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Post Lung Surgeries


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I have spent way too much time changing my email address here and then trying to put my sig back with my husband's information. I cannot get it in as it says too long. I keep taking things out but still too long. Therefore, I will just ask my question. I don't think it is needed for this one. The changing email was my carelessness I think.

My husband had his right lower and middle lobe and some lymphy nodes removed and was by incision. This was 5 weeks ago this past Friday.

Does anyone have a story or can refer me to something I can read that tells more about someone in recovery from this. He was aggressively treated with radiiation and chemo prior to surgery.

The surgeon, oncologists and pulmonary doctor have not found anything wrong. His recovery just doesn't seem like it is progressing. Not knowing how it works is hard to judge.

Maybe it is slower than we thought. H was instructed no lifting anything over 10 lbs for 6 weeks and would be 2 to 3 months recovery. He would be nowhere near lifting in another week.

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I had Cisplatin and Etopiside and daily radiation before I was able to have surgery.

I had 2 chest tubes and an Epidural for pain that fell out.

I had lots of pain in the hospital. Gradually got better.

I also had more of the above Chemo after surgery.

THE GOOD NEWS is I finished 10 years ago!

I am still aware of those ribs that were broken, they never lined up to heal. I don't think about it all the time. I am a nurse and believe me I do lifting.

See My Story -posted 7/3/04 "Through the valley to the mountain" It is my story with more detail .

Donna G

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Thanks Donna;

Do you remember if your recovery was real slow. Of course now days things are probably moving along quicker than 10 years ago. Getting out of hospital was said would be 7 to 10 days but maybe 5 to 6. He was in for 11 days before released. His tubes took while to get out.

It was the rib area that was really the pain but the last couple days he said his back is bothering him.

Seems my husband is healing so slowly. He was down to not more than one-half pain pill or maybe one, twice a day. Now he has gone back to 2 per day for couple days. Seems he gets more unomfortable unless sitting/lying in certain way.

This could all be from not moving around enough and yet moving some. He does what he can but never last too long at anything. He is getting more short of breath (sob) recently than when he first came home.

Without covering all details, he has been seen by doctors this past week and all sounds okay.

Bottom line for me is that I don't know what is to be expected. Therefore, I don't know if it is ok to just let things go and he will be okay, or is there a problem that needs attention.

Donna, I really appreciate your response. Thanks,

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I had 2 surgeries, one in May 2007 and one this past April. Last year's was a lobectomey (ULL) and it took me months to recover. I was still on pain meds 4 months post-surgery and was still very tired all the time.

This year's surgery was a wedge resection and the recovery has been quite spectacular. The doctors told me this recovery might be slower because the same nerves and ribs were being cut a second time. But I feel much better already.

I think the difference is that I had the second surgery at Sloan-Kettering and they had me up and walking a mile (yes, really!) the day after surgery. The walking seems to have sped up the healing process.

We all heal at our own pace. Last year, when I was fretting, my husband reminded me that it had taken him several months to recover from hernia surgery.

As long as the doctors feel that all is okay, I wouldn't worry too much. It's very important to keep on top of the pain. Maybe if he takes enough pain meds, he'll be able to move around more and speed his recovery.

Best of luck,


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I had my surgery and got out of the hospital on the 6th day. I'm not sure how old your husband is but I was 46 at the time.

Almost 2 weeks after I was home, my 4 year old son was in my bed watching ET and he had an accident and wet the bed. I will never forget this since it took me about an hour to take the sheets and blanket off and remake the bed. I hadn't cried when diagnosed, hadn't cried in the hospital but I remember SOBBING because I couldn't make the bed- I was completely helpless. I had no strength to pull the sheets to the corners and couldn't use my right arm to pull, had no energy to shake the blanket onto the bed- besides the pain and getting winded. I had to keep sitting on the bed to rest because my legs were rubbery and I would just cry or more fittingly, wail. Picking the 8 pillows off the floor that I had on my bed so I could sleep was a major undertaking. All in all, by the time I had the bed made, and him in the shower, almost an hour and a half had passed- something that normally would be done in under 15 minutes. I thought I would never ever get better.

A little over 3 weeks, I remember going to Walmart. By the time I got to the cash register I was almost panting and thought I was going to faint. I felt like I had run a marathon, just going to the store to pick up a few groceries.

There was a gentleman on this board at the time, BobMc, who had an avitar of himself smiling from a rope bridge in Costa Rica where he had been hiking, 3 weeks after his surgery. I so hated Bob. :D We became friends so it was okay, but at the time I hated his smiling mug! I felt like a loser, a failure because I couldn't make it to Walmart and back at almost 4 weeks and here this guy is running all over Costa Rica.

Everyone heals differently. This is extreme but someone told me once that lung surgery was close to having a living autopsy - a quarter of your torso is cut open. You just don't bounce back from these things. I went back to work at 9 weeks because I had to, but it took me quite a while to start feeling like myself again. When I got tired I would lean to the side and tuck my arm up against my side with the elbow crooked - it was automatic- it somehow helped. I couldn't sleep on my right side for almost a year. I couldnt wear a regular bra for almost 2 years. To this day I have numb spots and wierd electrical feelings sometimes and yes, sometimes pain. The scar is numb and I only felt the right side of my chest for the first time again last year.

Anyway, as long as your husband has been checked by the doctors, I wouldn't worry too much but I would certainly remain vigilante. I believe that your husband should have incremental improvement, even if its minor, each day. IF he seems to regress too much, I would call the doctor again. In the meantime, if your husband has a spirometer, he needs to keep breathing in it to strengthen his lungs. He also does need to walk and do any physical exercises that his dr may have given him. This disease kicks your a** pyschologically as I'm sure you know, and maybe that is also in play here.

Best of luck. Sorry for the long post.

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Debi and Yorktown Linda; Thank you both so very much. I have gotten plenty to think about and share with my husband. It does sound pretty normal now.

Like Debi said everyone is different. One can do and one cannot do during the same time period. I will take the advice shared here and just go on and quit worrying.

Debi, my husband has done about what you have stated. He will do what he can and then no more. We were all going to the store one day to shop and then he ended up having to stay home. A few times he was able to go.

The sleeping and pain sounds familiar. He does need to use the spirometer more than he does. My son and I kept getting after him. I will get after him again.

I truly thank all of you for sharing your experiences. This disease is very humbling.

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Everyone recovers at their own pace. In my case I was out of the hosp.in 5 days and when the surgeon cuts me loose my only restrictiion was to do no more than I felt I could do....wish it had really turned out that easy.Overall though it was tolerable most of the time. I still have good days and bad days ..but guess thats the way its will be for the most part. Complete recovery in my case in a little iffy because now COPD is starting to make its presense know.. but thats a whole new story. If hubby takes it easy when he needs to and listens to what the docs...and you say.. he should be ok.

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"snappy" ...Trying to put my sig back with my husband's information. I cannot get it in as it says too long. I keep taking things out but still too long...

The maximum number of characters for the signature block has been reduced considerably from what it was before. What you can do is put all of that information in a new post in the "My Story" section, then put a link to it in your signature block like I've done.



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scman; Thanks for the info. You should learn all you can about COPD and then it can be managed in ways to really slow the progression compared to ignoring it. Exercise, diet, proper breathing and such are important.

Ned, thanks. I will do that later. I sort of like that better. You can spell it out better and doesn't take so much space over and over. I will be back to fix my story. Thought it was strange that it didn't fit back in. :)

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My mom took a long long tme to recover after her bypass, which is a similar surgery to lung surgery. They said after radiation to the area, it heals slower. She healed much slower than a typical bypass patient b/c of the radiation.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I removed the lengthy signature file. I posted in My Story and then included the link in my sig. Think that was what was meant to do. Took me a while to get back here.

As of this past Thursday it looks like my husband might be on a recovery road finally. I hope so. It was one thing after another. On July 5th he ended up in the hospital with infection or pneumonia. Thought pneumonia at first but not sure. Was there until July 10th on IV's. They did a bone marrow test while there.

Of course, he just had to have an allergic reaction to one of the IV antibiotics. :roll: Like he didn't have enough in treatments. :wink: It was Clindemycin (?spell). This time he broke out in a rash and itching in addition to the rest of it. He has not had a smooth go ot it. However, he has been blessed with the opportunity to have surgery and so far 2 CTscans show no cancer. Hopefully that will continue to hold for the Pet Scan. He had a really good surgeon who he has been released from now. The nurses in the hospital have been great.

He is anemic and Oncologists caught that just before he went into the hospital. He will be getting vitamin B12 injections monthly. He is just getting off the pain meds. Had it down to one time a day for while.

I do thank the people here that did help wtih questions that I asked. Thanks too for the encouragement. We have learned a lot. This is a horrible disease. If I was more stable myself I would really clean up my story but just don't have enough time and patience right now. Maybe something will help someone else. Thanks again.

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Mary, I don't know anything about lung surgery (I was already IIIB when dx'd), but to all re COPD, some of us had it pre-diagnosis; others have developed it as a a result of treatment (I fit in the latter category).

I've been doing regular breathing exercises since last 10/07 and definitely credit those with helping keep my oxygen needs reduced (particularly given my having developed radiation pneumonitis following radiation treatment, which in turn has kept my energy levels up.

I still feel like I could be doing more, however, so I set up an appt. with my pulmonolgoist next week for the sole purpose of exploriong what else I may be able to do to improve my lung power.

I will post what I learn as soon as I can, but may be a few weeks since I'm "technically" on hall pass right now due to company in town, followed by two week San Diego/Mexican cruise vacation with pulmonology appt. in between.

Best of luck.



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Hi Carol; I will look forward to what you find out from your pulmonary doc. Enjoy your company and I will read it when you post.

Proper exercise is a big key to better breathing, diet can also affect breathing. Exercise is not what someone with 100% lungs would do tho. Steady working and endurance is the goal. Pulmonary Rehabs are a great place to learn if possible to attend.

Hope you have a nice time with your company. Thanks for sharing. Thanks Ned for your encouraging words.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Mary: "Proper exercise is a big key to better breathing..."

Hi, Mary.

I'm back from trip, having seen pulmonologist right before I left. She said same thing as you, that #1 is exercise, particularly walking.

Because of the Prednisone-induced osteoporosis I developed last summer, I have been under doctor's orders not to walk (due to multiple stress fractures), which is why I've been so intent on breathing exercises.

On the other hand, by December, we (my doctors and I) knew that the probable primary caiuse of stress fractures (all sacral) was not walking, but sitting (two of the fractures happened after long road trips and the third after two two-hour sitting sessions in Rocky Mountain Cancer Center conference room--the fourth was due to a "coughing fit").

I'd been playing it cautious ever since, but while on this trip I walked like crazy (not to mention a half day's sailing on a 75 foot boat, during which I took the helm for at least an hour) with no damage done, so I've now decided to heck with it and am taking up walking again (I was walking 2 mi. daily pre-osteoporosis).

I will continue to do my daily breathing and hot tub exercises (on my way out there now), but am sooo glad walking's back on my agenda (this is a beautiful old town and walking--rather than driving--has long been a pleasure for me here).

Hope you and your hubby are both doing well.



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