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How Are You Doing Cinnamonsmile?

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

How did your surgery go?


VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

Thinking about you - gentle hugs, and prayers going your way.


Vicki Sam

Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi. Thank you for thinking of me.

I had a full thoracotomy where they slice your chest open on the side, move the ribs apart and muscles, and deflate the lung so the surgeon can see and work. It is an extremely painful procedure. After the surgery is done, a tube with the circumference of a nickel is inserted with a pump to pump out all the drainage. It makes the tubes after the BMX seem like noodles hanging out. This pump and tube are so painful. Those BMX drains were a piece of cake compared to that.

I had lots of needle pokes, none on the right side, so they listened to me. I had a central line in the neck, an IV in the left arm, an IV in the artery for blood pressure in the left (and in case my heart needed meds) and I had an epidural that they left in until Friday. I had my favorite anesthesiologist (who also remembers me) so that went smooth.

It is a good thing the surgeon decided to skip the VATS procedure. He was shocked when he opened me up and saw that the mass on my lung was the size of a PLUM!!! No wonder why I was having so many troubles breathing!! Preliminary path says its’ not cancer. To get clean margins plus the mass, the surgeon had to take out 15% of my lung!!!  But I tell  you, I can breathe better with 85% of my lung compared to 100% plus the plum!!! The surgeon said they are going to hopefully figure out what the heck it is.

The pain was unbearable and they gave me dilauded after. I have only had it once and it made me sick to my stomach. So they stopped all pain meds. The pain was excruciating, especially because where the incision was and the tubing was where I already have that severe pain that I have had since 1/11/11 from the BMX and sentinel node removal (I had 1 axillary node on the right).

Of course I can’t get out of that hospital without problems. Weds night about 10 pm, a nurse and nursing assistant helped me swing around the bed to dangle my legs and sit up. They SHOULD have swung me so I could use the right arm and side to help myself. They swung me on the surgery side and dragged my catheter tubing across the bed. I knew right away something pulled too much. I told the nurse. When I laid back down, she deflated then inflated the tubing. NO ONE checked my urine output for at least 6 hours. There was a leak and I woke up in a bed FULL of urine. They washed me up and sat me in a chair. There were no clean pillow cases on the unit, so I had to steal Brian’s (he slept over night because I was afraid to be alone).

First thing I did was call the patient advocate and she brought the head of the unit down. I told them I laid in urine all night and that there were no clean linens, the staff left a bag of urine soaked bedding in my room for over 3 hours. I also informed her that my nurse refused to take my complaints of neuropathy pain from my BMX w/ node removal UNTIL a CAN spoke up and said she had the same on one side. THEN the jerk took me serious. Staff was much better after that with my pain.

Got up out of chair, there I had sat again for 5 hours in urine. I told the 1st shift nurse for his 12 hour day shift that something was wrong with the catheter. I was told for 12 hours I was having bladder spasms and told him that was not the problem, that it began when I slid the legs across the bed. On Thursday evening, my walk had to be cancelled because urine was leaking all over the floor. Turns out I was right. I had a nurse check my bed regularly and low and behold, she caught it as it started leaking. Turns out the tubing had connections by my thigh and it was leaking. So, I complained about the tubing and was ignored, meaning I sat or laid in urine soaked bedding from Sometime after 10 pm on Weds. Till Thursday about 2 am when the leak site was found.

Thursday I had a meltdown. I felt so afraid to be in the hospital and to make matters worse; I was developing a horrible reaction to the epidural meds. I was sick to my stomach, retching, I felt dizzy but without the head spins, I thought I was going crazy and in extreme pain because they wouldn’t give me anything other than the epidural. On Friday, they took the epidural out. Two hours later, I was sitting up and eating. What a relief.

Not all my staff was bad. I had some VERY good nurses and aides.

I got home from the hospital around noon on Saturday.

I have been using my spirometer for breathing, and out taking walks around the yard with Brian and Cinnamon.

Pain is definitely better today than yesterday, although during the day I am still on 2 vicodin every 4 hours, although I may go every 5 or 6 now.

I am getting a shower today whooo hoooo cuz I sure need one. And hopefully I will have a BM soon, if not, I get the enema.

I still have the enlarged lymph nodes in and will be talking to the surgeon about what to do about those. If they are still enlarged, I think I want them out, but not sure. If the plum sized mass in my lung is some disease or fungus that I need meds for, maybe that will help the nodes on the trachea. Time will tell.

I really didn’t get all worked up about this surgery beforehand so I have been really calm. I was NOT calm when they had to keep changing my linens cuz they were soaked with urine, or when I was in the deepest pain and epidural med sickness. I sure was thinking it wasn’t worth it. I knew the chance of it being cancer was slim to none, but didn't freak out thinking into the future like telling myself it was cancer etc. I told myself if it is cancer, then freak out, but no reason to now.

My thoracic surgeon took an agressive approach, which is good. He wanted to make sure that I didn't have cancer and to make sure he got clean margins around the lung.

I am amazed by how much better I can breathe without the plum in my chest!!!! Even with the post-surgical pain and crap, I can breathe a lot better than before surgery.


Anyway, thanks for asking how things went. Sorry it is so long, but I can’t get out of that hospital without some kind medical mishaps!!!

I am not freaking out about the pain because I know it will be temporary. The surgeon already told me I will have new nerve damage on the belly, but I don't feel the pain like I did after the BMX.

All the previous surgeries and pain helped me prepare for this one and be pretty calm about the whole thing. My nieghbor/friend said she was even worried about me that I should have been more worked up lol!!!

Right now, I make sure I get up, move around, do breathing exercises because pretty soon I will have pickles to can!!! But we forgot to plant dill so hopefully Brian's dad has some extra for me. We planted it late, but it didn't come up. THe seeds might have been too old,too.

I still can't believe that I was living with a plum sized mass in my lung. It is mind boggling.

Posts: 95
Joined: Apr 2013

Wow, CinnamonSmile, you have been through the wringer.  I am so glad that your surgeon thinks that your "plum" is not cancer.  Glad you are able to breathe more comfortably now.  Prayers for your continued healing.

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