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Shortness of breath

laurieg's picture
laurieg
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2008

I have a question for anyone who had a lobectomy. I had my surgery June 13th, 2008. I think my recovery is going well. The doctors told me for 3 months take it easy. Lift nothing over 5 pounds, no yard work or gardening. I am feeling so well that this makes this difficult. I also have 4 kids so I am not one to sit down. I notice that when I am sneaking and pulling weeds in the garden I get so short of breath. I don't mean a little bit either, very short of breath. It is really the only time that it happens. I think it is the bending up and down that does it. Is it normal? Has it happened to anyone else? Also will the side I had the surgery on ever feel normal again. I go to roll over in my sleep and am awakened every night, I still have some pain. Will it go to turning and not feeling it? I hope so. Thank you all ahead of time. You have helped me so much before, thank you, thank you!

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Laurie, I expect that you will be fine. Geez louise! You just had surgery! Give yourself time. Seriously, consider it a knife fight that you lost, and maybe you will understand it in a better light.

While I was still in the hospital, following my lobectomy (Jan 31, 2008) and the ensuing MSSA infection, I lost my breath completely one night, and I am convinced to this day that it was because the toilet paper was in one of those anti-theft boxes so that I had to keep bending over to get the tissue out.

Seriously. Sounds funny, but after that, we had them bring the TP in and just leave it on top of the box and I never had the problem again.

You should understand that when they remove a lobe, everything is apt to shift a bit. In my case, in fact, my heart actually shifted to the right a bit. Other organs fill in the remaining gaps, and sometimes this affects your diaphragm, thus affecting your ability to breathe, particularly when you bend over.

So I believe that what you are experiencing is very much to be expected, particularly this soon after the surgery.

The good news is that it does improve. If they gave you some toys to help with breathing, continue to use them. And if they said you could walk for exercise, I recommend that highly.

In short: the shortness of breath when you bend over is absolutely normal, laurie :).

As for being able to roll over while sleeping, that too will get back to normal, my friend. At first, for sure, there is pain when you roll on to the side where your chest tubes and your stitches were, but it will, indeed pass. I speak from experience: lower right lung lobectomy on Jan 31 of this year, and really do not feel any great disablement, as long as I do not overdo it.

Patience is required, while I admire your incentive to get back out and get after it!

Take care,

Joe

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Take it easy pulling those weeds. You don't want to bust one of your surgeon's excellent stitches. You will heal and get to do plenty of weeding next year. Right now, give the kids a buck a bag and consider it money well spent. Maybe they will fall in love with gardening and you'll accomplish two things at once. A breeze in your face, a sitting up position, sometimes arms out or over your head can help. The nurses told me to breathe slowly and deliberately when I was short of breath. I used a body pillow to control the rolling for the month or two it took for stuff to mostly heal. I had a VATS and a modified VATS back to back, so I healed a lot faster than the standard rib removing operation (give yourself a year for that one). I had surgery in Aug and hit the gym for light exercises by October and was able to pull weeds the following spring. Unfortunately, I should be pulling weeds now but I don't feel like it. It's a mental problem now rather than a physical one. But that's my problem. In any case, stay in if it is hot and humid and take it easy on the yard work. The doctors were not exaggerating when they said to take it easy.

laurieg's picture
laurieg
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2008

Cabbott nNd Soccerfreaks how did I know you both were going to answer me. Everyday I take time to read what people have to say even if I can't give info. And you two are the ones who have the most imput. I have said it before I was a trauma nurse specialist not an oncoligist. I have so many questions and you two are my specialists right now. Thank You for taking time out of your lives to help and be empathetic to others. ARe you sure you wern't nurses in another life. LOL Thank you both, God Bless You, I haven't met you and Love you both!

jadjr
Posts: 30
Joined: Jan 2006

I had my lobectomy almost 3 yreas ago. The shortness of breath when you bend over is completely natural. It will improve with time but because of the changes due to the surgery it may always be somewhat of a problem. I have noticed that my breathing is fine even after some pretty hard exercise for an hour but even now if I bend over I still get short of breath although I have learned to breath deeper at that time which helps a great deal. Best advice is to exercise (when you are ready) stay trim and over time most if not all will come back to you.

Greggriggs's picture
Greggriggs
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

Hi Laurie.
I dont know if it counts but i had a whole lung removed in 2006.
I remember the first time they walked me down the hall I didn't want ot be alive if that was how it was going to be.
But in six weeks i was walkin a mile an a half.
But I still get short of breath an pain when I bend over. It is like Soccer says everything shifts.
I dont know about lobectomy surgery but with the whole lung The cavity fills up with fluid I guess to keep the parts like Soccer said in some working order place.
But for about six months when I rolled over I heard a sloshing sound . It probably sounds dumb but i wonder if the cavity from the lobectomy fills up also? I dont think so as you would probably have fluid in your lungs from it .
I still fell like I am siting on a coathanger, it's not bad but it is still there, the front is still numb kinda creepy numb. But I actualy forget about it now an then .
Like Soccer an Cabbott said take it easy it gets better. Also like Jadir said some times you have to take two breaths!!!
Hope ya HEAL really Fast.
Greg

laurieg's picture
laurieg
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2008

Thank you all so much for all of the input, it makes me sleep better. Sometimes it's all so overwhelming. I am new to this whole thing. I told you all before that as a trauma nurse, I don't deal with alot of oncolgy. You have all helped so much. Thank you, thank you! I'll pray for everyone tonight!

BEVERLYWS
Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2008

HI, I HOPE YOU'RE FEELING BETTER. I THINK IT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION WHEN I READ YOUR DATE OF SURGERY JUNE 13 MINE WAS JUNE 16. IT WAS FRIDAY THE 13TH A DATE I WONT BE LIKELY TO FORGET...:) I TOO AM SHORT OF BREATH BUT I TRY TO KEEP GOING BECAUSE MY DOCTOR TOLD ME TO DO ALOT OF DEEP BREATHING & I CAN'T SEEM TO DO IT SITTING DOWN. I DO HOPE YOU'RE WELL!
TAKE CARE,
BEVERLY

catcon49's picture
catcon49
Posts: 398
Joined: Aug 2008

What kind of surgery did you have? VATS? I am scheduled for 9/10/08 remove lower right lobe. Dr. told me 6 weeks I could return to a normal job. Of course I don't have a normal job I work for the Post office. Lifting and throwing parcels and tubs of mail. I hope your recovery moves along quickly

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