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Need advice from someone who had VATS

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2005

My sister has had a nodule found in her left lower lobe and is scheduled 9/19 for VATS. They plan a wedge resection but if the immediate biopsy shows malignancy they will do a lobectomy. My question is, at what point in the post-op recovery period would it be best for me to go see her, for emotional support especially? I live in North Carolina and she is in New York and I can't leave my family or my nursing job for very long, so I want to go when it will be most helpful. She has been told that she will be in the hospital 3-5 days and then off work for 6-8 weeks. Our mom will be with her when she is in the hospital, but after that I plan to go spend some time with her. Will she most need help toward the beginning or is there a typical slump time later on when the helpers vanish and people still need support? Any comments from folks who have been through this would be appreciated. I wish I could be with her the entire time but it's just not possible!

Posts: 21
Joined: Jul 2005

I had my entire left lung removed in Dec. 2004. Although I was grateful to have friends/family with me in the hospital, I would suggest that having your Mom there would be enough. It is my opinion that your sister would benefit more from having you there when she gets home from the hospital. My sister came up from Texas (I live in Mass). It helped to have someone prepare meals, go the the store, run errands and provide support. Your sister may not be good company (will probably take lots of naps) but she should have peace of mind with you there. Good luck to both of you.

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

I am very sorry to hear about your sister. I had a right lower lobe lobectomy approximately 2.5 years ago due to bronchoalveolar carcinoma, a type of lung adenocarcinoma. My recovery was slow, but I am now fully recovered and continue to live an active life that I used to before my surgery. Your sister will be fine and as Bill suggested in his email, your sister will need you at home after the surgery to get her out of depression! My friend came from out of town and spent a week with me at home and forced me to get out the bed, and that accelerated my recovery.

I am just curious, was your sister exposed to mold at work or at home, particularly around air conditioning unit in an old building? My research has led me to believe that exposure to mold can cause lung cancer - particularly lung adenocarcinoma?

I shall pray for your sister's speedy recovery. Tell her to hang in there.

Posts: 31
Joined: Nov 2003

I agree with the previous two postings that your help immediately after going home from the hospital would be the most beneficial. I had my right lung removed 2.5 years ago due to NSCLC 3B. Although I had my wife to care for me, she worked full time and my parents stayed with me during the day. I slept alot due to the pain medicine. I didn't need alot of help getting around the house, just someone to be there next to me in case I needed help getting up, walking, etc. I was instructed to immediately begin regular walks. It was January, so we made daily trips to the local mall for walks. I needed alot of help getting in and out of the car at first, but I was driving myself around within about 4 to 5 weeks. I am currently 44 years old.

MadelynJoe's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Love My Sis:

I had a lower right lobectomy on 6/6/05 due to a tumor which was classified as NSCLC, Stage I. I was quite fortunate that the tumor was isolated and no metastis was found in my body. Your sister will probably need you more a couple of weeks after her surgery while she is still recovering at home. After you come home from the hospital and begin to get up and about, there is a tendency to get a little "down" when the magnitude of what happened hits you. I am sure your sister would love to have you with her during that time to boost her morale. If she is like me, she will probably feel up to getting out a little and would love to have you there to assist.

I have lived in Tennessee for over 30 years now but, I was born a "Tarheel". Prayers and good thoughts to you and your sister. Madelyn

Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2004

LoveMySis - I agree with everyone else here. I had a portion of my lung removed 12/03,due to StageIIIa non-small cell lung cancer. I was in the hospital an entire week and mostly slept. When I got home my husband had to go out of town so my brother from Texas came to stay with me for a week. It was great because he made the meals, ran errands, etc. He also bugged me to get up and walk! It was nice to have time together too. I would suggest not having many people there though, she will need to rest. Wishing the best for her! Swanny

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