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Curt

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  1. Like
    Curt reacted to LouT in My Introduction   
    Wow, you folks are great.  Hearing your experiences is so much better than just reading a brochure telling me what to expect.  I do get that everyone is different, but I must admit that my anxiety level has definitely gone down a bit since reading your experiences and hearing so many hopeful and positive things.  I'm also struck by the strength and courage I hear in your stories.  I couldn't be happier that I found this forum and I hope one day to pay it forward.

    LouT
  2. Like
    Curt reacted to BridgetO in Husband newly diagnosed - looking for support   
    Hi Stacey and welcome. I had my right lower lobe removed by VATS a couple of years ago when I was 71. I'm not debilitated: far from it. I can walk a couple of miles with no problem. This winter i've been working part time in an emergency shelter for homeless families, which is a pretty active job. I can reassure your husband that the vast majority of people who have lobectomies come out just about as fit as they went in, after a reasonable recovery period. My surgeon said that unless i was planning to run a marathon (which I wasn't! )I probably wouldn't notice a difference in my lung capacity, and that's been true.
    Bridget O
     
  3. Like
    Curt got a reaction from Rower Michelle in My Introduction   
    I had my surgery at 4 pm on a Tuesday.  I was up and walking slowly around the hospital wing the next morning.  They had me doing a mile of walking a day.  I went home on Thursday.  Going home will depend on when they can take your chest tube out.  I’ve heard of some people who went home with it in, I had to have it out before they would let me go home.  Walking and doing the breathing exercises speeds that up.   I continued walking in my house every day and doing breathing exercises.  I was told I could drive as soon as I stopped taking the pain meds.  I really needed the pain meds while I was in the hospital.  They helped with the pain but I felt like I was in the clouds and was also concerned about constipation.  I stopped taking oxy on the Saturday after surgery.  I switched to alternating Excedrin and Tylenol.  One side affect of the Tylenol and Excedrin was night sweats.  I would wake up drenched every morning.  I started to only take it as needed and tried to avoid it before bed.  They gave me nerve blocking medicine, Gabapentin, that was supposed to help with the nerve pain.  It looked like the northern lights in my head when I’d close my eyes.  My head also felt like I had a concussion.  I stopped taking that one on the Sunday after surgery.  The nerve pain bothered me, but I found the side affects of the meds worse.  They gave me  stool softeners. Between those, drinking a lot of water and moving around as much as possible I returned to normal bowel function in about a week.  I drove myself to get s haircut the Wednesday the following week after surgery and went into the office for a couple of hours on that Friday.  I was tired after doing almost anything.  I’d wake up, walk, take a shower, Eat breakfast then take a nap.  In the afternoon I’d wake up from my nap, walk, eat lunch, go do something like get a hair cut then take a nap.  It was a tired like I’ve never felt before. The kind of tired where I could fall asleep standing up.  The tired lasted three to four weeks.  The incisions under my arm hurt and had quite a bit of swelling.  I was not able to let my arm rest at my side for almost four weeks.  I carried a small pillow agains my hip and in my hand to keep the weight of my arm off my incision.  I was six weeks out this last Tuesday.  I still have some nerve discomfort, not pain.  I’m  told that could last a long time.  Internally I never experienced much pain with normal breathing.  I was really surprised by that.  It would only hurt if I coughed or sneezed   Sneezing was worse for me.  That small pillow I used under my arm doubled as something to squeeze when I had to cough or sneeze.  At this point I can do both without any pain.  There is a pulling sensation, but no pain.    
    The fact that you exercise a lot will be very helpful with your recovery and ability to regain your lung capacity.  I’m 43 and in average physical health.  I’d call myself dad fit.  I have three young sons and they keep me going.  I was able to max out the spirometer before surgery, 4000ml of lung capacity   I’m back to 3250ml.  I’m laser focused on getting all the way back.  I’m able to do light exercise with no issue.  I walk at a fast pace on the treadmill for a mile and a half.  I play in the yard with the kids and coach their baseball teams.  I do get winded if I elevate my activity to medium/high.  It is harder right now to catch my breath but I expect that to go away soon.  
    I went into my surgery not knowing if I had cancer and if it was going to be a wedge resection (what your are having) or a full lobectomy (what you will have if it is cancer).  I would figure after two weeks I was 60% recovered, four weeks 80% and after six weeks I’m 95%.  Lexi gave some great advice about planning ahead.  Hope for the best results but plan for the worst.  If you aren’t able to drive yourself you may be able to take an Uber with your wife.  Meal prep now so you have a lot of meals ready.  Order in.  Get your bed set up.  Have a chair set up you can sit in when you are tired.  Pay all your bills for May before hand and put yourself in the best position to have time to heal.  
    I completely understand not wanting to concede it’s cancer.  You should hold out hope it’s not.  I came to this site six months before knowing what it was.  It was the only place I could find answers.  If it is benign everyone here will be thrilled for you, if it is cancer everyone here will support you.  It sounds like you are in good health and will breeze through this.  Hopefully it’s just a biopsy.  
  4. Like
    Curt got a reaction from LouT in Husband newly diagnosed - looking for support   
    Hi Stacey.  Welcome.  I’m glad you found us but sorry you had to.  I am 43 years old, never smoker and had a right upper lobe lobectomy via VATS a little over six weeks ago.  I had the same images of being frail and walking around on oxygen as your husband has.  I don’t have any residual breathing issues.  I’m able to run, play in the yard with my kids and be active.  I do get out of breath quicker than I use to but I’m motivated to get back to 110%.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I don’t require any follow up treatment, just periodic CT scans for monitoring.  
     
     
     
  5. Like
    Curt reacted to LexieCat in My Introduction   
    I needed the narcotic pain meds only for the first day or two after I got home.  They make me nauseous, so I always work to get off them as soon as I can.  High-dose ibuprofen did the job just fine after that.  I did have some constipation, which happens after almost any kind of surgery, especially with the heavy-duty pain meds.  I drank a lot of high-fiber mix and it didn't last too long.  
    I didn't have extreme tiredness.  Nor was the pain especially bothersome after the first couple of weeks--I'd describe it more as soreness, like a pulled muscle.  Everyone is different--as Curt said, prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.  My bet is it will be a lot less daunting than you think it will.  
  6. Like
    Curt got a reaction from Tom Galli in My Introduction   
    I had my surgery at 4 pm on a Tuesday.  I was up and walking slowly around the hospital wing the next morning.  They had me doing a mile of walking a day.  I went home on Thursday.  Going home will depend on when they can take your chest tube out.  I’ve heard of some people who went home with it in, I had to have it out before they would let me go home.  Walking and doing the breathing exercises speeds that up.   I continued walking in my house every day and doing breathing exercises.  I was told I could drive as soon as I stopped taking the pain meds.  I really needed the pain meds while I was in the hospital.  They helped with the pain but I felt like I was in the clouds and was also concerned about constipation.  I stopped taking oxy on the Saturday after surgery.  I switched to alternating Excedrin and Tylenol.  One side affect of the Tylenol and Excedrin was night sweats.  I would wake up drenched every morning.  I started to only take it as needed and tried to avoid it before bed.  They gave me nerve blocking medicine, Gabapentin, that was supposed to help with the nerve pain.  It looked like the northern lights in my head when I’d close my eyes.  My head also felt like I had a concussion.  I stopped taking that one on the Sunday after surgery.  The nerve pain bothered me, but I found the side affects of the meds worse.  They gave me  stool softeners. Between those, drinking a lot of water and moving around as much as possible I returned to normal bowel function in about a week.  I drove myself to get s haircut the Wednesday the following week after surgery and went into the office for a couple of hours on that Friday.  I was tired after doing almost anything.  I’d wake up, walk, take a shower, Eat breakfast then take a nap.  In the afternoon I’d wake up from my nap, walk, eat lunch, go do something like get a hair cut then take a nap.  It was a tired like I’ve never felt before. The kind of tired where I could fall asleep standing up.  The tired lasted three to four weeks.  The incisions under my arm hurt and had quite a bit of swelling.  I was not able to let my arm rest at my side for almost four weeks.  I carried a small pillow agains my hip and in my hand to keep the weight of my arm off my incision.  I was six weeks out this last Tuesday.  I still have some nerve discomfort, not pain.  I’m  told that could last a long time.  Internally I never experienced much pain with normal breathing.  I was really surprised by that.  It would only hurt if I coughed or sneezed   Sneezing was worse for me.  That small pillow I used under my arm doubled as something to squeeze when I had to cough or sneeze.  At this point I can do both without any pain.  There is a pulling sensation, but no pain.    
    The fact that you exercise a lot will be very helpful with your recovery and ability to regain your lung capacity.  I’m 43 and in average physical health.  I’d call myself dad fit.  I have three young sons and they keep me going.  I was able to max out the spirometer before surgery, 4000ml of lung capacity   I’m back to 3250ml.  I’m laser focused on getting all the way back.  I’m able to do light exercise with no issue.  I walk at a fast pace on the treadmill for a mile and a half.  I play in the yard with the kids and coach their baseball teams.  I do get winded if I elevate my activity to medium/high.  It is harder right now to catch my breath but I expect that to go away soon.  
    I went into my surgery not knowing if I had cancer and if it was going to be a wedge resection (what your are having) or a full lobectomy (what you will have if it is cancer).  I would figure after two weeks I was 60% recovered, four weeks 80% and after six weeks I’m 95%.  Lexi gave some great advice about planning ahead.  Hope for the best results but plan for the worst.  If you aren’t able to drive yourself you may be able to take an Uber with your wife.  Meal prep now so you have a lot of meals ready.  Order in.  Get your bed set up.  Have a chair set up you can sit in when you are tired.  Pay all your bills for May before hand and put yourself in the best position to have time to heal.  
    I completely understand not wanting to concede it’s cancer.  You should hold out hope it’s not.  I came to this site six months before knowing what it was.  It was the only place I could find answers.  If it is benign everyone here will be thrilled for you, if it is cancer everyone here will support you.  It sounds like you are in good health and will breeze through this.  Hopefully it’s just a biopsy.  
  7. Like
    Curt got a reaction from Staceyj in Husband newly diagnosed - looking for support   
    Hi Stacey.  Welcome.  I’m glad you found us but sorry you had to.  I am 43 years old, never smoker and had a right upper lobe lobectomy via VATS a little over six weeks ago.  I had the same images of being frail and walking around on oxygen as your husband has.  I don’t have any residual breathing issues.  I’m able to run, play in the yard with my kids and be active.  I do get out of breath quicker than I use to but I’m motivated to get back to 110%.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I don’t require any follow up treatment, just periodic CT scans for monitoring.  
     
     
     
  8. Like
    Curt reacted to LexieCat in My Introduction   
    Hi, Lou, and welcome from me, too!
    Has the doctor said why it's necessary to use an open thoracic incision for the surgery?  I'm with Curt--the VATS is WAY less intense and invasive--less pain and fewer complications.  There ARE sometimes situations (most often, the location of the nodule) where VATS isn't possible or practical or safe.  But most lobectomies--especially for early/small nodules/tumors--can be done by VATS.  Some hospitals and surgeons aren't equipped to do them--they do require significant skill and experience--but if that's the case I think I'd check around to see if there's somewhere you could have the less invasive surgery.
    Glad you found us--this is a great place for knowledge and support.
  9. Like
    Curt reacted to LouT in My Introduction   
    LexieCat and Curt,
    Thanks so much for your responses.  They did try to do a CT Guided Needle Biopsy, but the small size and location of the nodule kept them from feeling confident that they could get the sample accurately so we are doing the open biopsy.  The doctor told me he will be doing this using Robotic approach which should reduce my hospital stay.  I'm not sure how that compares with VAT, but I believe it is similar. 
    Curt, you mention the recovery time and that is of real interest to me.  You see, I'm the only caretaker for my wife (early stages of Alzheimer's) so, I really want to get back on my feet as quickly as possible.  In my case it is the lower lobe and I've been told that I will have a good recovery, but that when I workout (5-6 times a week aerobic and weights) that I will feel winded and that will take longer to accommodate to.  Is that your experience as well?  I do remember recovering from colorectal was a bear, but I've heard that lung surgery is tougher.  And the doctor is saying that as long as the nodule is primary lung cells and not migratory from my colon (which he doubts after 9 years and a clean PET Scan) then this could be a cure.  I'm praying that he is correct and encouraged to hear you say that your recovery wasn't terrible.
    I'm also glad I found this group.  I know what I'm about to say will sound pretty strange, but when searching for info on the surgery I saw this group a week or so ago but avoided it because it would seem like an acceptance that I had lung cancer.  Now that I've read some of the thoughts and stories from others I'm truly happy I came back to the forum.
    Thanks again,
    LouT
  10. Like
    Curt reacted to LexieCat in My Introduction   
    Robotic surgery is virtually identical to VATS--it's just that a robot is used.  The incisions are the same, and so should your recovery time--fast, in other words!  It was the "open thoracic" that threw me, but maybe that's what they call it when referring to a biopsy (as opposed to a needle biopsy).  
    I was back to work (desk job) just a couple of weeks later, and after a couple of months was feeling almost completely back to the way I felt before the surgery.  The fact that you work out regularly should help a LOT.  I'm much more sedentary, but even so, I was walking a couple of miles a day, several days a week, only a few weeks afterward.  I notice no shortness of breath, either.  You might notice some difference, but it's not likely to be much.  
    I'd suggest using the time between now and May 2nd to get whatever help you need lined up, as well as doing whatever needs doing for the next few weeks. Also suggest you pick up a wedge pillow--it will make sleeping more comfortable the first couple of weeks to be slightly elevated.  You might cough quite a bit for a few days.  Actually, the sore abs from coughing was the greatest pain I had after the first few days.  But the coughing is encouraged, to help keep your lungs clear.  They will give you breathing exercises--suggest doing those religiously, and also getting up and around as soon as you feel up to it.  My bet is you'll be able to do just about anything non-strenuous within a week or two--walking, driving, etc.  
     
  11. Like
    Curt reacted to LouT in My Introduction   
    LexieCat,
    Wow, you recovered very quickly.  I'm so glad to hear about the walking as well.  I do 5-6 miles/day about 6 days a week and do weights 5 days/week.  I've read some posts where people were runners and are working back to that.  The wedge pillow is a great idea, thanks for that.  I've been told (by surgeon's pre-op nurse) that he gets his patients up day of surgery to walk to and sit on a chair.  Sounds rough, but she echoes what you are saying, that it's all about keeping the lungs expanded and working.  The surgeon told me that I shouldn't drive for the first three weeks, but it is nice to hear you were able to do so a week or two afterward.  My wife goes for treatments and I wouldn't want to send her in an Uber.
    I do have another question and it's about pain meds.  How long afterward did you find you needed them and how did you avoid digestive slowdown (something I had a problem with last time) while taking them?
    Thanks again for the info.  Now, I just need to stop waking up all night long.  As Curt said this is the most stressful thing. 
    LouT
  12. Like
    Curt got a reaction from LouT in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    I commented on your other post but didn’t give much detail on my experience with a VATS lobectomy.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I am a 43 year old male in average physical health.  I had my surgery six weeks ago.  The recovery time is different for everyone.  I was really surprised how little difference I noticed with my breathing after surgery  when not being very active.  When I would go for walks I would notice it a little more.  Six weeks later I can be mildly active without an issue.  The biggest thing is when I do lose my breath it is harder to catch it.  I was in the hospital for three days.  I had the surgery at 4 pm and they had me up and walking the following day.  You will have three incisions on your side. One just under your armpit, one a bit lower than that for a chest tube and one on your back.  The incision for the chest tube was the most uncomfortable for me.  Once the tube was removed a lot of the discomfort was gone.  That incision still has some nerve  discomfort, not pain.  The incision under my arm had the most swelling and was the most painful.  That took about four weeks to feel better.  It was hard to put my arm down at my side completely.  I was back to work after four weeks.  Some suggestions and things to know.  
    1. Exercise as much as you can pre surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity   
    2. Walk as much as you can after surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity, reduce swelling and speed your recovery   
    3. Use the spirometer breathing machine before surgery and after.  It helps build lung capacity before surgery and after it helped dry my lungs of any fluid.  
    4. You will want to be propped up after surgery when in bed.  I used a wedge pillow.  I needed it for two weeks   
    5. Have an arm chair close to your bed at home so you get up out of bed and spend most of your time in it or walking around.  I did that for about a week before venturing onto the couch.  
    6. Get a small pillow that you can squeeze when you have to cough or sneeze.  I didn’t cough much right after surgery but they encourage you to in order to clear some of the fluid from your lungs that builds up during surgery.  I also held the pillow under my arm when walking around to keep my arm from resting on the incision.  I needed that about three weeks.  
    7. I have a lump/tickle in my through that caused me to cough more now than at first.  After two weeks I felt some pulling inside when I coughed.  I cough now without any issues.  
    8. You will be tired for a while after surgery.  In the days after surgery I slept a lot.  In  the weeks after I took a nap every day.  At this point I don’t need any naps but sleep about an hour more a night than I use to.  
    Generally the surgery was not as bad as I thought it would be.  There was discomfort and pain but it was manageable with medication.  I was feeling a lot better after two weeks, four weeks I was out and about with some milder pain and discomfort and six week later I have some mild nerve discomfort and I’m about 80% back to my presurgery stamina.  I’ve made sure I am as active as possible.  The only residual things are the lump/tickle, some coughing from that and the need to be conscious of my breathing when active to make sure I don’t get too out of breath.  It’s more difficult to catch my breath.  I walk a mile and half on the treadmill, coach my kids baseball teams, go on bike rides with them and I played dodge ball and kickball with them last weekend. It has not changed my life in any discernible way.  I don’t require any follow up treatment.  Just periodic scans.  
    I was scared before surgery too.  Now that I’ve gone through it I’m glad I decided to do it.  It is the most affective treatment for early stage lung cancer.  
  13. Like
    Curt got a reaction from BridgetO in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    I commented on your other post but didn’t give much detail on my experience with a VATS lobectomy.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I am a 43 year old male in average physical health.  I had my surgery six weeks ago.  The recovery time is different for everyone.  I was really surprised how little difference I noticed with my breathing after surgery  when not being very active.  When I would go for walks I would notice it a little more.  Six weeks later I can be mildly active without an issue.  The biggest thing is when I do lose my breath it is harder to catch it.  I was in the hospital for three days.  I had the surgery at 4 pm and they had me up and walking the following day.  You will have three incisions on your side. One just under your armpit, one a bit lower than that for a chest tube and one on your back.  The incision for the chest tube was the most uncomfortable for me.  Once the tube was removed a lot of the discomfort was gone.  That incision still has some nerve  discomfort, not pain.  The incision under my arm had the most swelling and was the most painful.  That took about four weeks to feel better.  It was hard to put my arm down at my side completely.  I was back to work after four weeks.  Some suggestions and things to know.  
    1. Exercise as much as you can pre surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity   
    2. Walk as much as you can after surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity, reduce swelling and speed your recovery   
    3. Use the spirometer breathing machine before surgery and after.  It helps build lung capacity before surgery and after it helped dry my lungs of any fluid.  
    4. You will want to be propped up after surgery when in bed.  I used a wedge pillow.  I needed it for two weeks   
    5. Have an arm chair close to your bed at home so you get up out of bed and spend most of your time in it or walking around.  I did that for about a week before venturing onto the couch.  
    6. Get a small pillow that you can squeeze when you have to cough or sneeze.  I didn’t cough much right after surgery but they encourage you to in order to clear some of the fluid from your lungs that builds up during surgery.  I also held the pillow under my arm when walking around to keep my arm from resting on the incision.  I needed that about three weeks.  
    7. I have a lump/tickle in my through that caused me to cough more now than at first.  After two weeks I felt some pulling inside when I coughed.  I cough now without any issues.  
    8. You will be tired for a while after surgery.  In the days after surgery I slept a lot.  In  the weeks after I took a nap every day.  At this point I don’t need any naps but sleep about an hour more a night than I use to.  
    Generally the surgery was not as bad as I thought it would be.  There was discomfort and pain but it was manageable with medication.  I was feeling a lot better after two weeks, four weeks I was out and about with some milder pain and discomfort and six week later I have some mild nerve discomfort and I’m about 80% back to my presurgery stamina.  I’ve made sure I am as active as possible.  The only residual things are the lump/tickle, some coughing from that and the need to be conscious of my breathing when active to make sure I don’t get too out of breath.  It’s more difficult to catch my breath.  I walk a mile and half on the treadmill, coach my kids baseball teams, go on bike rides with them and I played dodge ball and kickball with them last weekend. It has not changed my life in any discernible way.  I don’t require any follow up treatment.  Just periodic scans.  
    I was scared before surgery too.  Now that I’ve gone through it I’m glad I decided to do it.  It is the most affective treatment for early stage lung cancer.  
  14. Like
    Curt reacted to PaulaC in Sandbox   
    What did they decide against ? 
    I did the same treatment plan last summer.  Radiation with Chemo cocktail. It shrank the tumor and killed the cancer in my lymph nodes. I was able to have a left upper lobectomy in October to remove what was left after my treatment. 
    So far I’m still NED and hoping you can achieve the same results. 
  15. Like
    Curt reacted to Arthur in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    Thanks Curt for taking the time to explain all this. It is very helpful.
    Arthur
  16. Like
    Curt got a reaction from Lisa L in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    I commented on your other post but didn’t give much detail on my experience with a VATS lobectomy.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I am a 43 year old male in average physical health.  I had my surgery six weeks ago.  The recovery time is different for everyone.  I was really surprised how little difference I noticed with my breathing after surgery  when not being very active.  When I would go for walks I would notice it a little more.  Six weeks later I can be mildly active without an issue.  The biggest thing is when I do lose my breath it is harder to catch it.  I was in the hospital for three days.  I had the surgery at 4 pm and they had me up and walking the following day.  You will have three incisions on your side. One just under your armpit, one a bit lower than that for a chest tube and one on your back.  The incision for the chest tube was the most uncomfortable for me.  Once the tube was removed a lot of the discomfort was gone.  That incision still has some nerve  discomfort, not pain.  The incision under my arm had the most swelling and was the most painful.  That took about four weeks to feel better.  It was hard to put my arm down at my side completely.  I was back to work after four weeks.  Some suggestions and things to know.  
    1. Exercise as much as you can pre surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity   
    2. Walk as much as you can after surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity, reduce swelling and speed your recovery   
    3. Use the spirometer breathing machine before surgery and after.  It helps build lung capacity before surgery and after it helped dry my lungs of any fluid.  
    4. You will want to be propped up after surgery when in bed.  I used a wedge pillow.  I needed it for two weeks   
    5. Have an arm chair close to your bed at home so you get up out of bed and spend most of your time in it or walking around.  I did that for about a week before venturing onto the couch.  
    6. Get a small pillow that you can squeeze when you have to cough or sneeze.  I didn’t cough much right after surgery but they encourage you to in order to clear some of the fluid from your lungs that builds up during surgery.  I also held the pillow under my arm when walking around to keep my arm from resting on the incision.  I needed that about three weeks.  
    7. I have a lump/tickle in my through that caused me to cough more now than at first.  After two weeks I felt some pulling inside when I coughed.  I cough now without any issues.  
    8. You will be tired for a while after surgery.  In the days after surgery I slept a lot.  In  the weeks after I took a nap every day.  At this point I don’t need any naps but sleep about an hour more a night than I use to.  
    Generally the surgery was not as bad as I thought it would be.  There was discomfort and pain but it was manageable with medication.  I was feeling a lot better after two weeks, four weeks I was out and about with some milder pain and discomfort and six week later I have some mild nerve discomfort and I’m about 80% back to my presurgery stamina.  I’ve made sure I am as active as possible.  The only residual things are the lump/tickle, some coughing from that and the need to be conscious of my breathing when active to make sure I don’t get too out of breath.  It’s more difficult to catch my breath.  I walk a mile and half on the treadmill, coach my kids baseball teams, go on bike rides with them and I played dodge ball and kickball with them last weekend. It has not changed my life in any discernible way.  I don’t require any follow up treatment.  Just periodic scans.  
    I was scared before surgery too.  Now that I’ve gone through it I’m glad I decided to do it.  It is the most affective treatment for early stage lung cancer.  
  17. Like
    Curt got a reaction from Tom Galli in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    I commented on your other post but didn’t give much detail on my experience with a VATS lobectomy.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I am a 43 year old male in average physical health.  I had my surgery six weeks ago.  The recovery time is different for everyone.  I was really surprised how little difference I noticed with my breathing after surgery  when not being very active.  When I would go for walks I would notice it a little more.  Six weeks later I can be mildly active without an issue.  The biggest thing is when I do lose my breath it is harder to catch it.  I was in the hospital for three days.  I had the surgery at 4 pm and they had me up and walking the following day.  You will have three incisions on your side. One just under your armpit, one a bit lower than that for a chest tube and one on your back.  The incision for the chest tube was the most uncomfortable for me.  Once the tube was removed a lot of the discomfort was gone.  That incision still has some nerve  discomfort, not pain.  The incision under my arm had the most swelling and was the most painful.  That took about four weeks to feel better.  It was hard to put my arm down at my side completely.  I was back to work after four weeks.  Some suggestions and things to know.  
    1. Exercise as much as you can pre surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity   
    2. Walk as much as you can after surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity, reduce swelling and speed your recovery   
    3. Use the spirometer breathing machine before surgery and after.  It helps build lung capacity before surgery and after it helped dry my lungs of any fluid.  
    4. You will want to be propped up after surgery when in bed.  I used a wedge pillow.  I needed it for two weeks   
    5. Have an arm chair close to your bed at home so you get up out of bed and spend most of your time in it or walking around.  I did that for about a week before venturing onto the couch.  
    6. Get a small pillow that you can squeeze when you have to cough or sneeze.  I didn’t cough much right after surgery but they encourage you to in order to clear some of the fluid from your lungs that builds up during surgery.  I also held the pillow under my arm when walking around to keep my arm from resting on the incision.  I needed that about three weeks.  
    7. I have a lump/tickle in my through that caused me to cough more now than at first.  After two weeks I felt some pulling inside when I coughed.  I cough now without any issues.  
    8. You will be tired for a while after surgery.  In the days after surgery I slept a lot.  In  the weeks after I took a nap every day.  At this point I don’t need any naps but sleep about an hour more a night than I use to.  
    Generally the surgery was not as bad as I thought it would be.  There was discomfort and pain but it was manageable with medication.  I was feeling a lot better after two weeks, four weeks I was out and about with some milder pain and discomfort and six week later I have some mild nerve discomfort and I’m about 80% back to my presurgery stamina.  I’ve made sure I am as active as possible.  The only residual things are the lump/tickle, some coughing from that and the need to be conscious of my breathing when active to make sure I don’t get too out of breath.  It’s more difficult to catch my breath.  I walk a mile and half on the treadmill, coach my kids baseball teams, go on bike rides with them and I played dodge ball and kickball with them last weekend. It has not changed my life in any discernible way.  I don’t require any follow up treatment.  Just periodic scans.  
    I was scared before surgery too.  Now that I’ve gone through it I’m glad I decided to do it.  It is the most affective treatment for early stage lung cancer.  
  18. Like
    Curt got a reaction from LexieCat in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    I commented on your other post but didn’t give much detail on my experience with a VATS lobectomy.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I am a 43 year old male in average physical health.  I had my surgery six weeks ago.  The recovery time is different for everyone.  I was really surprised how little difference I noticed with my breathing after surgery  when not being very active.  When I would go for walks I would notice it a little more.  Six weeks later I can be mildly active without an issue.  The biggest thing is when I do lose my breath it is harder to catch it.  I was in the hospital for three days.  I had the surgery at 4 pm and they had me up and walking the following day.  You will have three incisions on your side. One just under your armpit, one a bit lower than that for a chest tube and one on your back.  The incision for the chest tube was the most uncomfortable for me.  Once the tube was removed a lot of the discomfort was gone.  That incision still has some nerve  discomfort, not pain.  The incision under my arm had the most swelling and was the most painful.  That took about four weeks to feel better.  It was hard to put my arm down at my side completely.  I was back to work after four weeks.  Some suggestions and things to know.  
    1. Exercise as much as you can pre surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity   
    2. Walk as much as you can after surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity, reduce swelling and speed your recovery   
    3. Use the spirometer breathing machine before surgery and after.  It helps build lung capacity before surgery and after it helped dry my lungs of any fluid.  
    4. You will want to be propped up after surgery when in bed.  I used a wedge pillow.  I needed it for two weeks   
    5. Have an arm chair close to your bed at home so you get up out of bed and spend most of your time in it or walking around.  I did that for about a week before venturing onto the couch.  
    6. Get a small pillow that you can squeeze when you have to cough or sneeze.  I didn’t cough much right after surgery but they encourage you to in order to clear some of the fluid from your lungs that builds up during surgery.  I also held the pillow under my arm when walking around to keep my arm from resting on the incision.  I needed that about three weeks.  
    7. I have a lump/tickle in my through that caused me to cough more now than at first.  After two weeks I felt some pulling inside when I coughed.  I cough now without any issues.  
    8. You will be tired for a while after surgery.  In the days after surgery I slept a lot.  In  the weeks after I took a nap every day.  At this point I don’t need any naps but sleep about an hour more a night than I use to.  
    Generally the surgery was not as bad as I thought it would be.  There was discomfort and pain but it was manageable with medication.  I was feeling a lot better after two weeks, four weeks I was out and about with some milder pain and discomfort and six week later I have some mild nerve discomfort and I’m about 80% back to my presurgery stamina.  I’ve made sure I am as active as possible.  The only residual things are the lump/tickle, some coughing from that and the need to be conscious of my breathing when active to make sure I don’t get too out of breath.  It’s more difficult to catch my breath.  I walk a mile and half on the treadmill, coach my kids baseball teams, go on bike rides with them and I played dodge ball and kickball with them last weekend. It has not changed my life in any discernible way.  I don’t require any follow up treatment.  Just periodic scans.  
    I was scared before surgery too.  Now that I’ve gone through it I’m glad I decided to do it.  It is the most affective treatment for early stage lung cancer.  
  19. Like
    Curt reacted to Tom Galli in Introducing myself...   
    Welcome Arthur,
    Glad you joined us.
    I was diagnosed with NSCLC -- squamous cell -- at stage IIIB and had a complete pneumonectomy the old fashioned way, with a conventional J-shaped incision along my right side.  I had surgical complications followed by four recurrences but achieved NED -- no evidence of disease -- after cybersurgery in March 2007.  That was 15 years ago and my message to you is if I can live, so can you.
    Many here have had successful VATS resections and I'm sure you will connect with them soon.  This is a great place for questions.
    Stay the course.
    Tom
  20. Like
    Curt got a reaction from Rower Michelle in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    I commented on your other post but didn’t give much detail on my experience with a VATS lobectomy.  I had Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  I am a 43 year old male in average physical health.  I had my surgery six weeks ago.  The recovery time is different for everyone.  I was really surprised how little difference I noticed with my breathing after surgery  when not being very active.  When I would go for walks I would notice it a little more.  Six weeks later I can be mildly active without an issue.  The biggest thing is when I do lose my breath it is harder to catch it.  I was in the hospital for three days.  I had the surgery at 4 pm and they had me up and walking the following day.  You will have three incisions on your side. One just under your armpit, one a bit lower than that for a chest tube and one on your back.  The incision for the chest tube was the most uncomfortable for me.  Once the tube was removed a lot of the discomfort was gone.  That incision still has some nerve  discomfort, not pain.  The incision under my arm had the most swelling and was the most painful.  That took about four weeks to feel better.  It was hard to put my arm down at my side completely.  I was back to work after four weeks.  Some suggestions and things to know.  
    1. Exercise as much as you can pre surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity   
    2. Walk as much as you can after surgery.  It will help build your lung capacity, reduce swelling and speed your recovery   
    3. Use the spirometer breathing machine before surgery and after.  It helps build lung capacity before surgery and after it helped dry my lungs of any fluid.  
    4. You will want to be propped up after surgery when in bed.  I used a wedge pillow.  I needed it for two weeks   
    5. Have an arm chair close to your bed at home so you get up out of bed and spend most of your time in it or walking around.  I did that for about a week before venturing onto the couch.  
    6. Get a small pillow that you can squeeze when you have to cough or sneeze.  I didn’t cough much right after surgery but they encourage you to in order to clear some of the fluid from your lungs that builds up during surgery.  I also held the pillow under my arm when walking around to keep my arm from resting on the incision.  I needed that about three weeks.  
    7. I have a lump/tickle in my through that caused me to cough more now than at first.  After two weeks I felt some pulling inside when I coughed.  I cough now without any issues.  
    8. You will be tired for a while after surgery.  In the days after surgery I slept a lot.  In  the weeks after I took a nap every day.  At this point I don’t need any naps but sleep about an hour more a night than I use to.  
    Generally the surgery was not as bad as I thought it would be.  There was discomfort and pain but it was manageable with medication.  I was feeling a lot better after two weeks, four weeks I was out and about with some milder pain and discomfort and six week later I have some mild nerve discomfort and I’m about 80% back to my presurgery stamina.  I’ve made sure I am as active as possible.  The only residual things are the lump/tickle, some coughing from that and the need to be conscious of my breathing when active to make sure I don’t get too out of breath.  It’s more difficult to catch my breath.  I walk a mile and half on the treadmill, coach my kids baseball teams, go on bike rides with them and I played dodge ball and kickball with them last weekend. It has not changed my life in any discernible way.  I don’t require any follow up treatment.  Just periodic scans.  
    I was scared before surgery too.  Now that I’ve gone through it I’m glad I decided to do it.  It is the most affective treatment for early stage lung cancer.  
  21. Like
    Curt reacted to LexieCat in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    Hi, Arthur,
    VATS surgery is, as surgeries go, a virtual piece of cake.  My C-section hurt more and required a longer time to recover from than my VATS (mine removed the upper left lobe).  Actually, removal of the lobe, if the nodule is found to be cancerous, is the BEST way to completely eliminate the cancer.  My doctor did the wedge resection first to examine the nodule and then removed the remainder of the lobe (same surgery--they looked at it while I was still in surgery).  
    Have you had a biopsy, or is there another reason they think the nodule is likely to be cancer?  Have you had a PET scan?  Sometimes (as in my case) they do the lobectomy without a biopsy due to the very suspicious appearance of the nodule (mine was spiculated).  Yours is quite a bit larger than mine was, though, so maybe they are going by size.  
    My surgery was almost two years ago.  I was out with friends at a concert two weeks after the surgery.  I was taking long walks around the same time.  I have NO shortness of breath or any other lingering problems.  I feel great, and because my tumor turned out to be Stage 1b adenocarcinoma, all I need to do is go for scans every six months.  After this July, assuming that visit goes well, the scans will drop back to annual.
    Cancer is always scary to deal with--especially lung cancer.  But yours is still small and an early "catch," it appears, so you may be one of the very fortunate.  One of the reasons lung cancer is so deadly is that it is often not found until there are symptoms, which means the cancer has already spread.  
    Feel free to ask any questions.  But seriously, the surgery itself is nothing to get too stressed out about.  You will be back to normal in no time, most likely.
  22. Like
    Curt reacted to BridgetO in Lower Right Lobe VATS Resection Recovery Experience   
    Hi Arthur and welcome,  My experience is pretty similar to LexiCat's. I had a lower right VATS  lobectomy in November 2016. My single nodule was smaller than yours. I was told it couldn't be biopsied by needle or bronchoscope because of the location, and also because of the location they had to  take the whole lobe and not just a wedge. The surgeon and the pulmonologist ageed it had the appearance of cancer on the CT scan . I had a PET scan but nothing lit up-- I understand this isn't unusual for small, slow growing tumors. Diagnosis after surgery was adenocarcinoma Stage 1a.
    I was discharged from the hospital the day after the surgery, with a chest drain tube in place because I had an air leak. Some hospitals prefer to keep people in until the tube can come out. My tube was in for 10 days. The tube was uncomfortable, but I learned how to move carefully to avoid most pain. I was out walking around the neighborhoos  a couple of days after the surgery. My pain was minimal after the tube was out.
    My surgeon told me that, unless I was planning to run a marathon, I probably wouldn't notice a difference in my lung capacity. This has been true. My lung sounds a little funny at times but it seems to work just fine. I'm fairly active, but not at all athletic. I walk a lot. I am "retired", sort of, but have been working part time recently. I was 72 at the time of surgery and didn't have any health problems, other than some long term side effects from treatment for  a prior unrelated cancer.
    I don't feel like I'm at all debilitated. I hope this info is helpful to you. 
    Bridget O
  23. Like
    Curt got a reaction from Tom Galli in Introducing myself...   
    Hi Arthur.  I had a right upper lobe lobectomy via a VATS surgery six weeks ago.  I had an 8mm nodule that they felt was suspicious enough to warrant a resection.  At the time of the resection they tested the nodule and found it to be NSCLC Adenocarcinoma.  Have they done a PET scan? 
  24. Like
    Curt reacted to Seventhson in Neuroendocrine lung cancer .   
    When they started to give me meds to put me asleep that’s the last I recall in surgery. My blood pressure dropped and I had a swollen upper lip and very sore throat from a quick intubation. But it has cleared up . I hope yours does as well. Good to know you are still recovering as well. I have more pain. I think it is probably nerve pain. If it persists or worsens I will go to out pts and get a chest exray. But overall I am doing really good. I found I have overall had much less pain than I expected. I think in time we will both heal totally and do great. So glad you doing good and getting out being active. Good for you. 
  25. Thanks
    Curt got a reaction from Seventhson in Neuroendocrine lung cancer .   
    I’m also doing good. Im glad to hear you are.  I’m not short of breath during normal activity.  I’ve been really surprised by that.  I climbed five flights of stairs in a parking garage the other day.  That got me short of breath.  I played dodge ball (I wasn’t doing much diving) with my kids yesterday.  That also winded me.  It’s definitely harder to catch my breath once I get winded.  Most of the pain from the surgery is gone.  Just some nerve sensations that feels like a mild sunburn.  Most annoying thing at this point for me is a lump/tickle in my throat that causes me to cough.  I’m really self conscious abut coughing.  I feel like people are wondering if it’s a symptom.  
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