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Stage 1A BAC


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Hi. I had surgery 2 weeks ago - upper right lobe removed - Stage 1A BAC. Quite fortunate that the cancer did not spread to the lymph nodes. Mine was found when I was admitted to the hospital 4 months ago for Atrial Fibrillation and had a routine chest x-ray done. I knew as soon as I was told the nodule was there that I was going to have it removed - had no intentions of following it through catscans. Had more Chest x-rays, Catscans and Petscan - all indicated benign. As soon as I had a CardioVersion done and back into Normal Sinus Rhythm, I zeroed in on having the nodule removed.

I was quite shocked but strangely calm when my husband broke the news that it was Cancer to me in pre-op. Had asked the Oncology Surgeon to allow my husband to tell me if it was found to be Cancerous. I don't think it has fully hit me yet. Guess because I don't have to face Chemo or Radiation Therapy. My follow-ups will be Catscans and CEA blood tests.

When I am alone and think about this, I do get upset but it hurts too much physically to cry so I just swallow hard and get composed. I never smoked and as far as I know I haven't been exposed to anything environmentally. The nodule was 1" x 1.5". Doctors considered it small. But to me it seems monstrous! To put my mind at ease we are having a Radon test done in our house. Was done when we moved in several years ago but I want another one done.

Had VATS - Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery. So have 5 incisions (one for the Chest Tube). The only incision that is large and bothersome is the one used to remove the lobe. Have cut back on the Dilaudid to one at night. I still don't sleep well - maybe 4 hours. I am very uncomfortable during the day with a burning/tingling sensation on the right side of chest and a "poking" or "tugging" feeling in the middle part of that area. Tylenol doesn't really help. Any suggestions for coping with this discomfort from someone who has had similar surgery? Doctor suggested occasional hot showers - but I could turn into a prune :D if I took anymore and Tylenol.

I have been walking since day of surgery. Am up to 2 miles almost every day - depending on the weather and if I have someone to walk with me. My breathing is getting better, I huff and puff when I climb the stairs or when I walk and talk. Walking and sleeping was alot better when I was taking the Dilaudid more often, but was told I should cut back from the 4 times a day to once a day. So I have gradually cut back but as I did the discomfort increased.

Sure is a scarey thing to happen. Reading how other people get nervous when they go for their follow-ups is helpful. I think I will be on pins and needles waiting for those results when I begin going.

Thanks for listening. I think when I can finally cry without physically hurting it will help me alot. I think I will stock up on tissues in the meantime. Eileen

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Get a Teddy Bear. I'm serious, get a teddy bear, a soft cuddly, huggable teddy bear. IT worked for me when I had my surgery and I had the full blown surgery, twice. The teddy bear is much softer then a pillow and much more easier to manipulate. Others here, will tell you about my teddy bear story.

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I had my right upper and middle lobe removed about 2 months ago. I still have alot of numbness and tingling and that very wierd poking and tugging in my right chest...it almost feels like I wore an underwire bra 2 sizes too small for WAY too long!! However, the pain has lessened and lessened...the key word is that horrible word...time! In time, it does get better. Every week now, I feel a vast improvement from the week before, both in comfortablility and breathing.

Can't help you with the emotional part...I'm trying to get some sort of balance there myself. I think it probably also takes time and learning to not look for that proverbial, dreaded other shoe dropping down. We'll all get there in our own way I think.

In the meantime, I vote for the teddy bear!! :)


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Hi Eileen... I too had my right upper lobe removed.. I had squamous non small cell which was 1.4 in size... mine was also a flook that it was found! The doctors also wanted to wait and do an xray every three months to watch it but the lung specialist recommended surgery... thank god for that... even my family doctor was shocked that it turned out to be malignant... everyone was so sure that it was beneign.. The pain from the surgery lessens with time.. my surgery was done in December of 2000 and it was a good six months before I felt considerably better... I still don't feel 100%. As for the emotional end of it... I find it all very hard to deal with and that's why I am here looking for some help in dealing with it... I'm scared to death and have not been back to the doctor for the last 20 months for any checkups... Crazy, eh? Good luck to you Eileen.. Email me anytime... I'll be hear to listen.... (jeannie_nixon@yahoo.com)

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Hi Eileen!

I found for the pain that 3 Advil worked better than the prescription narcotics. At first I alternated, then worked the narcotics out all together. I am about six months out from surgery and had a pretty big cut. The tumor that was removed was smaller than the end of my thumb, but had already spread to the nodes so EVERYBODY had to come out, tumor, nodes and lobes (almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss rhyme, huh?).

The pain of the surgery and the big cut wasn't much compared to those darn holes for the drainage tubes! Took FOREVER for those things to finally close - I felt like I had gone from a lung on the right side to gill slits!

The pain DOES go away, slowly, veeerrrry sloooooowly...

Emotional pain? Yeah, you'll feel a lot better when you can cry it out. Teddy bear is a far better choice than a pillow, give in to the inner child, squeeze that bear and cry. (And keep him close for those darn SNEEZES!) My teddy bear was a gift sent to me in the hospital by my primary care physician. She's an angel...

My suggestion for some of the emotional overflow would be to call your local cancer center and get an appointment with a counselor. If you aren't up to that yet, keep a list of the GOOD things, like it being caught so early and being treated so aggressively. When the bad things like survival rate, etc. start spinning around in your head, repeat the good things, all the reasons you have for "hanging around" and if it's all too much to take at one time, seek better living through chemistry...my "misery cocktail" was Ambien and Xanax on the nights I knew "THE VOICE" wouldn't stop echoing through my head.

Hang tough, half the battle (or more) is fought in your head.

Teddy bears and tears will help.


aka Snowflake

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Hello Eileen, my best to ya and welcome to the boards :):)

Very glad yours was caught early, sounds like your healing well and pretty much doing all the right things. The walking by the way is the best thing you can do. At least thats what I was told and looking back, I do agree.

You may want to try purse lip breathing exercises to help with the lung capacity problems. I found it also helped to calm me but then they also took the entire lung. You may also want to speak to your doc. about the pain, however the first few week are rough but as others have said, it will get better.

I guess probable the most important thing to remember is that your recovering and you are today a survivor.

God bless and be well

Bobmc- NSCLC- stage IIB- left pneumonectomy- 5/2/01

' absolutely insist onenjoying life today!"

PS - the family pic was taken 8 weeks after surgery, hiking in the rainforests of Costa Rica :o:o:o

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Stage 1A, BAC here. 28 months ago and still kicking.

The twinges and pain were interesting when I finally decided they were the nerves starting to heal.

I cried a lot, and often. I rarely cried with the breast cancers. I was a "brave little soldier". This time, forget it. I cried in front of anyone I felt like.

Let me know how it goes


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Hi Dave, Debi, Jeannie, Becky, Bob & Gail

Thank you all for your kind words and support. I guess because I don't have to face having any further treatment other than the Catscans and Bloodwork, I really don't feel like I'm entitled to think of myself as a Survivor. I'm interested in learning about the Bear Story. I'm guessing that the bear is for hugging not beating up on? Where do I go to read about it?

Time for another hot shower - I think tomorrow I will call the doctor to see if he will prescribe something other than Tylenol. I am on Coumadin so am limited in what I can take for pain.

Thanks again, everyone.


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