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Surgery!!! Anything I need to know...


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Well it looks like I will be having my left lung removed on May 29. I was hoping it would only be my upper left lobe but they say my left lung is only doing 17% of the work and the right is doing 83% of the work. My left lung is just to damaged. I hope I am making the right decission. I have talked to all my docs and they all suggest that I have the sugery. Are there any questions I should ask or anything I should prepare for. Thank you for all you support.

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Hi Heather,hope your surgery goes fine. You will have some pain for awhile but dont be afraid to ask for pain med. I was on hydrocodone for about 6 months afterwards. I had my right lung removed and am getting along fine. I have to stop anc catch my breath more often but its ok, I still mow the yard and stuff like that. My prayers are with you. Let us know how it goes,Mike :D

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Hi Heather,

I had my left lung removed 3 years ago. I had oxygen in the hospital and for 2-3 days after I got out, but otherwise I was breath with my right lung only. I would imagine that if your lung is currently not working at capacity, the removal of it may not be as drastic of a change for you.

My pain was kept under control pretty well. I had a pump installed directly to the surgery area and then took oral/iv drugs as well. I was in the hospital for 5 days.

I know just the thought of losing a lung is very very scary, but do know that there are many 1-lungers out here living well!

Hugs are being sent to you!


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Although I only had part of my lung removed and not the whole thing I can give you some tips.

-Take your pain meds

-strategize your home sleeping arrangement before surgery (the hospital bed is perfect because it goes up and down at the head and feet etc.) My bed at home was too high to get in and out of and I needed more help at home then at the hospital.

-Use the breathing spryo thingy (whatever they call it) when they tell you to.

You will do fantastic


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Be sure to ask for an epidural. My anesthesiologist told me that studies have shown that if you have an epidural, you are not likely to have long term post operative pain. Also, it manages the immediate pain very well. Good luck with your surgery.

Don M

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The only thing I can add is thank goodness you are a candidate for surgery. That's a shot for a cure!

Best of luck on your surgery and I'll add extra prayers for you that day. The left lung is smaller than the right so you will still have your dominate lung in place. As others who have had this surgery may tell you, with exercise and therapy you may find yourself at full breath capacity soon after surgery. It won't happen instantly but eventually you may go back to your normal life.

ConnieB is a great example of living with lung removal. I'm happy you are a candidate. Rejoice and plan on raising your little ones. You'll be around for awhile.

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Hey Heather,

I've been a one lunger for 12 years! Things have changed some since I had my left lung removed. I can't think of anything you really need to ask. I had an epidural while I was in the hospital along with percocet and I did just fine. I was in the hospital for 5 days. I left the hospital on oxygen

and pain meds, but I was only on the oxygen for 3 to 4 weeks and then I went off it. I was on my pain meds for about 2 to 3 months after surgery. The first 4 weeks I took my pain meds about every 4 to 5 hours and then I cut back as needed. I want to mention that Oxygen is also for healing reasons. Don't shy away from it. It's very important in the healing process.

I will suggest a small pillow. One you can hold and is comfy for you. They will have you cough to keep your lung clear. That's not fun, but you can do it. :wink: That's when the pillow comes in handy to hold it tight on your incision.

They will give you a spryomitor (spell) to blow in. I have to say, as much as I hated that thing, it really did help. It's just a plastic thing with a little tube to blow and inhale from.

Take your pain meds. Don't try to be a hero. This is one surgery that doesn't pay to push things. Take your time to heal. It's not a very fast process. But, everyone is different.

You'll do fine. :wink: If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

Take care and hang in there. It really is a good thing that they are offering to take your lung out.

You'll do fine with one lung. There are many many many many many many one lungers in this world. :wink:

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Take the epidural!!!

Mom got scared at the last minute and refused the epidural and really regretted it. The pain would've been much less severe and as a result, she was able to do less.

Take the pain medicine, push yourself to walk when they tell you it's time, and make sure you do the breathing exercises. These are all things that I saw help Mom tremendously.

And one more thing, congratulations to you. While surgery is no picnic, the pain is temporary, but this is it - your shot at a cure! It's a great thing. You'll be in my prayers.

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Best wishes on your surgery!

Advice from my parents' lung surgeries: Don't be afraid of pain killers. You heal better when not in pain. And that breathing ball thing they give you--it is not the most fun, but it is important to keep doing it.

I wish you an easy speedy recovery!

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I have posted this before as a sticky, but it keeps being "un-stuck":

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.

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I wanted to tell you that I'll be saying a BIG prayer for you!

My Harry has small cell, so surgery wasn't an option for him :( .

It's got to be scary for you, but it sounds like a chance for you to be cured, so that's VERY good!

Also sounds like the general opinion is to take that pain medication!!!!(Tell them you're special, so you need more then the average person!) :wink:

Sleeping makes the time go by more quickly anyway, so my hope for you, is that you get to sleep thru the worst part, and wake up feeling 100% better!

Take care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you,


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Everyone said it all--and Becky's list is thorough.

Everyone has said it--Do NOT be afraid of the pain meds. I had an epidural, woke up to morphine, then on demoral, sent home on percocet.

I did not wait for pain to take the percocet. For the first week at home it was pretty much every 4 hours.

The good news was by the time I returned to my surgeon for the follow up, I was off the pain meds. He was surprised.

You have little kids, and want to be their mom even with the surgery. My now 21 year old was 7 when I had my first breast cancer. I sent him to his aunt's when I came home so I could really rest for a few days. He cried when he left, which absolutley devastated me. He of course had a ball there and didn't want to come home.

Years later I asked him if he remembered that--of course he didn't.

Don't feel bad about asking for help. When you recover you will be the first in line to help the next person


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I am so glad that things have worked out for you and that you will get the surgery. I believe it is a good thing as you really don't need the left lung if your right lung is doing all the work. Even if they did only remove part of it wouldn't you always wonder if they got all of the lc?

I don't have any advice for you because I never had a lung removed but I have had surgery. Just remember to not push yourself to hard, that it takes time to heal. You are a fighter and so strong so I am sure you will do great.

Please let us know how you are doing as I will be thinking about you as I am sure many others here also will be. If we could be there holding your hand we sure would be and boy would your room be crowded. Just think what the nurses would say. :shock:

Best of luck


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Just wanted to let you know that I'm thrilled that surgery is an option for you. You'll do great in surgery and you'll awake with the beast GONE! Enjoy yourself these next few days and know that you've got prayers from all over the country going up for you. Maybe your husband can post an update after surgery?


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I want to think all of you for your support and great words of advice. I already feel better about everything. It helps when you here from people that have been there before and others that have such positive words. You guys are great. I don't think hubby will post but I will post or I will have someone do it for me if I can't. He just doesn't get it. haha

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