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Hi, I am new to this board. Iam aged 77 years. I had a successful lobectomy to remove a small adenocarcinoma from my right lung in July. I am interested to know how long it might take for some one my age to fully recover from this operation. Since July, I continue to feel tired and breathless (I cannot walk very far before stopping). I feel as if I have no energy or motivation. I also experience a strange sensation where the lobe was removed. I liken this feeling to that of a stump or box inside me that drags on the inside wall of my chest as I breath in and out. Is this normal and if so will the feeling pass soon? Is there anything I can do to regain my health and strength more quickly? Thanking you...

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Edward, My situation was a little different.When they do surgery they cut muscles etc.(sometimes break or remove ribs).It takes a good while normally to feel like old self again.I ha d a lung removed and its been 15 or 16 months now & I feel pretty good.But 12 to 13 months I still had regular pain and discomfort.Hang in there the end result is worth the discomfort.

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Welcome. I had the upper lobe of my R. lung removed almost 16 mo. ago. I still get short of breath when I climb stairs or hills or walk fast. I quit smoking 16 mo. ago and gained some unwanted weight. I'm still tired. The pain and/or discomfort only lasted about 4 or 5 months. Most people seem to complain about discomfort for much longer. So I must have been one of the lucky ones. Good luck with your recovery - it will happen, but probably not as fast as you'd like. Let us know how you are doing.

Muriel K

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I had the lower lobe removed from my left lung in July. I am 52 and still get easily tired and out of breath.

Last night I watched a show with some people snorkling in the Hawaiian Islands and got nervous just thinking about being in that water. I knew I couldn't make it but yet 3 years ago I went to Hawaii and had the time of my life snorkling, couldn't get enough.

I would imagine it will take awhile, start slowly and definately exercise, walk, walk, walk. My goal is to go snorkling again off Maui and I'll practice my breathing and do my exercises until I can. You'll gain back most if you really try. :P


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Dear Edward.

I'm sorry you have the need to find us, but, I'm glad you did.

Edward, I am going to assume you have a report of over all good health?

Having said that, you know 3 months is NOT a long time for recovery when it comes to this kind of surgery. Rumor has it, that having lung surgery is worst then having heart surgery. I have to second that one, being I have had both.

Feeling tired and short of breath is pretty much the norm for this kind of surgery. Yet, each and everyone is a little different. I have a friend that had his right entire lung removed 10+ years ago and he is STILL short of breath, where I am not anything like he is, however, I did have my left lung removed, which is smaller then the right lung. He is now 66 yrs young and I am now 52.

Take little walks to help you build your lung capacity up again. Don't push yourself to do anything, or you'll be headed for a set back.

Are you on oxygen? Sometimes it helps to have that around for HEALING PURPOSES! It does help one to heal from Lung Surgery.

I hope you'll stay with us, and keep us up on how your doing.

I wish you well, and encourage you to take baby steps, and not to over do it. This recovery takes time!!!



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Hello, Edward,

After my first two lung surgeries I had a similar sensation in the chest. I described it as feeling like a small bag of cement. It felt "heavy" to me. Over time I did become use to the feeling and eventually didn't notice it at all.

If you are on supplemental oxygen this may be helpful for you as you heal and begin to build up your strength again. It will help with the shortness of breath while you begin to rebuild muscle. Start out by taking short, easy, level walks, but do not start any exercise program without clearing it with your Physician! I had pneunomia less than a month after my first Thoracotomy, and I can assure you my first "walks" while recovering from that were only along the fence in my own back yard. I made up for what I lacked in distance by repetition, though, as time went by. I measured my progress by how many times I could make the stairs in my house and how many times I walked the path along the fence in my yard.

Hope this helps. And I hope you stay with us. We have several members from Australia and the UK.

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Hi Edward,

Like you, I had lobectomy of right lung. Mine was 6 weeks ago. I still get very short of breath. I still have lots of unusual aches and pains in that area, like you. I have numbness all along the center of my chest, sideways that is, right where they removed that portion of lung.

And the hardest part of all is that I want to be back to normal......NOW! I've had enough of this lying around business, HA. But you and I are the lucky ones Edward, we were able to have the surgery and be here to complain. There are many others on this board that wish they could gripe about not healing fast enough. :cry:

Wishing you peace and happiness...and big, deep breaths!! Hang in there, and come back here to let us know how you are.



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Welcome Ed; Yep, sounds pretty standard, I had entire leftlung removed, so nothing to bump around, ...but I could feel like liquid sloshing around in there when I walked. (One of my scans noted; "fluid in chest cavity"..so not my imagination either. heh . Apparently its like the swelling on the outside of incision, produces fluid inside too..? And shortness of breath, while panicky at first waking, has improved some, but I dont think Ill ever be able to run from the cops again...(grin)...took me several hours to rake half the leaves off the lawn...sigh. I would guess one could build capacity more by rigorous workouts, when youre able, but with normal activity, I think Ill always be restricted in what I can do now.

As for pain and swelling, ...Im 3months out now, and still have pretty intense pain in front of chest, and back pain that apparently was aggravated by chopping out of the rib. Still working on pain management issues , and dealing with the seemingly interminable disability...still cant do much yardwork or house chores. Takes lot of time, for some of us, I guess....Oh, yea, numbness down front of chest., dunno if that will ever stop...

Ok, again, welcome and good luck...keep postin...Rich B.

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Greetings to you Edward,

I'm 62 and had lower right lobe removed a bit more than 3.5 years ago. Overall, I think I got back 75-80% of my strength. My surgeon had me get handicap parking space at work for the first 8 months. This is because you regain your strength slowly, one day at a time.

As for the severing of nerves, muscles and sometimes ribs, it's like my surgeon said when I asked about the size, "Big enough for me to get both hands and all my tools in."

Remain optimistic. Yes, we who have had a successful lobectomy are the lucky ones.

God be with you!

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Everthing your feeling is normal for you. I had the same surgery 13 months ago and I still have some pain and tired. Give yourself a chance to heal. It's a very big surgery and takes alot out of you. Slowly you will heal and will now have what cancer patients call "The new normal".

Take care and good luck to you.

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I think what you are feeling is normal...at least the new normal for us lung cancer survivors. I am 19 months out from my surgery and I am still short of breath. I think most of mine is from the radiation though. Most of the pain is gone, although I still feel numbness under my left breast and side. I walk some, and the more I do the better I feel. Take it easy and only do what you feel like doing. If you can't walk far, walk often. Welcome to our family and I hope you will stay with us and keep us posted.


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Hello Edward.

Pleased to meet you -- that is, pleased you're still here for us to meet.

Pain is normal. It will go away with time. Mine went away fairly quickly, within a few months -- but I was much younger then. Fay has some great advice. Don't overdo anything. Build up your walks gradually. Find some stairs, or a small incline to walk up. Depending on the condition of your remaining lung & 2/3rds, you will find that with continued effort, the lung capacity will increase. My lung was measured last year at 64% capacity that of a normal, two lunged man my size. One thing you should consider though, is a healthy diet. Eat those fruits and veggies and well balanced meals. Protein is a muscle builder, and assists in repairing tissue after workouts and after surgery. One way I have included more protein in my diet, and it's become a morning ritual of sorts, is to blend fruit (fresh or frozen) with orange juice, yogurt, and a couple scoops of protein powder into a smoothie and drink it at breakfast. Keeping a positive outlook and a good attitude is always a big help in recovery too.

Take care Edward, and keep us posted, Mate.

David P.

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