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Few questions on recovery process

katenorwood
Posts: 1808
Joined: May 2012

Hey everyone,
I recently had a Vats/Wedge resect of the lower right lobe. Lots of pain...which was expected...but spitting up blood wasn't expected. I now know this is pretty standard with this type of surgery. I'm on O2 for now...will be getting PT w/lung specialist in my home. What is lenghth of time for recovery on this ? I know we are all different...but any info would be helpful at this point to give me a bit of hope this surgical pain will lessen. Thanks for any info.....Katie

dennycee
Posts: 647
Joined: Mar 2011

Had a VATS to do a pericardial window and possible talc so I will answer as best I can. I had tube inserted to drain pleural effusion which remained in for a month. So my recovery took about two months or so. I have read that sleeping in a recliner is easier than lying flat and that you should keep a pillow handy to hold over your incision if you have to cough or sneeze.

PT is a wonderful thing. Take full advantage of it and you will heal faster. During Tthe month the tube was between my lungs it was painful to raise my arm straight out. By the time PT finished I had full range of motion back.

Expect that there may be some long range nerve pain. It is manageable and can be controlled with gabapentin.

katenorwood
Posts: 1808
Joined: May 2012

I am using a recliner for sleep. (hopefully short stint) I use a neb to keep the airways open.....wet icky cough. Phlemn is better....not as bright red. I thank you both for the information. Katie

ccfighter
Posts: 364
Joined: Jan 2012

I just had a wedge resection via vats for a metastatic nodule in my upper right lung.  The chest tube hurt the most but I only had that in for about 24 hours.  I also have an onQ catheter in my chest that keeps everything numb for 6 days. The biggest  pain from this is that my throat is very sore and scrapped up from the breathing tube during surgery.  It's hard to eat.  good luck to you all.  I continue to pray for a cure for us all.

katenorwood
Posts: 1808
Joined: May 2012

Hello ccfighter,

Yes I agree a cure would be excellant !  I had my chest tube pulled 24 hrs after procedure...and than my cath for pain...just before I left the hospital.  I was in hosp. for 4 days.  Removing both helped with the pain, but still have a pull (very painful) when I stand from a sit down position.  Crazy.  I actually feel better today...so yeap there is a light at the end of the tunnel !  Happy Holidays sent everyones way !   Katie

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ToBeGolden
Posts: 697
Joined: Aug 2010

Glad you made it thru the surgery and the initial stages of recovery. It seems anything in the chest cavitiy is painful. Being in the hospital for only 4 days seems like a remarkably good case of healing. I guess even the fact that you were a bit uncomfortable is actually a good sign; in the sense that you could be so medicated that you wouldn't notice any discomfort. I don't know if I will have chest/lung surgery in my future. Will keep you posted. Rick.

katenorwood
Posts: 1808
Joined: May 2012

You know me and my attitude...get 'er done and get home !  Lot's better today.  Still coughing but no more blood with it.  I think we'll both do just fine with this crap.  I'm watching out for you too and if I hear anything different on mets I'll pass it along.  Thanks Rick.....and let's both have a fantastic New Year !   Katie

ccfighter
Posts: 364
Joined: Jan 2012

I too am quite confused about this vats wedge resection.  My pain is getting worse not better.  I only coughed up a little blood the day after surgery.  The night before last my rib cage on the side hurt so bad I did not sleep at all but just laid in bed and cried.  Diladid did not touch the pain.  When I woke the next day I was running a feverof 101.  I called my thoracic surgeonwho said this is par for the course and surgery on the chest is just a lot more painful than other surgeries.  I can no longer take adeep breath without terrible pain.  My fever has come down some to 99 but my ribs still hurt a lot.  Can barely use my arm on that side.  How long does this last?!

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

How long ago did you have the surgery?  This surgery is indeed very painful and I think you need better pain management.  Sometimes you must stand your ground and don't let them tell you this is par for the course.  This is especially true if you are female because some docs think you are being a whiner, at least that was the feeling I got when I complained.  If you are in that much pain and you need stronger meds then stand your ground and demand it.  Good luck, pardon the cliche but I feel your pain. (or at least I did after my surgery)

Pam

katenorwood
Posts: 1808
Joined: May 2012

I was also given a tube thingy to suck air out of to make me cough.....yes hurts like the dickens !  But if you are running a temp....not normal.  I would recall that doctor.  I also am using a muscle relaxant (flexeril) 2x's a day for that pulling sensation I'm getting.  Oh my sometimes it's unbearable.  But after 2 weeks almost I'm doing fairly well.  Still moving slow.....and yes I promise Pam not to lift 10lbs for quite awhile.  I over did one day and paid for it for two.  Thanks for all the advice !  And ccfighter keep asking the questions !  Maybe we can pull each other through this hunh ?    Katie 

ccfighter
Posts: 364
Joined: Jan 2012

Thank you Katie and Pam.  I had a follow up appointment with a NP from my gyn/onc office for my abdominal surgery.  I told her of the pain and fever I was having in my ribs where the chest tube hole was trying to heal.  She felt a large lump under the wound and thought that the redness around it was a bit concerning and so prescribed me an antibiotic.  This has helped me immensely.  I still have some pain and tenderness when pressure is applied or I take a deep breath but nothing to the degree I was previously experiencing.  So...working through this ok now.  I hope that you are healing well Katie.  Keep us updated. Hugs to all.  Happy new year!  Praying for a better year in health than the last.  

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

I did not have VATS so this might not be a fair comparison but my experience was the recovery was much longer than I had hoped. I went back to work a month after the surgery but I felt very tired all the time and it took about 2-3 months before I could walk very far without huffing and puffing. I have a desk job but if my job had required walking or lifting there is no way I would have gone back so soon.

There was a lot more pain than expected and I took hydrocodone for about 6 weeks after the surgery, however I started tapering off in week 4 and by week 6 I was using ibuprophen only. Don't worry too much if it takes longer than expected. As you already mentioned it is different for everyone so give yourself as much time as you need. Also don't lift anything weighing more than 10 pounds in the near future.

In case it matters I had an upper right lobectomy.

Good luck with your recovery and keep reminding yourself, there is life after lobectomy.

Pam

katenorwood
Posts: 1808
Joined: May 2012

Wanted to let everyone know my lung spot (tumor) was beneign !  Not cancer in that lung !  I will still post on this site as I will be watching other areas of both of my lungs for years to come.  Mine of coarse would be mets not LC as such.  But I am so thrilled !  They thought for sure it was going to be bad news.  2013 is starting out pretty darn awesome !   Katie

ccfighter
Posts: 364
Joined: Jan 2012

Yea!  So happy for you.  That is awesome news.  Good way to start the new year!  Stay healthy!

dennycee
Posts: 647
Joined: Mar 2011

What a fabulous way to start the new year.  Congrats!

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ToBeGolden
Posts: 697
Joined: Aug 2010

Absolutely the best of news. Couldn't be happier for you. Be sure to visit this board from time to time. Good news is always needed. Rick.

debpaille
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Pam..I also had right upper lobectomy on October 30th....I stayed in hosp. for 5 days. I had Bronchoalveolar.....was wondering when you had yours done and how was the recovery?  I have a cough and wheezing, doctor said everything sounded clear. However now the cough is so bad im heaving because of it....

Good luck with your recovery!

dennycee
Posts: 647
Joined: Mar 2011

Sometimes I find I get better response to questions when I talk to my internist (or gp).  Has your doctor -either one- ordered Tessalon Perls for you?  They work very well for most patients.  Other things to focus on are hydration and humidity.   if your furnace does not have a built in humidifier put a portable one in areas you use most.  

Your doctors office has someone on call.  With hacking this severe I would call the internist tonight.  Hope this helps. 

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

Hello Deb and welcome to our club.  The UR lobectomy is tough and I'm impressed you got out of the hospital after only 5 days, as I was in for 7 days.  I had my surgery in Sept 2009.  There is so much good info on this thread, perhaps my post on Dec 23 was overlooked but there is some detail on my recovery, but if you have a question I didn't address then please post it.  The most important thing to remember is that it takes quite a bit of time to recover from this surgery, much more than I ever anticipated, so don't rush yourself and don't let the doctors make you feel like you don't need pain meds if you are still in pain.  Your cough sounds pretty bad so please keep your doctor informed, or as already suggested tell one of your other doctors.

My case was very weird.  The ER doc who found the mass in my lung told me with great certainty that I had lung cancer.  The feeling of hearing those words is impossible to describe but most people on this board can relate.  I went through 3 different biopsies which all came back inconclusive and I kept getting more and more sick.  After 3 months of testing I was so sick and I had developed pneumonia so they did the lobectomy and properly tested the mass.  As it turned out I did not have cancer, just a very bad infection which destroyed my UR lobe.  

I am not a cancer survivor, but I remain on this board because I can answer questions about the surgery as well as all of the testing for lung cancer, such as the needle biopsy, the bronchoscopy, the EBUS and the PET scan.  Been there, done all that.   Additionally this experience has given me a deep sense of empathy for cancer survivors and it is very rewarding to assist in any way I can.

Sorry if that's too much info.  I wish you the very best in your recovery and please ask any and all questions you have.  We have a great group of people on this board and we are always here for you.

Pam

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