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Coughing a lot

JReed's picture
JReed
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Did anyone experience a lot of coughing after surgery? Don has been coughing so much - he says it feels like phlegm in his throat that he cannot cough up (sometimes it is a productive cough) - it seems to be very bothersome and he has difficulty sleeping or napping because the coughing wakes him up.

We appreciate any input you might have.

Hugs and FEC,
Judy

Ginny_B's picture
Ginny_B
Posts: 537
Joined: Sep 2011

Mom had a severe cough, but not from surgery. Nothing relieved it. I have read previous posts about coughing post surgery. There's gunk in there I understand. I also remember that the coughing eased up after a couple of months. Get lots of soft hankies for him to use. At some point, he'll be able to cough up stuff.

Also, tell Don to hold a pillow to his chest/tummy and hug it before coughing. Mom had a cute little monkey stuffed animal that her granddaughter gave her and she used that, but then my puppy would fight her for the monkey so she switched to small travel pillows.

Hugs, dear!

JReed's picture
JReed
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks Ginny!

I'm sure there is some junk in there from surgery - he uses his spirometer quite often thinking tht will help. It may just have to go away on its own (sooner rather than later I hope). He does have a little pillow that he can use when he coughs and a box of tissues nearby. It's just so darned frustrating when it interferes with his sleep :(

Other than that issue, he is doing pretty well - maintaining his weight - it goes up and down a pound or two daily but stays pretty stable so I am thankful for that. He likes the wedge for the bed - I want to try it out - it's so soft.

You hang in there Ginny - I think of you all the time and pray for comfort and peace for you and your family. I imagine your mom with her family and friends up there in Heaven and then I think of her putting Lee and Eric in time-out LOL! If she is around those two, she has a fulltime job on her hands!

Love ya Ginny, FEC and hugs,
Judy

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1104
Joined: Apr 2010

Judy,

I had a cough for about a month and a half after surgery. I think it must be that the tissues in the throat get banged up from all the stuff that they stick down there during surgery and after.
I talked to my surgeon about it and he suggested over the counter cough suppressant. Lots of folks on the board have reported a post surgery cough so I guess it is pretty common.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
Two year survivor

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

JReed's picture
JReed
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Thank you all so much - seems like the coughing gig is part of the package sometimes. I will call the surgeon in the morning and see if there is something he can recommend. Don is getting very tired of this - to think that he would go through this another 5 or 6 weeks is enough to make me want to stock up my wine and liquor supplies for me to get through it! LOL

It is reassuring to know that others have gone through this too. It probably won't make him feel much better, but your advice about the cough suppressant seems like a 'should do' thing, so I'll take care of this.

Again, I cannot tell you pioneers just how much you mean to us. Your are truly earth angels for us!

I was so sad to read Heeran's mom's news and Lynn's post about her dad having some issues with oxygen levels and not able to come today. This cancer sucks big time.

Hugs and FEC,
Judy

paul61's picture
paul61
Posts: 1104
Joined: Apr 2010

Sorry Double Post GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

BobHaze's picture
BobHaze
Posts: 157
Joined: Sep 2011

Judy:

What a drag - as if recovering from surgery wasn't enough of a pain...

If you haven't already, I'd call the surgeon's office and discuss Don's coughing with them. I had a few problems in the first few weeks post-surgery, and whenever I called the surgeon either a Physician's Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner called me right back with suggestions and/or scripts. It seemed like there was nothing they hadn’t seen before and they were real helpful.

I was going to call Don today to commiserate, but it doesn’t sound like talking on the phone is high on his list of fun things to do! Please send me a PM or an email when you think it would be a good time – I’d really like to talk just to say Hi.

Thinking of you Don!

Bob
T1aN0M0
dx 8/3/11
MIE 9/23/11

sandy1943's picture
sandy1943
Posts: 883
Joined: Jun 2010

I coughed very bad, especially at night. Some was with a lot of phlegm and sometimes very thin liquid. The doctor thought I was aspirating a lot. It was in warm weather. I would sit close to a Ac vent or a fan and let it blow in my face. That helped with my breathing.The doctor prescribed a cough medicine which helped a little. I don't remember how long it lasted, but I had the IVor lewis surgery so it was extremely uncomfortable.

Ginny_B's picture
Ginny_B
Posts: 537
Joined: Sep 2011

I used to get up several times a night to give my mom a swig of cough syrup. We went through several different Rx to try to find something to alleviate the cough. None really seemed to work. I would give mom a 10mb Ambien at bedtime and it helped to get some sleep. If she'd wake up coughing she'd fall right back to sleep. She had bags of cough drops.

(Judy, take care of you too. You need emotional relief as well. I'll share a cyber glass of wine with you, dear!)

Donna70's picture
Donna70
Posts: 920
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Judy,
I had a lot of coughing, had the 3 incision surgery and brought up a lot of bubbly mucus and also vomited if the coughing got bad. I was taking pain killers for the broken ribs etc for about 2 months after surgery and that would help me sleep. I took the cough syrup that helps thin mucus, think it is guanefesin?, that helped. I am going to tell you one thing that is only a piece of advice and probably does not apply to Don. When I was still coughing 5 months after surgery and having lots of shortness of breath, it was found out that I had permanent lung damage from radiation and the surgery. This does not happen that often but just wanted you to know if you think it is more than the regular post surgery cough. It was also picked up on my CT scan about 3-4 months after. Hoping Don is just having the regular post surgery cough. One day at a time, one next step and hoping for a very speedy recovery!! take care,
Donna70

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

I coughed quite a bit for the first few weeks after surgery. coughing would interrupt my sleep and it hurt! Like I've said I carried a pillow with me pretty much everywhere and had one beside me at all times while home. I don't know what causes the coughing or why it seems to be a very common result of this type of surgery. If you talk to your surgeon maybe you could ask and enlighten the rest of us. My cough just kinda slowly faded away until one day it just dawned on me that I wasn't coughing any more. I hope that Don's cough goes away quickly and he will be able to rest better and not be plagued by it.

Glad that Don likes the wedge. It's worth every penny in my book.

Dave

monica_sss
Posts: 57
Joined: Dec 2011

with shortness of breath. She has her surgery last Wednesday.

Pappers
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

I know exactly what you mean. My husband when thru the same thing right after surgery. It nearly drove me crazy with worry. He was out walking and I just knew he had gotten pneumonia. We called the doctors and they said it was normal. It did finally get better but took a couple of months......I will "PRAY" for a full recovery for your husband and for your ability to cope with this. I know first hand what you are going thru. We are 5 months past surgery and looking at our first visit back with testing. I PRAY every day that all is well at that visit. This has been a very life altering ordeal for us as I'm sure it has for yall, as well.

Love and PRAYERS,

Pappers & Nana

Cora11's picture
Cora11
Posts: 177
Joined: Sep 2011

Judy, Keith too has coughed a lot and one explanation can be that secretions can get stuck in the back of the throat, or around the new anastamoses. Also, over time the coughing can persist due to the little ridge that forms at that site. Again, secretions can get stuck there. The other thing is that Don could for several months have a pleural effusion in his chest from the surgery and that can make you cough. So, try to ascertain if it feels like it is coming from way deep in the chest, or more an irritation higher up. When he sees the doctor, they'll likely do a chest X-ray on his follow-up to see what things look like.
Hope this helps,
Cora
;)

JReed's picture
JReed
Posts: 463
Joined: Nov 2011

Hi Jude:

I think they will do a chest x-ray when we go back on Tuesday. The good news is that Don is maintaining his weight rather well (still doing water through the feeding tube). It certainly sounds like the cough is from way deep in the chest - but with Don it is hard to tell as he has always been a 'strong' cougher. When he coughs normally, people look at him like "are you alright".

Hope you and hubby are doing well and can him over the dumping issues he has been having.

Thanks for giving us some possible reasons for this cough - we sure do appreciate it.

Hugs and FEC,
Judy

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Judy and Don
Hope this finds you both doing a little better. A cough is our bodies way of getting rid of stuff, but it is so gosh darn annoying! Especially at bed time. I would suggest mucinex dm....it comes in pill form as well as liquid. It contains an expectorant as well as a supressant. It helps to thin out the mucus, and helps get rid of that dry, tickle in your throat. A lot of people this time of year are taking it for the dry cough related to allergies. You can also raise up his head with pillows when he goes to bed. Laying flat, the sinuses drain into the throat, causing post nasal drip, which causes the cough.
Hope this helps! Other than the cough, congrats on doing so well! Keep up the good work, and remember Slow and Easy wins the race. Keep in touch. Another suggestion is to have him suck on throat lozenges, or chew gum during the day to keep his throat moist, also drink plenty of liquids. :)
Tina in Va

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