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Trista

Lobectomy

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My dad was recently diagnosed with Stage 1 lung cancer and will be having a lobectomy on the 20th. I was wondering if anyone here has been through the process and how it went. I’m actually a CT Technologist so I know a bit about this since I see it everyday but I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as well. I’ve been asking my patients that have had a resection or lobectomy how their experience has been but the more info the better. We’re actually ready to do this and get this thing out of him since as of right now it hasn’t spread anywhere else. We have thankfully caught this early and are praying that a lobectomy will take care of it. 

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Good morning, Trista.  You'll hear from some of our other wonderful members today, but I'll share my experience.  I had an upper left lobectomy in February 2016.  I was in the hospital for 6 days but left, thankfully, with no tubes of any kind.  I had surgery on a Monday, and was walking around ICU on Tuesday.  The sooner your dad is up and moving, the better.  I felt like someone had kicked me in my ribs for a few months, but my only significant side effect was spasms - similar to muscle spasms but so much worse.  I have some permanent nerve damage but I consider it a small price to pay.

If you can, get your dad a wedge pillow to help him sleep at an angle.  Sleeping with the head up a little more seems to help.  I also walked every day following surgery, and made a little progress each day.

I hope your dad's surgery is successful and uneventful.  Let us know how we can help you and your dad.

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Hi Trista

 I had a lobectomy in May of this year and came through it with flying colors. I also had NSCLC in my upper right lobe Stage 1a and had the upper right Lobe removed. I was in the Hospital for 7 days, and they had me up and walking the halls the same afternoon of the surgery. I had an epidural place in my back at the surgical site to help with pain. This was very nice because I could bath the area with the medication as needed. My chest tube did need to stay in all 7 days but came home without it. Please make sure your Father is careful with the small thin line of the epidural from the pump to the site, they can break very easily. which mine did on day 5, and they could not reinstall it because it would introduce bacteria. therefore needless to say the onset of pain was becoming unbearable until the pain management team was able to come up with the right combination of pain medications. So please tell him to be very careful with this very thin line. Mine was also an early fine, and there was no other signs of cancer anywhere else, 28 nodes tested negative as well. I was very blessed as I am sure that is how you and your family feel as well. I wish you the best and will include your family in my prayers. 

 JWH. 

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Hi Trista!

I'm glad you found the Lungevity forums!  I was thinking about my response to you on the facebook forum last night and wanted to include 1 more bit of information...my mom had some recurring pain at the incision area, as well as, daily shoulder pain as a result of the surgery - both are completely normal.  At first my mom was very concerned that the cancer had moved into her shoulder due to the constant pain, but tests showed it hadn't and her doc explained that there are nerve endings in the area of our shoulder blade that relate to the lung (he said it much more technically, but that is the basic message).

I also wanted to say that my mom is not the picture of health to begin with - she was obese at the time, COPD, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  So, if my mom can have great results, I think anyone can! 

We have the same philosophy - cut it out if you can! And although my mom had had a recurrence of NSCLC, we are so happy that she had the surgery to remove what was in her lung.

Take Care,

Steff

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Hi Trista,

 

 

 

 

Hi Trista and welcome!

I had a lower right lobectomy a year ago. It was done by VATS (video assisted thoracic surgery). They took out 27 mediastinal nodes. I was amaze they could get all that stuff out through such a small incision. I was in the hospital for one night and released the next day with  chest tube in place. The chest tube was in for 10 days because I continued to leak air and fluid. I was up walking in the hospital the day of surgery and taking short walks around my neighborhood a couple of days later, in an oversized raincoat to cover the chest tube and bag. I had some pain, not to the extent some others have roported.  The pain was mostly due to the tube. I learned not to move in certain ways to avoid stabbing pain from it. I had oxycodone which I took at least some of the time until the tube was removed. I transitioned to tylenol and ibuprofen. I needed help changing dressings until the tube was out. Other than that, I was pretty much able to take care of myself, except for not being able to lift anything over, as i recall, about 5 pounds.  Within a couple of months I felt back to normal. I don't have any trouble breathing, allthough I sometimes have had some alarming breath sounds. My cancer was non-small-cell, 1A, and I didn't need any treatment other than the surgery. I have CTs every 6 months to watch for recurrence.

I second Susan's recommendation of a wedge pillow. I first tried to prop myself up with a bunch of pillows but ended up with a sore neck. The wedge really improved my comfort. A 12 inch wedge will give you about  a 45%, which was reommended to me. 

About me: I was 71 at the time of surgery and in good health despite haviing had 2 prior unrelated cancers. I was getting (and still get)  a fai r amount of non-strenuous excercise, walking and water aerobics. My lung function before surgery was very good.   Having had  really extensive open surgery for a prior cancer and having heard a lot about pain with lobectomy, I was surprised to find that my lobectomy was fairly easy.

Is your dad's surgery going to be VATS? 

I wish him all the best, and you too.  Keep us up to date on how it goes.

Bridget O

 

 

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Thank you all so much for your reply’s. It sounds like we’re making the right decision and that’s a big relief. It’s also comforting to know that everyone has done well with the surgery. I pray my dad is as strong as all y’all were. 

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Bridget O. 

I belive they are doing a VATS on him. They didn’t say that was what it’s called but it’s done with a camera and 3 small incisions. It’s seems like it’s a pretty straight forward surgery and from what you’ve said it seems that way too. 

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I'll throw in my two cents.  I had VATS for an upper left lobectomy in July.  The surgery itself went fine, but I had a small complication that was developing at the time I was discharged.  I had crepitus (also known as subcutaneous emphysema), which has nothing to do with what is usually referred to as emphysema--it was a small air leak that caused air bubbles under the skin, making my neck and face swell up like a balloon.  So I had to go back in for a few days with a chest tube to get properly deflated.  Apart from that little detour, everything went great--I was back to work about a week after I was released from the hospital the second time (desk job), and feeling almost completely back to normal within a few weeks.  Right now I still feel a twinge if I have a sharp intake of breath (e.g., right before I sneeze), and a bit of numbness right around the incisions.  But no shortness of breath or anything that seriously bothers me.

Hopefully all will go as well for your dad!

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