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Pneumonectomy ( Lung Removed )

indydorsey13
Posts: 38
Joined: Sep 2009

Husband had his Left Lung ( entire lung ) removed last Mon. Feb. 8th.... I would like to hear from ANYONE who has had personal experience with this lung surgery... He is discouraged at how short of breath he is... I remind him that it's only been 5 days, encourage him to walk a little, and do the breathing treatment / exercise.. He came home yesterday / 4 days after surgery.... I feel very bad for him that he has to go thru this, but I must admit that I am so VERY TIRED.... 5 months the hospital has been our second home as we were BOTH diagnosed with cancer Same week in Sept. EVIL....DISEASE

ljw1121
Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2009

I know from a partial removal of the lung that it takes a few months to start to feel like ur breathing smewhat normal. It took around 2-3mos and I still had the feeling of decreased breathing capacity. Increase exercise a little at a time and don't overdo it. Patience is hard but that's what it takes. It will get better.

DMP
Posts: 50
Joined: Dec 2009

Oh, Indy you and your husband are at the top of my prayer list tonight. I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself, had upper left lobe removed 2/9, and look what you are going through. Of course you are exhausted. It has to be so much harder to have an entire lung removed (and for him to only stay such a short time) Has his had drain tube removed yet? This thing can be discouraging. Mine is still in and hurts so much I cannot do breathing treatment. I keep being told each day will get better, I am sure you are being told same thing. Also, while in hospital I was able to hide a lot of my crying and fears there away from my family; at home there's nowhere to run if I even could! Maybe your hubby just needs to let it out. I am also wondering if the pain meds we are on are causing at least some of the depression? But can't get thru this without them. I don't have much advice about all this-found out it was cancer and had lobectomy same day-but I can be a good ear and good shoulder. What is going on with you? Know you are both in my thoughts and prayers-please let me know how you get on.

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

I lost half of my right lung in September 2009. I was in the hospital for 7 days. When I got home I could barely walk across the house, and I do not have a big house. Walking to the mailbox was even more challenging. I was so depressed, thinking I would never be the same again. I think a big part of my depression was the painkillers, but of course they were quite necessary at the time.

It has now been 5 months and I feel great!! I work out on my stair stepper and I take the stairs at work to my 8th floor office every day. I also walk several miles a day when the weather permits.

I'm sure it's harder to lose a whole lung but I truly believe he will get better with time. Please don't feel so discouraged, this is a temporarty situation.

And DMP, the same goes for you my friend. I know how awful it was when I was in the hospital feeling miserable, but there is healing. It might not be as fast as you want it to be but it will come, please keep the faith.

indydorsey13
Posts: 38
Joined: Sep 2009

PBJ Thanks for your encouragement !

indydorsey13
Posts: 38
Joined: Sep 2009

Yes, DMP, he had his tubes, ventilator, oxygen, eperderal, etc. all removed by day # 2.
This is certainly taking ALL his patience....always a VERY active man, and now just to walk to the bathroom makes him VERY short of breath... Only 6 days since his surgery.... I am encouraging him in everyway I can.. I try to not be over protective with him..I am very caring, and it's my personality to be a caregiver...( plus I love him & do NOT like seeing him go through all that he is going through ) Why do you still have your drain tubes ? I know there is a good reason, but I hate to hear that you are still having to go through that to... ( if I understood you correctly ) He does his breathing exercising and coughs up sometimes, but coughing is VERY painful..... I pray for you that you will see a lot of progress soon... Thanks for you mes.

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

Indy, I had drain tubes, epidural, catheter, etc for 5 days!! I was so glad when they finally took those out. Coughing was the most excrutiating pain I've ever known. It hurt so badly I would ask my family to leave the room because I didn't want them to see me in so much pain as I coughed. My doctor made it clear it's necessary to cough up stuff otherwise I could get pneumonia. But now I can cough normally with no pain. He might find yawning and sneezing to be tough too, as you must draw a deep breath when doing that.

It sounds like your husband is doing better than I did. His tubes were removed sooner and he wasn't hospitalized as long as I was. Maybe this means his recovery will be faster than mine? I certainly hope so. It sounds to me like he is making good progress and he's doing very well at this stage. I know it doesn't seem like it, but I do believe this.

If you feel it is appropriate please show him these posts, I pray it will provide him some hope.

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

When I was facing lung surgery, some friends of minelet me know that they were sure I'd be fine. They had a friend who was born with only one lung. He was into mountain climbing! My doctors all agreed with them that one lung IS sufficient for us to get enough oxygen to carry on activities. But it takes time to adjust to having less than two lungs. The meds they give us for surgery absolutely exhaust us too. The nurse told me that it takes 3 to 4 weeks for those things they give us for surgery to get out of the body. I had two major surgeries in less than 2 weeks and it was a month and a half before I felt like walking outside safely. She said that was normal and was as much due to the drugs I had during the operation as the changes in my body.

The surgeon also repeatedly urged me to do the breathing treatments. They are boring, discouraging, and I don't care for the aparatus. However, they prevent pneumonia, strengthen what's left, and they are exercise. I set mine near the computer (one thing I could do after my eyes were able to focus) and tried to make myself do it on a regular basis, like before I started in on another game of backgammon(one of my favorite timewasters).

Another thing that really helped me was that my mom took me to a nearby business mall where folks walked. It was totally flat, weather protected, and mostly empty. There were chairs around for when I gave out. I more or less shuffled the first few times. When I could walk a mile inside, I knew I was ready for outside. It took time, but my activity level did come back to normal.

The nurses had ways of dealing with shortness of breath while in bed (another problem I had at first). They yelled at me for crying (makes it much worse), told me to keep drinking (keeps mucus thinner and easier to cough up), prop myself to a slant while sleeping or sleep in a lazy-boy (helps with drainage), turn a fan on in my face (the breeze helps a bit so I flipped on my ceiling fan as needed), or open a window (couldn't do that now with the snow!).

While I was back to the gym mornings and working full time within a few months, I wasn't terribly happy with coughing. I wasn't involved enough at the time for the pneumonology oncologist, but my doctor mentioned something about going to see a pneumonologist. That doctor specializes in lung diseases, allergies, and such. They also have pneumonology rehab specialists. I went, they prescribed various concoctions to ease my breathing, and I got back to something I was happy with. The doctor reminds me from time to time that I am getting older and we all slow down with age. I'm in my early 50's and totally ignore that! Accepting slowing down doesn't sit well with me as long as my head is up and my feet are down.The yoga I have Friday's and the morning workouts the rest of the week are my structured rehab exercises. I'm facing the possibility of more surgery in the next few months (we hope that CAT scan was just a fluke, but it'll be what it'll be come April 2nd), and I know I will ask for formal rehab assistance if the above things don't cut it. That way I can get the expert's opinion of what exercises I need to do (no doubt more boring than yoga or Y workouts!). Good luck!

chris5613
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2010

A little excercise and alot of patience. That's what I keep hearing.
I don't even describe it as a 'shortness of breath', it is more of a struggle to breath.
And it gets tougher when the panic starts to play a part and I know I have to keep that in perspective as well. The med staff and people who have gone through it promise me it gets better. I believe that if it has gotten better for so many others it will for me as well.
Thanks for the post. I needed to see it as much as you had to post it.

Glenda N.
Posts: 13
Joined: Jun 2009

I also had my entire left lung removed on July 31, 2007. Mine had not spread. While in the hospital I had to take walks, with my husbands assistance, 2 times a day. I was extremely short of breath. I would have to stop & rest several times while walking down the hall. I continued to be short of breath for probably about 3 months. When my husband & I would go grocery shopping, once I entered the store I would have to stop & use my albuterol & wait until I could catch my breath & go on. My right lung has expanded, which is normal, so I do very well now. I can't do much housework without taking a break, but I can deal with that. I go to a exercise class 3 times a week for an hour each time. That has helped me tremendously. Just be patient & you should find that in time you will do a lot better.

yellow_rosez's picture
yellow_rosez
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2010

Today I was placed on a surgical schedule for removal of the lower lobe of my right lung due to a small adenocarcinoma. This will take place next Tuesday. The discovery of my cancer was a bit of a fluke and fortunate indeed to be very early! I have no symptoms and am in otherwise good health. Staging will have to wait for the visual examination of the lymph nodes. My lung function is very good and the doctor assures me that I will do very well.

Ah-ha... that's what the "doctor says"....

My point, brave people, is that I so appreciate having access to your comments and experiences. I always prefer to know what I "might" expect so that I can be prepared. You have helped me tremendously.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Joy

annie60
Posts: 56
Joined: Feb 2010

Give us an update on your Health. Is surg. over? How are you feeling?

CAK33
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2010

I have found this forum to be particularly informative and hope to get more information about others' experiences.

I was diagnosed with a carcinoid tumor on my left lung brochial airway, and told surgery was not an option. I went through 35 radiation treatments. I had 6 brochial cryosurgeries and 1 laser surgery, on the interior of the airway. Altho the thoracic surgeons thought a sleeve resection (cutting out a small slice of the airway where the tumor is and sewing the ends back together) was the best course, they have now concluded that the location of the tumor is too close to my aorta for that surgery. Option is to remove the left lung (the lower lobe has already collapsed due to the tumor blocking it).

I am concerned about many things but here are my top three:

How long can I expect to be in the hospital?
Will I be able to regain moderate activity without dragging around an oxygen tank?
What are my respnsibilities to aid in my recovery pre-surgery and post-surgery?

I would appreciate any information you can share.

jojobuck
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2010

I am a 50 yo female, past smoker of 30 years, quit 4 years ago. I had a very large non small cell tumor removed along with the whole lung. It has been a month since and I am finally starting to feel somewhat better. I was sent home from the hospital on day 5. I would have been released sooner but my heart went into afib - that happens to 1/4 of the patients who have a left lung removed because the heart has nothing over there to stabablize it. I am on heart meds for a couple months to keep my pulse down. My heart will go back to normal so they say. I was fortunate that my right lung is in pretty good shape and all my breathing tests were very good before the romoval of the tumor and lung. They removed my oxygen in the recovery room and I have no needed it since. I do get short of breath walking quickly, or doing small things but it will get better. When they removed the tumor they also removed a bunch of lymph nodes to test. 2 nodes closest to the tumor were positive and the rest were negative. I have to go to chemo and radiation to prevent it from returning. I am still on my pain meds, mostly at night. but still have slight pain all day. Use a incentive spirometer at least 10 times an hour while you are awake, it makes your breathing alot better. I had to ask for one, they did not give it, they forgot and it is very important.

Thomson
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2010

My husband had his left lung removed as well as a tumor removed from his pulmonary artery on April 20th. He was allowed home on the 29th April- seven nights ICU. He is still on pain meds and is taking meds for constipation. He is at present feeling depressed as he is constantly tired and feels very weak. He uses his spirometer and is able to walk outside once a day for max fifteen minutes. Is it normal for him to feel as tired and weak.
Any advice appreciated.
Hope you are feeling a bit better. Thanks.

cb girl's picture
cb girl
Posts: 56
Joined: May 2010

My husband was told that they wouldn't remove his eft lung because the tumor was close to the pulmonary artery,but I noticed in your post that not only did your husband have his lung removed, but a tumor removed from his pulmonary artery. I am very curious as to where your husband had his surgery if you are comfortable sharing this info. Hope you and he are feeling better everyday.

Thomson
Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2010

Sorry for taking so long to reply. My husband had his surgerys at UCLA Westwood, CA (Ronald Regan Building). Dr Richard Sheeman was the surgeon who worked on the tumor on his pulmonary artery and Dr Jay Lee was the surgeon who removed his left lung. Hope this helps.

jojobuck
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2010

i to had Adenocarcinoma but very large. how are you doing?

jojobuck
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2010

i to had Adenocarcinoma but very large. how are you doing?

n0hmadd
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2012

Its great to read post about a personal subject that I have lived with for almost 28 years, at the age of 26 I was Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lyphoma in My left Lung, The lung was getting close to collasping, so it had to be removed very quicky, fear that the cancer would spread to My vital organs.
Prior to My illness, I was very active in running and long distance bike riding, after the surgery and rehabilitaion, it was pretty devestating to know that I would never be able to perform athleticly like I once could, for many years I shut down and went into along period of depression, however after time taking long walks with My dogs in the park raised My spirits alot.
From time to time I would test the limits of My breathing by doing treadmills or just simply jogging for short distance, this was pretty discouraging due to the pain and recovery stressed upon My right lung.
Many of My friends are bike riding now, so last week I bought a road bike and giving it a go, its alot easier then running however there still is that long recovering time catching My breath, after 10 days I am not discouraged and have found that it is fun to be out on the road again riding.
Will keep ya updated on how this is going.

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