Lbelle78

Upcoming surgery

11 posts in this topic

Thanks to all of you who have given me advice on this terrible journey. Despite my pulmonologist's optimistic outlook on how " lung cancer in someone your age is as rare as hen's teeth," I was diagnosed yesterday following my bronchoscopy with what looks to be adenocarcinoma, hopefully stage 1, upper right lobe, no lymph nodes lit up on PET or appear to be involved at this point, but surgery will tell. My uterus lit up also, but they think this was due to doing the scan during menses, and CT with contrast showed no indications of tumors. I will have to follow up with my obgyn. I have an appt. tomorrow with the surgeon and they stated that turnaround for the surgery would be very quick, within the week. I am hoping that I am a candidate for VATS and/or robotic surgery. This is terrifying for me, as I have never had any type of surgery before. I've looked at some of your experiences since yesterday. Waking up after surgery would be fabulous! Waking up on a vent scares me to pieces. Good experiences you can share?? 

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Lbelle,

OK, you are staged and typed.  The good news is a stage 1 find and your type of adenocarcinoma has the most available treatment options.

Surgery is frightening, I agree.  But yours will likely not involve much trauma.  You may even not have a chest tube installed and if you do, that is no big deal.  You will be fine.

What is waking up after surgery like?  I had a morphine injector for about 2 days and was encouraged to push it when I felt the slightest tinge of pain.  I did and I didn't feel any pain. Then they transitioned to less powerful pain relievers.  After my first surgery, I was up walking laps around the ward by day 3.  I was discharged on day 5 and my surgery involved a complete lung removal that was not minimally invasive.

I'm sure the PET return is as you've described.  It is a common report. 

I am very happy things are proceeding rapidly.  Look forward to a report of your discharge from the hospital.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Lbelle ,
Sorry you are going through this . This journey can be very frightening .My
experience with the VATS robotic surgery was good . I have scarred lungs from a lifetime of asthma and pneumonitis. Even with my history of lung disease I woke up breathing on my own . I spent 2 nights in ICU , one night because they couldn't find me a bed in the step down unit until the next day . I was in the hospital about 8 days . A little longer then some . My chest tube was putting out a lot of fluid . I am a nurse , but believe me that goes out the window when you're the patient and the diagnosis is cancer . Anyway I did get IV Tylenol the first few days and it really helps with pain . Problem is it is expensive . The brand name is Ofirmev . I just wanted you to know my experience was good . I just had my 6 month visit with the oncologist and my CT and tumor markers are good . I had adencarcinoma Stage 1a and they did a right upper lobectomy . I hope that helps . This site has been such a help to me I hope it is to you as well .

Suepm


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Tom, you are an inspiration. I am encouraged by your story and so appreciative that I was led to this forum. I want to make it through this and then help others. Had I not gotten sick when I did, I would have never known about this tumor, so I'm trying to remember that and count it as God's blessing.

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Thank you Sue, same place as me! I so appreciate you taking the time to share your story. It is such a comfort to be able to talk with caring people who have been there and come out on the other side. Bless you!!

Tom Galli likes this

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Hi Lbelle,

I had VATs lower right lobectomy in November. A bunch of lymph nodes were taken out and were all negative for cancer. Diagnosis was Adenocarcinoma Stage 1A. I woke up from surgery with no vent and no oxygen tube. I was quickly alert and chatting, went to a regular hospital room (no ICU) and was walking around the floor later that day. I was released the next day with my chest tube still in, attached to a Heimliich (one way) valve to drain fluid and air into a bag. The tube and bag were a nuisance. The bag tended to leak if not kept upright. I did go out walking in my neighborhood the day after I was discharge, with the tube and bag apparatus covered by a big raincoat.  The tube was in for about 10 days--longer than usual because I was still leaking air.. I had some pain, mostly from the tube, I  think. I took oxycodone for a few days and then gradually transitioned to alternating ibuprofen and tylenol. I also learned how NOT to move to avoid pain. After the tube was taken out, I had very little pain. Altogether, the pain was less than I had anticated and I recovered fast.

Has your surgeon recommended that you sleep with your head elevated? If not, ask about it. It areally helps with breathing after surgery. I got a 12 inch high foam wedge, which gave me about 45 degrees elevation. It was way more comfortable than trying to prop myself on pillows. I recommend it. I slept propped for over 2 months. Also, if you come out of the hospital with a tube in, I suggest you get some chux or similar disposable bed pads, since the tube can leak where it comes out of your side/back, and the bag can leak wherever you hang it. As I  said, the tube is a nuisance. But I was able to manage it at home and was glad I got home from the hospital so quickly.

I hope you can have VATS and that your surgery is as uneventful as mine was.

Hang in there and best wishes/

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Lbelle,

Reading Bridget's sage advice, i forgot about the importance of sleeping elevated after surgery.  Go to a mattress store and audition several for fit and comfort (you may find you need two 15 degree wedge pillows).  Record the name and model number, then order online for a substantial cost savings.  You may also need an array of firm pillows to be comfortable in your bed after surgery.  You want to transfer as much upper body weight as possible to your hips. I spent the first week after discharge sleeping in my chair recliner. My experience was 12 years ago and I've forgotten some of the basics.  We now own an electric adjustable bed with a high density foam mattress and these are wonderful!

On the chest tube, ask your surgeon at your before surgery consultation if you are likely to be discharged with a chest tube.  If so, they have models that can be worn on a sling across your body so they hang between your arm and chest.  This type can also be emptied by you when filled. It was called a mobile chest drainage receptacle.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Lbelle . How are you doing ? Keep us posted . Suepm


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Hi Suepm, thanks for checking on me. I'm going Monday to the 2nd surgeon for his opinion on getting minimally invasive surgery. We are going in prepared to set a date either way as soon as he is able. Crazily enough our first surgeons office called yesterday and said they wanted to speak with me about robotic surgery performed by another surgeon in their group, when we were not initially told that was an option. That confirmed for me my choice to speak with the 2nd surgeon. Scared to get the ball rolling!!

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