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how long does it take

brokenheartfix's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2010

how does it go I am to start chemo on the 4th of feb and scared to death. I have had counostrophy then lymph nodes removed luckliy both came back negative. I then had upper lobe of left lung removed along with 3 ribs and the tumer of 8 centemeters was removed 26 days ago. Still in alot of pain from surgery. I am worried about chemo treatments i hear all kinds of stories about them. I seem to get no one to just give it all to me straight. I have tried to get into the chat room all day today and been unable to get in. So if you don't mind tell me how it went and what i am to expect. I lost 25lbs already and hear I will loose alot more during chemo there is not alot left to loose lol. Thanks for your time and if i may get a little more of your time to explain what to expect from the chemo treatments. The name of the cancer that was removed isepidermoid carcinoma of lung Thanks Harold Jones My email is brokenheart@chesnet.net

How log does it take before I can get a good nighs sleep without pain. I know 26 days is not a great deal of time since the surgery. Have been told by others the most of the pain is the removal of the three ribs. Thanks for your time.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Surgery is tough on the body, no doubt. Each time I have had major surgery, it has taken about 6 weeks for my body to get to where I felt better. I'm not saying I was pain-free at that point, but things were definately much better around then. Every week I gradually felt stronger and a little less pain, but it took awhile before I felt like I could sleep without pain meds entirely. Everyone is different though. Our operations are different and our bodies are different. It took months after each major surgery before I felt like I was back to some kind of normal (I define normal as very active...). From the sounds of your post, I believe you had conventional surgery rather than the VATS and modified VATS that I had, so it may take longer before you feel more like normal. Like me, though, every day will be a step in the right direction.

Speaking of steps, one thing you can do to help your physical recovery is start on a rehab plan. Talk to your doctor about what they recommend. They may suggest having your rehab overseen by a pulmonary rehab specialist if you are having problems breathing or a regular rehab specialist if you need help with flexibility or strength. Even learning how to get out of bed the most pain-free way possible is helpful. My mom took me walking in the local business mall so I could practice walking in a protected spot before I tried going outside for a stroll. I was so slow at first!But it is important not to overdo exercise after surgery. If something hurts, don't do it! If you think you are going to fall, don't risk it. But when you are ready, start in doing what you can, even if that is only walking the hall in your home, until you can manage more. A good rehab specialist might be able to speed your recovery by finding ways to rebuild your muscle strength so sleeping and daily activities are less painful. Exercise itself helps reduce pain and increase wellness. Just don't do more than you should. You don't want to cause more injuries or mess up your doctor's stitches! Recovery does happen. Right now I go to the gym every day for an hour work-out and most of the class doesn't know about my surgeries or missing parts.

Before one of my first major surgeries, I read up on phantom pain. After surgery, nerves that have been cut often mess up. They can fire without any stimulus at all and do spasm like that a lot the first few weeks after surgery. When sometime cues them to fire, they can respond as if sometime else was going on. Even now, sometimes a drink of cold water has me feeling like someone is tickling my side--from the inside! I just want to kick something when that happens. Sometimes I itch like crazy where the chest tube used to be. It's been since 2006 since I was last in surgery, so I know nothing needs to heal up. It's just my nerves misfiring again. It decreases over time, but it is good to know that such feelings don't mean alot. I wish the pain message wasn't the most frequent problem, but often it is. The doctors told me getting up and down would hurt but that nothing was going to break if I was getting in and out of bed. I wish they would have told my nerves! After a few weeks, the nerves seemed to mostly calm down, though I know where I better not itch too hard or they will still fire up with a pain message. Of course, bring all pain questions to your doctor so he or she can determine what is meaningful from what is not.

A chat with a nutrition specialist might help you design a diet you can eat so you stop losing weight. Pain meds and pain both mess with appetite. So does chemo, as you may have heard. One of my relatives totally stopped eating after moraphine for a knee operation. It was withdrawal, not depression, but none of the family recognized that. After we notified the doctor, he prescribed a pill that had him eating like there was no tomorrow within hours. He was at the point he could switch to a different pain med rather than keep taking the moraphine "as needed" and then did fine. Depression is also very common with surgery and cancer. That can take a different med, but why be miserable if that or anxiety is a problem? Sometimes talking to a social worker or a support group can help, but sometimes medicine is needed too. Again, this is something a good oncologist can help you sort out and take care of.

You aren't the only one to have problems getting on the chat room. I can't get on half the time and last week got kicked off right in the middle of a conversation. Of course I couldn't get back on either! At least the discussion boards usually work out okay for me. Good luck!

brokenheartfix's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for being so helpfull glad that you responded.

Thanks Harold Jones

Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2009

The only thing I can say about chemo is it depends on what type of chemo it is because each type is different. Do you know the name of it? I had a liver transplant 2yrs ago and in July of 09 my drs. found a spot on my left lung. They removed a portion of my lung and even though they did not renove any ribs, it was extremely painful. All I can tell you is that it can take a few months for it to get better. Take your pain meds exactly as they are ordered. Use a pillow to splint your chest when moving,coughing,or laughing. It will definitely help. Chemo for me is not as bad as I thought it would be but it still causes side effects that can be harsh. Mine are mainly slight nausea,hair thinning,a sore in my mouth, diarrhe which can be excessive some times(drink plenty of gatorade when this happens) and fatigue. Some days are more difficult than others but you can get thru it. I'm on Nexavar for my liver cancer that metastised to my lung. What ever you do STAY POSITIVE!!!!!!That is very important. I'll be praying for you

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