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Bridget O, Joy Marie, Shelby, Lexie... Wow. What an amazing group of women (I think we're all women!!). Thank you all for your time in responding. ALL was helpful. Bridget - I appreciated hearing what your experiences were and what you could do for yourself following surgery... It makes me feel better prepared and hopeful. Joy Marie - Thanks for the tip on the videos; I just watched a few and had my son watch the after surgery one (he found it helpful as well!). Shelby - You have been absolutely amazing in posting here re: your surgery. I am in awe every day that you have been able to share your experiences and that you are doing so well. What a strong person you must be! Lexie... Well, by the time I got to your post and encouraging words, the tears were flowing. Always so positive (thanks for injecting me with some of it... again!). Thank you, Lexie... I am not good at sitting still and have plenty to do (ha!) before my surgery date, which is a blessing in many ways to keep my mind off of stuff (well, sort of!). I hope I do as well as you did post-surgery... I love to walk/hike so hoping I'll be able to use that love / need to help me in my recovery. It helps with the depression right now, too, versus medication. But if it gets too bad or out of control, I will speak to a professional about this.
I think I just really needed a little boost of confidence in all of this again. I feel much better... thanks to all of you! Thank goodness for this site... It has been a blessing for me to not feel alone. 😀
I am normally a pretty sanguine/laid-back person, but I remember being very SHORT on patience the week or so before my surgery. Just roll with it and let yourself be a little freaked out--it's scary stuff. Just try not to get too carried away with it. My bet is that as soon as you get through the surgery you'll feel much calmer and better.
My nodes were just taken as part of the surgery--I don't think they were examined until afterward. Mine were all non-cancerous.
The nursing staff can help you figure out when/how to take care of the hygiene. If you have to be a little "funky" for a few days, it really isn't a disaster. You should be able to bathe with a washcloth and Bridget's idea about dry shampoo is a good one. But it shouldn't be more than a few days at most before you can shower. I had a home health aide come and give me a hand changing the dressings so I could shower. You just want to avoid getting the incision wet. The nurse navigator at the hospital made arrangements for the home health aide through my insurance. I had just a couple of visits.
Dealing with the unknown sucks. BUT keep reminding yourself that your cancer (assuming that's what it is) was caught very early, and you are in about as good a position as you can be in. Do let the surgeon know your concerns about your arm position and circulation. I had the inflatable things around my legs to maintain circulation till I could get up and around. Unless there is a complication you won't be immobile for long. Walking around is very good for you, and with VATS, you should have very little pain after the first couple of days. I think I used the prescription (narcotic) pain meds the first day after I got home, and from there it was just ibuprofen.
Shelkay had to give herself injections with blood thinners, but that's not a normal procedure. Chances are you won't be dealing with that.
Do your best to stay busy--stuff like dealing with the banking changes can help take your mind off some of the other stuff. I had a whole bunch of little projects like that to keep me occupied so I didn't just sit around worrying.
You (and your son) will be just FINE. I'd bet money on it.
Hi, this is Shelby (Shelkay1).I just had my VATS lobectomy on the 14th. It was done on a Friday & I was discharged on Monday. I will try to answer what questions I can based on my experience, but it is my understanding that no cases are the same. 1st thing I have to say is stop stressing over it; a lobectomy is your best option at beating this. If you need help with the stress/depression, ask for it! Do what you comfortably you can to get stuff done at home to make it more comfortable & keep yourself occupied now, but don't sweat the small stuff and ASK FOR HELP!
1) My medianoscopy was done about 6 weeks prior to lobectomy. It came back clean, surgeon said if anything came back in the lymph nodes, lobectomy was not doable. Chemo or radiation would be required 1st. I'd guess because of your family situation & distance they are doing it all at once for your benefit.
2) Hygiene can probably different in each case,too. My incisions were "glued" shut so after tube was out, I would have been able to shower as soon as I wanted; same with brushing my teeth. I maybe shouldn't say this, but I was in so much pain the 1st couple of days, it was not high on my list of priorities.
3 & 4) Anytime you have surgery, blood clots are always a possibility. The longer the surgery & the longer it takes for you to get moving, the greater your risk. They did use the inflatable things on my legs all the time I was in bed; when in the chair I was encouraged to rotate my ankles & tap my foot. It was me who was sent home on blood thinners. It is normal practice for my thoracic surgeon, I was told about it in advance. It is enoxaprin, I do it twice a day in my belly (very much like an insulin injection). They sent me home with a 4 week supply.
I do know I have cancer, adinocarcinoma. I also have histoplasmosis, a fungal infection. My cancer has not yet been staged, hopefully I'll get some answers Tuesday when I go for my follow up apt.
Lastly... just breathe... you can do this! I was told the alternative to dealing with this is dying with it. I'm not ready to let it have me without a fight.