can be somewhat more mobile. Walking around the house until you can walk around the neighborhood is definately a step in the right direction. Mind you, if it is as cold where you are as it is where I live (Delaware), you need to stick with somewhere heated and inside. If it is too cold for a walk outside when you are ready for more than the length of your residence, a treadmill on very slow with the safety tag attached to your shirt isn't a bad idea. I was lucky enough to live near a near empty mall with benches for walkers like me that needed a flat protected place to stroll. The senior citizens in their 90's were lapping me like crazy at first but after a few weeks I could (almost!) keep up with them. Oh well, progress comes eventually! Just keep doing what you can and soon you will be able to do more.

They told me to stay hydrated too. If you get tired of water, you can flavor water with a little juice, try different kinds of teas, sip on hot bullion or chicken noodle soup with lots of broth, all that stuff. Your stitches won't pop if you cough, but it doesn't feel so good to say the least. Sometimes hugging a pillow, sitting up or bending over, pushing on your side,giving myself a two armed bear hug,or getting in a warm shower helped some when I just had to cough. The nurse told me to open a window or put a fan in my face if I felt short of breath. Oh, and stop crying. I had trouble doing that but she was rather no-nonsense about the fact that I couldn't give in to my tears even though I couldn't catch my breath and felt lousy. I was losing it and she practically came at me over the phone to quit it! It was the right thing for her to do though. Apparently crying makes coughing and breathing that much worse. Squishing clay, writing in a journal, or doing crafts were better stress relievers than crying. Good luck! I pray that your recovery goes well.

C. Abbott

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi C.Abbott,

I think I am recovering well. My breathing is much better and the pain when I move and cough is not as severe. I have been taking Percocet but that really makes me groggy. So now I am able to take advil during the day and Hydocodone at bedtime.
We got a copy of the pathology report yesterday and it
has a lot of negatives on it, of course,
there is a lot we don't understand.I'm still preparing for the worse and hoping for the best.
I will post what I find out at from the Oncologist Tues.
Happy New Year to everyone and I hope we all get lots of good news this year.

LOVE Miss Mable

CHG
Posts: 34
Joined: Jan 2005

Hi Miss Mable,
It is good to hear that your recovery is coming along well. I had an upper right lobectomy three years ago. I did not have the VATS surgery. My surgeon removed my upper right lobe, twenty lymph nodes and one rib bone. Pathology was negative for all specimens and all margins were clean. I learned to take Alleve pain pills because the stonger stuff constipated me badly. I also drank fruit juices and water during the day. I had two cycles of adjuvant chem (taxol/carboplatin) after my surgery and I have had clean scans since. I still feel some numbness on my right side and I guess that will always be with me. I am very grateful to God, my doctors, family and friends.
Carol

bartswife88
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

you posted this in november and i was just curious how your surgery went

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

I had my surgery Dec. 15th and all went well. Had some pain but it was controlled with pain meds. Also had fluid build-up in left lung they removed the whole right lung. I did not have chest tubes so they suction the fluid and then I could deep cough and felt aa 100% better.
My breathing is much much better.
I just had my first of 4 Chemo treatments this past Thurs. Today I am feeling tired and my legs feel like I have run a marathon, a little nausea but not bad. I am taking Emend for nausea and Dexamethesone twice a day to combat side affects. So far so go. Now I look forward to my next treatment in 3 weeks.Ha! Then only 2 to go.
I am not noticing any after affects from the surgery.
I am trying to stay positive and doing my breathing exercises because I want to play tennis again.

miss kathy
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2009

I did not end up with lung cancer but had to have my right middle lobe removed. I had pnemonia three times before this and it also colapsed. When they took it out it was black and hard and full of pus. They also took out a wedge of the upper lobe because of two tumors. When I woke up I was in extreme pain even though I had an epidoral and morphine pills. I was hooked up with two chest tubes and some other machines. I was in ICU for three days and entire hospital stay of 12 days. I have had to take oxycodone for about six months and I have had to take hydrocodene to sleep at night for the last three months. Sometimes I feel like someone has kicked me in the rib. I understand it may be due to the fact that they had to take out one of my ribs to get to the lung. I am glad to hear that everyone has had a better time at recovery than what I have experienced.

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

Am not feeling well at all today or yesterday. This is the fifth day after my treatment. Am having stomach pains and very light headed. Started taking Peptobismol yesterday has helped some. I think the Dexamethesone is doing something to my stomach. Am trying to eat and drink more. Does anyone have any suggestions that may offer me some relief?

Mawoni
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi Miss Mable ... You need to call your Oncologist and tell him/her about what you are experiencing. Do this right away. Unfortunately a lot of the drugs they give us are NOT one size fits all and can do more harm than good! My Oncologist was very good about wanting to know every little detail of how I was feeling .. even the things that I didn't think were related.
Hang in there and keep trying to eat and get plenty of fluids. If you find you just can't make yourself eat, get some Ensure or Boost and drink lots of it. You need to work hard at boosting your damaged immune system now. Chemo really does a number on our bodies.
Hugs .. Deb (Maw)

miss mable
Posts: 12
Joined: Nov 2008

Thanks Mawoni!
I did call the Dr. and went in yesterday. Am having a re-action to the Cisplatin. Had an IV yesterday, one today and one tomorrow. My blood pressure dropped to 80 over 50 before we could get to the Dr.'s. They are going to try a different Chemo next treatment.
I am feeling better but still not good. Am having sharp stinging pains and my stomach feels like I have been punched. On a good note my blood pressue is up to 129 over 62 so I can stand up without passing out.
After the IV today we even went to McDonalds and I got a fish sandwich.Ha! That seems to be my favorite food now. Also got some Boost, I really need some energy.
Thanks,Dorothy (Miss Mable)

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