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questions for stage 1a lobectomy patients


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Hi All,

Just a few general questions for those of you that have had lobectomies:

After Surgery:

1. How long before you can drive a car. I drive a standard transmission and lobectomy was done on my right side so I assume, by shifting with my right hand, too much shifting will not be good for a while??

2. Also cut my grass with a riding lawnmower and my property is quite bumpy? How long before I can tolerate it?

3. How often do they recommend visits to Oncologist?

Pulmonologist? anyone else??

4. How long befor i can do lifting and resume

regular physical work.

I have an appointment with my surgeon on Tuesday and ofcourse I will ask all this but just wondering how the rest of you that have had this surgery made out.

I am a 58 year old male in fairly good shape. 6.0 196 lbs.

Thank you all.

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Hi Bill

I was in the hospital nine days, and after I came out I was told wait 1 week to drive -----but there was something wrong with the power steering in my car, so when I turned it pulled my stictches--but other than that it was fine---but I really was not on meds other than at night once in awhile

Not sure about the lawn thing--although physical work like cleaning did get me out of breath (or perhaps that was an excuse not to clean?)

with the exception of going to the onc once for an opinion, I have never been back to one---My surgeon is the one following up and in the beginning I saw him two times in the first month, then every threee months, then every 6, now it is a year

I never had a pulmonary dr.

I had the operation on June 23rd and went back to work early September---I could really have gone back earlier , but I commute to the city and did not want to push it.

Hope you are feeling good, you sound great and eager to get back to work!


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Hi; I assume you will have a Thoracotomy incision..? They are not able to attempt the VATS surgery, which is much less invasive? Worth asking about, tho the surgeon rules in the end, I guess.

My Thoracotomy was major surgery, painful and slow recovery. I was on heavy pain meds for about 4 months or more and could do nothing but walk for excercise. Even that was limited for about the same time. Couldnt sleep in bed, only in recliner chair...jus now able to use bed...but no rolling onto my favorite side...sigh.

Im about 10 mos. out from surgery now, still cant lift much more than a half gallon of milk, and short of breath at any exertion. (Lost full left lung) Im just about to try the riding mower, take it slow, might be ok. Driving even my automatic was hard at first...turns stress rib cage muscles at incision, ...litlle better now tho.

In short, its Major surgery, (thoracotomy), and recovery is painful and then long. I dont know if Ill ever be able to get back to regular work I used to do...even remodeling around the house, etc. Yardwork is still tough to do much.

Its a permanent disability, as far as Im concerned...lung capacity limited and chest wall muscles disrupted, lost a rib, numbness in chest area, no heavy lifting, (which is required for most any phyical work.) I dont mean to make it sound awful, youre lucky if the tumor is operable, get it out of there, but dont count on getting back to normal anytime soon...takes time and patience to recover to a reasonable level of function. Least for me, everyones diff., but it is major surgery.

My Onc. wanted me to have scans every 2mos. after treatment ended. Me and my family doc. overode that advice...too much radiation. Im waiting 5-6 months before first screening scan. Already had 25-30 xrays and scans during treatment..sigh. I never had a pulmonologist either. My bio info below tells my story. Anyway, good luck...getting it outa there has to be the priority, then we have to take what comes, what we are left with...go from there. Rich B.

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You can't compare yourself and your recovery to others. Some of us were in truly excellent shape prior to surgery, so we are up and running in a matter of weeks. Other's have other health issues that impact recovery from the Lung surgery (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Cardiac Problems, etc.) Still others experience post surgical complications like Pneumonia, or blood clots.

Your Doc will let you know what he wants you to do on his and your time table.

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I would like to follow up Fay with some real, common sense advice - try it slow, and if it hurts, STOP! This goes for everything...

In the beginning, you aren't restricted from driving because it can hurt you, it's because of the medication you are taking "do not operate heavy machinery while taking this medication".

For me, range of motion was an issue. First two weeks home from the hospital, I couldn't wash my own hair. I went back to work part-time four months after surgery and was back to full time within two months of that time (six months out from surgery).

It takes me much longer to mow the lawn, I have to take a break about every 30 minutes. Making the bed is a major chore where it used to be a five minute task - I get short of breath with a lot of bending. Climbing stairs or walking uphill can wind me so I can't speak...

I didn't lose a whole lung, but look at DavidP! He is a one-lunger who rides mountain bikes. Healing is individual, too - just be glad you don't have to deal with the bra issue! :wink:

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Bill: I agree with Fay. It depends on the individual. I was 59 years old at the time of my lobectomy and was in fairly good shape. But, for what it's worth here is my experience. I had a upper left lobectomy in January of 2004 (my first surgery). It was a full thoracotomy. I was driving at 2 weeks out of surgery. I was off meds at 2 weeks out of surgery. I drive a 5 speed transmission light duty truck. I was able to run my front tine roto tiller in my garden 3 and a half months after surgery. I could walk a mile in 16 minutes 3 months after surgery. I could split wood 5 months after surgery. I did my follow up checkups with an oncologist. He was local while my surgeon was an hour and a half drive away. 3 months checkups is the general practice for the first year.I would have an xray at one checkup and alternate with a ct scan at the next checkup.

Don M

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