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Joined: Jul 2005

In Dec. 2004, I had a PNEUMONECTOMY (removal of my entire left lung) performed. Since then, there is no sign of the cancer returning although I do realize it's still early. My question deals with what is "normal" during recovery. At this time, my pain seems to be mostly in both sides of my upper chest. I don't know if this is to be expected or if something else is going on. I go for my next check in September. Is there anyone else out there that has had similar recovery symptoms?

Posts: 133
Joined: Nov 2001

hi , I didn't have lung removal, but they went thru my ribs for a biopsy back in 2001, and it still hurts , full rib cage and into the back. I just think it is healing process and it takes lots of time. You had a major operation. hope this helps , Mike

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi, I had 40% of my right lung removed in October, '01. Incision was across my back. Only one rib was cut. I was 67 at the time. I spent 7 days in intensive care, then 4 days in a regular room. Recovery was slow and somewhat painful. It was about six months before I felt reasonably good. That was probably due to my age. I've known younger people who have had the same procedure, and who have recovered more quickly. What you decribe sounds to me to be normal. Be patient, - it DOES GO AWAY!

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006


Hang in there. I had my right lower lobe removed approx. 2.5 years ago. It took about 3 months to get back. I have complete recovery now and am back playing tennis, racketball, badminton, etc.

Just curious though - what type of lung cancer did you have? Mine was bronchoalveolar carcinoma, a subset of adenocarcinoma. I have a theory that this type of cancer can be caused by exposure to mold/mycotoxin (toxins produced by mold). Does anyone have BAC and was ever exposed to mold at work or at home?

Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2003

I had my right lung completely removed in January 2003 so it's been 2.5 years. I'm a 44 year old NSC 3B survivor. Plymouthean is right, it's a long slow recovery, even though I'm somewhat younger. I think I was mostly healed in about 1.5 years. I still have a lot of numbness and some annoying pain, but it gets gradually better. I have quite a long scar and they had to cut through an entire section of muscle on me that they normally don't have to do. As a result my muscle tissue has healed together with other muscles and scar tissue which makes everything feel very tight. Believe it or not, I get relief hanging from monkeybars to stretch it out. Anyway I don't have many limitations except for example if I run for more than a minute or 2 or if I climb several flights of stairs I will be out of breath. Good luck and remember a smile and a positive attitude help the healing process tremendously. Oh and you might look into a pulmonary rehabilitation program. I credit them with my success. I still attend twice weekly for monitored excercise.

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2005

I had 1/3 of my right lung removed in April, 2003. They replaced part of 2 ribs (tumor was resting against these pieces). I still have problems with pain and wear a Lidoderm patch daily. I also have a lot of scar tissue which they tell me causes some of the pain. Hang in there. It gets easier. Tell your doctor and he can prescribe many things to help.

Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 2005

I had half of my lung removed on 11/17/03. I still have pain. It comes and goes though. For quite a while I will be pain-free, then it will come back. I am told that this is normal and, because lung surgery is so invasive it takes quite a while to heal. The nerve endings can continue to come back for quite some time and scar tissue can also wrap around nerve endings and cause pain. Hang in there though! I figure I can live with some discomfort and pain as long as I stay cancer-free!! Good luck to you - be patient and keep smiling and enjoying every day.

Neshel's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2005

The recovery process is definitely long and painful. My Pneumonectomy was done on 9/7/04, I'm still numb under my breast and the scar tissue is very painful, pain management is definitely the way to go. My doctor wants me to get steroid shots in the scar, I'm not to sure about that. There is also sharp pains that I assume are the nerves healing. The scar is very itchy as well. I'm still not able to move my right shoulder blade. Pain beats Cancer every and anyday.

Soulcr8's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2015

Hello my name is Chris,  A 40 year old male. I am 3 days home from a full R-Lung Penumonectomy, I spent 2 days in the ICU unit, and 4 days in the reg. hosp. room.

I am in constant around the clock pain! I have been perscribed the "good stuff", but it just barely knocks the edge off.

I am having a tough time, with clearing my left lung of any speutem, and having a bowl movement.

I was cut 10" along and under the 5th rib, where they removed Squamous Cell Carcinoma CANCER that was blocking my bronchi airway.

I am grateful to be alive, no doubt. but this pain, again....It's horrable to manage, I have to try to sleep in several different positions throughout the nights with very little actual sleep.

This is my 4th CANCER! yes, that is right you heard , and read correct! My 4th Fight, I have had 3 other cancers in my r- groin, testicles, and left flank, that just seem to come back again, and again., I have been in to 11 surgerys in the past 7 years! YES!!! CANCER SUCKS, and my Insurance is fed up with me. news update, I just had a movement, and I am in so much pain I am going to close this for now, God bless You all for you're Fight!


Posts: 840
Joined: Mar 2011

If you have a lounger, that is the best place to sleep for the first couple weeks with pillows tucked in to the sides and another to hold onto.  Talk to your dr about gabapentin, it helps w relieve certain thpes of the nerve pain. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2015


My name is Kelly, I had my left lung removed February 24 2015. I wuld have to say that the pain that you are feeling is normal. They had to break a couple of your ribs to remove the lung and they are a bear to heal.

Not onnly did they break mine to remove the lung 2 weeks after my surgery I was putting my nebulizer together and I broke 2 MORE.

I find that sleeping with a WEDGE pillow, which you can find at Wal-Mart fo about $20. leeping on an incline helps the other lung not to strain. Warm compresses help sometimes also.

I hope you geet weel soon and if it is really bothering you see your oncologist about medicine.


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