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Lung Surgery

Johnettar
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

I have stage 2 lung cancer and the doctor wants to remove my left lung. I am terrified about the surgery and pain after. They make it sound like nothing. Would like to talk with someone who went through this. Is removing the whole lung as painfull as just removing a portion?

mamacita5's picture
mamacita5
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2010

Video assisted thoracic surgery??? I had VATS in May and the lower left lobe was removed. I can't imagine that the pain would be much different if they removed the whole thing, but there are plenty of members here who have had a total lobectomy and could let you know. I was in the hospital for 3 days,and my pain was well controlled. I was able to control my pain at home as well, so I would say I was not in too much pain. Recovery does take some time, and there is soreness involved, but it is certainly bearable. Be prepared to cough alot after the surgery too. If you are having traditional surgery....then someone else will have to help you out with their experience. Please don't fret too much, and consider yourself lucky that your tumor can be removed! Good luck, and let us know how you're doing.

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

I agree with mamacita. I had the same surgery four months ago. You are indeed lucky that your tumour can be removed.

beatlemike
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi John, In Aug.2005 I had my right lung removed and followed up with 4 rounds of chemo. I also was staged 2b. I wont fib,the pain was pretty painful at time but the trick was taking the pain meds before the pain started. I was pretty short of breath also for awhile but rebounded much better than I expected. My breathing is no where close to being what it was before but Im not on oxygen and do preety good.Im glad you are able to have surgery,so many are not given that option.Your in my prayers and keep in touch on the board and let us know how you are doing.

beatlemike
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2005

Just wanted to add. Keep ahead of the constipation. Pain killers are know to cause it. I dont remember anyone in the hospital warning me about it. I never knew constipation could be so painful.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1414
Joined: May 2009

Hi Beatlemike, You are so right about the hospital not warning about constipation, shame on them, we pay them to treat us. I was in the hospital 3 days with a lower right lobectomy, and not one of the staff tending to me mentioned it. I have never had major surgery which is
why all the pain meds, and you would think they would tell us. I wish you well Lori

evrythings_zen's picture
evrythings_zen
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

I have stage 3 and they also want to remove my left lung. I am just finishing 3 months of chemo and radiation and will be re-doing all of the scans on the 11th to see if it is an option yet. I am also terrified and it is the last thing I want to do, but if it is going to end this nightmare so I get get on with my life, then I guess the decision is made. It will be hard but I will be okay and so will you. I refuse to beleive any differently.

sissylu1
Posts: 66
Joined: Jan 2011

I had my middle lobe of my right lung removed Dec 3rd and NOT by the VATS so the recovery is certainly different..I was given an epidural in my chest to manage the pain and also morophone, had a chest tube..stayed in intensive care for 3 days and the surgical unit for 7 days. I agree with what I have read here, don't be shy about letting the nurses know when your pain level is getting to the point where you need additional meds, there is no reason to suffer although you have to expect there is a level of pain that is expected. After the epidural/chest tube comes out (generally 3-5 days after surgery) you will be given oral meds to control the pain..again, don't be a shy about asking for what you need. Try to get out of bed as soon as you can and do the breathing exercises, you will need help when you get home and your body will tell you when you have done too much but at the same time you need to push yourself-finding the balance was the difficult part for me. I have also posted in the past that I took Zanax for about 3 months because I was having a hard time just relaxing my mind with the diagnosis, worry about the surgery, etc..it is a life altering procedure. As far as the constipation goes that wasn't a big issue for me, I am an advocate on eating activia every morning and the hospital gave me a stool softner each day.
I consider myself lucky to be even a candidate for surgery and was staged 1a so I believe the pain and aftercare from surgery is certainly something I didn't want but was grateful to have that as an option-I am a 51 year old female who quit smoking the day I found out I had a negative chest x-ray..lots of changes going on in your life right now, I find this site very comforting and hope that I can provide comfort to others.

joep531857's picture
joep531857
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi John,
My name is Joe and was diagnosed with stage 1a nsclc. I underwent vats left upper lobectomy, during surgery the surgeons noticed the tumor touching my pleural sack changing me to stage 1b. So without the surgery I would have been erroneously staged and possibly altering the outcome of my treatment. I was in the hospital 10 days mostly due to an air leak that wouldnt stop. My pain was managed quite well by the doctors and nursing staff. I believe using your blow toys are one of the most important things you can do to get better faster. My breathing is not as good as before the surgery but it is improving. U dont need oxygen and i am finally not smoking now for 9 weeks. I am glad I had the opportunity to have surgery especially when so many others are not afforded that choice. It is a big deal and dont let them convince you otherwise but consider yourself fortunate. Good luck and god bless.

Joe

cb girl's picture
cb girl
Posts: 56
Joined: May 2010

Hi Joe! My husband is in the hospital right now having had a LLL lobectomy last Friday, but he has an air leak so we are basically just sitting around and waiting for it to seal on its own as they don't want to risk another surgery to fix it. did your air leak finally resolve itslef on its own? Just looking for some peace of mind/hope. This is our second surgery-he ahd his upper right lobe removed in Jan. so we are familiar with all the pain meds, chest tubes, blow toys that come with this adventure. But not familiar with an air leak as everything went well last time. Any input would help . Glad you are doing well and not smoking-congrats!
Tracy

joep531857's picture
joep531857
Posts: 32
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Tracy
My air leak finally sealed itself 5 days after the first one. It is basically a waiting game and it will seal itself eventually, at least according to my surgeons. They can also send you home i think with a different kind of chest tube but i think they prefer it to seal itself on its own.

Joe

JohnBinDC's picture
JohnBinDC
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2010

I had surgery that was to remove the upper lobe of my left lung, but the biopsy came back negative, so I only had a wedge resection. (may have been a false negaative as I now have stage 3B or 4 lung cancer). Antway, the surgery was major (not VATS) and it did take time to heal. The pain was well-managed, except the day after surgery when they mistakenly took my pain meds away! Yikes, that hurt! Once the pump was put back in placeand I could push the button when I needed the pain meds, they were well controlled.

The key for me was getting up, moving around and doing my breathing exercises. I was released from the hospital in April, continued to exercise (especially stretching the area of the incision), and I ended up training and running a half marathon in January. I still feel a little tightness in the area of the incision sometimes and I understand VATS is not quite as bad as it is less invasive.

Best wishes!

John

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 281
Joined: Mar 2011

I think I have a new hero! Best I could manage was some noise-making halfway through treatment (evidence at left), and back into biking thereafter. No surgery possible here, though.

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

Wow and I think I do well staying on the treadmill for one hour. You say you have stage 3B or 4 lung cancer. What is the treatment plan for that?

cb girl's picture
cb girl
Posts: 56
Joined: May 2010

The air leak seems to be oh so slowly improving. We have been on several romantic strolls around the nurses' station, elevators and waiting areas. He's in good spirits for someone who doesn 't like just sitting. We have a vacation planned for 1 July that involves flying . The pulmonary doc looked at me like I had 3 heads when I asked if it would be Ok. The surgeon , before the surgery, said no problem. Anyone flown after a lobectomy? Much less one on each side? The flight is 2 hrs long-Florida to Mexico so don't know another way to get there

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi. I had a lobectomy (lower left lung) on Dec. 1 and I am flying from Vancouver, Canada to Cape Town South Africa on Oct. 17. Both my surgeon and my family doc are pleased I am going and think it is a good idea.

JohnBinDC's picture
JohnBinDC
Posts: 91
Joined: Nov 2010

I am undergoing chemo at this time, Cisplatin and Alimta. I was originally diagnosed as 3B with a large tumor in my left lung, amd tumors in my lymph nodes. I had a scan prior to treatment (the plan was to radiate, use chemo, and then surgery), but the scan showed was appeared to be cancer in my right lung also. This took the radiation and surgery off the table for now, and my onco said she believe I would be considered stage 4 with the spreading to my right lung.

That said, there is no longer evidence of anything in my right lung after my first 2 treatments. So I don't know if I am considered stage 3A or stage 4, nor do I think it makes much difference at this point. I am still hopeful that the chemo does a good job and perhaps surger will be an option down the road.

My plan is to run the Rock and Roll Arizona Half Marathon with my 2 sons and daughter in January of 2012. Maybe I'll be the first person with both lung cancer and multiple sclerosis to complete the half marathon!

Best wishes always!

John

Glenda N.
Posts: 13
Joined: Jun 2009

Almost 4 yrs ago, I also had my entire left lung removed. I did remarkedly well, however last June 1, 2010, it had metasized to my brain. I had the gamma knife done in Dallas. Then last Oct,2010 I had scar tissue & had to have surgery. It took about 8 weeks to completely recover. But here I am, cancer free again. Don't ever give up. I will be praying for you.

cb girl's picture
cb girl
Posts: 56
Joined: May 2010

Sometime in the next hour , we hope, but don't ;-) the should becoming to collect the husband and whisk him off to fix the leaky lung. I think the waiting ages you the most-that and all the old magazines in the waiting rooms. Hopefully he'll come back to his room as I am hmesteaded in here. appreciate all the good thoughts, hugs and prayers-they mean everything right now. Now I need to call my employer and let her know I won't be in Wednesday as planned after all. anyone care to make the all for me LOL!

Johnettar
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

Well went for a boat load of tests and it seems I am not a candidate for surgery. They are going for the cure with chemo and radiation. I have very mixed feelings about this. The surgery scared the crap out of me. I really did not want the surgery. I hate the roller coaster of emotions.

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

I had the surgery but I have read many success stories on here from folks who had chemo and/or radiation. You can do it I am sure.

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