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Hi All,

I am a 58 year old, 6', 200 lb male. I am having a lobectomey next wednesday, my lower right lobe. From all the tests, right now it is a 3 cm tumor, the only lc area with no enlarged lymph nodes and Doc says I may need some preventative chemo once it is removed. My question is how long before most people my age, etc, return to normal or at least semi normal activity?? i.e., drive car, yard work, cut grass on a rider, and just general work around the house?? Surgeon told me I cannot return to work for 6-8 weeks but I forgot to ask him anything else. Of course I will ask after the surgery but for now I thought I might post it here. Thanks again to all of you for your continued support and prayers.

Bill in PA

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My doc told me I'd be laid up for about two weeks and that's what it ended up being. I was 47, in pretty good shape and had the upper left lobe removed. I think they key is to use the spirometer like they tell you, get up and walk as soon as possible, and try to increase activity steadily until you're back to normal.

I had surgery on Friday, was discharged on Monday, and set my first goal to go out to lunch the following Friday. I made it, but was ready to rest when I got back home.

First follow-up visit to the surgeon was 10 days after surgery, and it was that appointment that I was relesed for all activities.

I think it's an individual thing, and I also have an office-type job, so coming to work was not going to be a physical issue.

Good luck.


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I had my lower right lobe removed. Was in hosp. for 5 days. Felt pretty good. Took it easy for a couple weeks, although I did take very short walks as soon as I got home. I was walking a mile and doing light housework within 3 to 4 weeks.

Good luck and God Bless,


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Len was a lot older than you when he had his lobectomy (upper right) and was in hospital for a week. Several weeks later, the surgeon told him he could drive but he was still somewhat shaky at the time. He built up slowly in the first two or three weeks after coming home, walking around the house for the first week, taking short walks around the outside of the house in the second week and going for a slightly more ambitious walk with me down by the shore in the third. Each day he went a bit further, and by the end of the month, he was doing a regular walk every day of about two miles (rather slowly, but still doing it).

It was probably six weeks before he felt up to doing the lawn, but by then he was pretty much back to normal, although still finding himself getting a bit more winded than in the past. Still, he was able to do just about everything by then.

The chemo didn't really affect him at all -- he felt fine during most of it (there were a few weeks when his hemoglobin went down and he began feeling really tired, but procrit took care of that), but when he had radiation in the fall, that gradually took its toll and he was pooped by the end of it -- took several months to bounce back. And of course that was winter, so he was more housebound and less able to exercise than he might have in the summer.

Good luck with the surgery -- it is somewhat daunting, but if you are prepared for it, use the pain meds (don't be a hero), use the spirometre faithfully and get back on your feet as soon as they allow you to, you'll be surprised at how quickly you can recover. The first two days are a doozy, but after that it seems to go rather smoothly. Len's still feeling nerve pain from the operation, as are a lot of people here, but that, too, is manageable and, we hope, will SOMEDAY go away....


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I had my surgery 4 years ago next week, with the lower left lobe removed. I was down and slow for a good two weeks, and used the pain pills religiously during that time. Waiting until the pain comes, I found, was too late. I was easily off the pain meds within a month, and the surgeon was surprised.

I started walking, slowly, but was also diligent about rest and meditation time.

As a teacher, I was off until September, but I did hit the beach the first week in July, and San Antonio, Texas at the end of July. That trip was hot, and a lot of walking, and only one day did I feel it.

Get yourself a really good book--nothing too complicated or scary, and enjoy recovering in the spring time. Take your pillow and a phone card to the hospital.

Speaking of, what area of PA are you? I grew up in Montgomery county, and my greatgrandmother was a Shaw.


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Tips to make it go easier - (it's as easy as A-B-C)

Ask for the drugs when it hurts!

Be nice to the nurses, they are your link to drugs....and baths...and visitors

Call your General Practitioner and see about anti-anxiety medication or sleeping pills - you need to sleep BEFORE the surgery

Don't jump to cancer conclusions until you know for sure

Exercises - breathing exercises after surgery

Find a person to be your advocate, to go to all appointments and take notes

Get acquainted with your spiritual side, you'll be visiting

Help your doctor help you, follow all instructions and ask questions if you aren't clear

Ignore cancer statistics - they're outdated and dismal

Just try to relax

Kid around

Laugh - it feels better to hurt when you're laughing than to just hurt

Make the most of every day

Never give up

Obtain what you need to get you through (mentally/emotionally/physically)

Promise yourself you'll get better

Quit procrastinating

Rely on others - healing takes some time

Strength - you have it, find out how to get to it

Teddy Bear - to hold when you cough, sneeze or laugh

Understand you won't be back to 100% a week after the surgery

Value the talent your doctors have, but seek others if you aren't happy

Waiting is the hardest part

Xrays for the rest of your life (or so it seems)

You CAN do it

Zen - that inner peace, again...

Seriously, though, it hurts. One of the most painful surgeries there is, no doubt. Take the medication in the hospital, you are NOT a wimp if you need pain medication. Be nice to the nurses, they control the "temperature" of your stay - "please" and "thank you" go a long way. If you are getting bad care (i.e. a blood draw where they can't reach a darn vein) ask for someone else. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques help. Don't expect to sleep comfortable on your "normal side" anytime soon. Laughing hurts, coughing hurts, sneezing is a real bit*h...but laugh when you can, humor helps. Blood coming from anywhere is bad - let someone know immediately.

(I'll send my PS as a PM, be sure to check your mailbox...)

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Bill ,

First of all, you will be in my prayers for your surgery on Wednesday. As for recovery time, I think every case is different. It took 9 weeks for my husband to return to work after his pneumonectomy. He was driving slowly, but surely about 3 weeks before that. I don't remember restrictions , just he did things as he felt like it. He had to slowly build his strength with the breathing thing spirometer (sp) and walking if only around the yard until he go further. Driving was a little difficult at first due to the tenderness of his incision . The nutritionist told him eat "high carb" foods for energy for months and said it would be a year before he totally recovered. That was all pretty true. It's a gradual process , especially in the case of losing an entire lung. One last note, he will tell you that it wasn't as bad as he had expected.

God Bless you,


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Hey Bill,

First of all good luck w/ your surgery. Take what

the Dr. says and go from there. Everyone is different I was about 5weeks, but then I went straight to radiation and chemo so I was laid up awhile longer. Where are you from in PA. I'm 20 miles north of Philly.

Good luck and take care,


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Thanks to all of you for the great feedback.. I guess returning to normal is different for all of us. I don't mind the time off but I may have to hire someone to take care of my property until I am able to do it. Large property and a lot of maintenance to keep it nice. My wife can help somewhat but she still has to go to work.

I am in Ransom Township, PA. About 10 miles west of Scranton and 5 miles north of Clarks Summit. About 120 miles to Phialdelphia.

Thanks again and I will post as soon as I return home and let you all know how I made out.

Bill in PA

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Just to chime in, I had my right lower lobe removed 2/22/02. I just chronicled my exercise comeback for Fay A. under her exercise-question thread, so take a peek if you are interested. I started VERY slowly. By the first week in April I went downhill skiing at Mt. Bachelor over Spring Vacation. As mentioned by others, I think using the spirometer RELIGIOUSLY helped me a lot even though I hated even the sight of that torture tool. I also charted my exercise regimen as a means of reinforcing myself.

Best of luck on your upcoming surgery and know that we all care about you. Hugs and prayers.

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Hi Bill: I am 60 years old. I have had 2 lung surgeries. the first one was an upper left lobectomy when I was 59. Be sure to ask for an epidural to mangage pain. I have been told that using an epidural can minimize post op pain down the road. I was in the hospital a week both times. After my first operation, I was walking around the block within a week after going home. In 3 months i was was walking a mile in 16 minutes. I could not split any wood until about 5 months after my operation. I had my lobectomy in Jan 2004, and was able to put a garden in the following spring.

Don M

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Hi Bill,

I would say that Don M here is kinda the exception. He is amazing that he would walk around the block the first week. That was pretty good Don!!

If you read my husbands profile on the bottom you will see he is your age he is stage 1B where you seem to be stage 1A as your tumor is small. But that could change when they biopsy the nymph nodes during the operation. But the results of that can take a few days. That is nerve racking, waiting for those results. Fingers crossed all will turn out NED with you.

Now back to the recovery part, if my husband did not have the complications due to the thyroid, I would say he probably would have been feeling pretty good about week 3. But everybody is different. His operation was in the winter and he could not go outside. So maybe since yours is in this wonderful spring weather, it will help you get better by going out.

Please see my post under welcome/newcomers posted by your buddy who is getting operated on the same day as you, Jang, see my post, which was posted today (not the one before) under Maryanne. I don't feel like writing all I wrote to Jan about the chemo thing, so please read it.

Thanks and good luck on Wednesday, I will be thinking of you and Jan.


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