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VATS or Thoracotomy

Yorktown Linda

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Okay, I saw Dr. Miller at MSKCC and he said the new mass in my lower left lung was 1 cm and definitely needs to come out. He scheduled a PET scan for April 2 and a surgical consultation for April 9 (Dr. Raja Flores, if that rings a bell for anyone).

Anyway, I was reading some survivors' comments on their recovery from surgery and it made me feel like such a wimp. I had a thoracatomy -- don't know if that's because that was what the local doctor knew how to do or because in addition to removing the upper left lobe, he also did 2 wedge resections on the lower left. Anyway, I was on pain meds for months; went back to work part-time after 2 1/2 months, full-time after another month and it was way too early! It was a full 6 or 7 months before I began to feel normal again.

I should add that before the cancer was found on a routine chest x-ray, I had never in my life felt healthier. So my surgical results were not due to any pre-existing weakness or condition.

So I'm wondering, since this is only one small tumor and MSKCC certainly is set-up for VATS, should I expect a quicker recovery?

Not sure I want to go through another few months like last time -- not that I may have any alternative.



P.S. I am sooooooooo glad I found you guys!!!

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I think everyone is different, and recovery happens differently for everyone. Don't feel like a wimp, this is a tough surgery.

If I were you, I'd explain my experience from the last time to the surgeon when you see him for the consult, and see what he says. I would think he'd want to know what your recovery was like last time, and maybe he can help insure a smoother road this time around.

I hope you do well.


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Everyone is differnt, but both of my parents recovered very quickly from Vats. My mom was better in like a week and my dad was lifting things into the house when he came home. There was some soreness and pain, but all in all it was not bad at all they said.

My mom had a bypass which was more invasive, and I believe similar to somee types of lung surgery, and she found that more painful and it was harder to reocver. But the good news is that she did recover, just took a little longer than a VATS type procedure :)

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I had two thoracotomies (is that the plural?) - June 2003 and Nov. 2004. I felt fully recovered from the first one when I had the second. It took a while to recover from the first and I started chemo in Sept and then felt worse again for a while. I had the same surgeon the second time and it took me a lot longer to recover. Not only is each person different, I think each surgical experience also is. If MSKCC recommends VATS surgery, tho., I'd go for it.


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