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Here we go again

beachnut
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi Everyone:
I am new to this board. My husband had a lobe removed from his right lung 2 years ago in August. At that time they were not doing the VATS surgery so he had be harder surgery. Stage 1 with no lymph involvement - no treatments. He just had his routine chest x-ray and Dr. appt. last week. Something showed up on his x-ray and we were able to have a PET scan the next day. He now has a very small spot on his left lung. They scanned his whole body and nothing else showed up on the PET. The lung he had the original spot in is still clear. We have an appt. with the surgeon who did his first surgery next Wednesday the 27th. We are hoping that he can have the VATS surgery and that he will do fine. Has anyone here had to have 2 surgeries? Will his lung function be so compromised after having both lungs operated on that he would not be able to work at all? He would be miserable if he couldn't work. He is 65 years old, but doesn't want to retire and financially it would be very difficult without his paycheck. It is so hard not to panic - I know that the Lord can work miracles. If anyone has any insight it would be appreciated.

trft
Posts: 48
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi beachnut, I think the two key words are dyspnea and pneumonectomy. I too have had a lobectomy for stage 1b lung adenocarcinoma. (and not VATS) And I don't really notice it. I would think the loss of another lobe would be a lot like a whole lung out, pneumonectomy. And the key technical turn for shortness of breath is dyspnea.

I don't know the answer to your question, but you may be able to research it and get an idea. I have heard it said "that the lung is the laziest organ in the body." I expect, then, what that means is how much lung capacity your husband will have will depend somewhat on his tenaciousness to the breathing exercises. I myself gave them up almost a month after surgery, but if they come after another lobe I think I would be more motivated.

Well, I don't think I've offered any insights, maybe some info, but mostly I'm rooting for your man!

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

My surgeon insisted on a set of breathing tests to measure how well my lungs were working BEFORE he did his first incision. He said that he would not operate if it would incapacitate me. In my case, he said I would do fine even if they had to take a whole lung out. As it was, I only had to lose a lobe. If the stuff comes back, it may reappear in the other lung. If so, I can still lose a lobe or two more. Then he may have to try something else, should it be needed. I read on the internet what some of those things could be. There is a dye I read about that is uploaded by cancer cells and then they can hit it with a special light to zap the cancer cells in the lung. This can work on folks who can't tolerate the surgery. Sometimes they can remove just the lung segment with the cancerous or suspicious part in it with the VATS procedure. Removing just the wedge is not the gold standard for surgical cure, but it is better than nothing. Some folks can't even do that, so for them chemo is a better route. So go see the best thoracic specialists you can get to and do some lung function tests to see what you could do and still work. Good luck!

PS If your current surgeon has not done many VATS procedures, see if he can refer you to someone who has. You want an expert with lots of experience.

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

My surgeon insisted on a set of breathing tests to measure how well my lungs were working BEFORE he did his first incision. He said that he would not operate if it would incapacitate me. In my case, he said I would do fine even if they had to take a whole lung out. As it was, I only had to lose a lobe. If the stuff comes back, it may reappear in the other lung. If so, I can still lose a lobe or two more. Then he may have to try something else, should it be needed. I read on the internet what some of those things could be. There is a dye I read about that is uploaded by cancer cells and then they can hit it with a special light to zap the cancer cells in the lung. This can work on folks who can't tolerate the surgery. Sometimes they can remove just the lung segment with the cancerous or suspicious part in it with the VATS procedure. Removing just the wedge is not the gold standard for surgical cure, but it is better than nothing. Some folks can't even do that, so for them chemo is a better route. So go see the best thoracic specialists you can get to and do some lung function tests to see what you could do and still work. Good luck!

PS If your current surgeon has not done many VATS procedures, see if he can refer you to someone who has. You want an expert with lots of experience.

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