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pneumonectomy stories PLEASE


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Hello there brave people.

I am a young aussie girl with metastatic bowel ca dx 3 yrs ago already stage 4 and quite progressed. Since then my disease hasn't behaved typically - lucky for me as it has remained stable with only 2 small bone mets in my shoulder since my dx.

When dx I had 3 lung mets, and to date they have responded to chemo and radiotherapy but after throwing everything at them, and maintaining control until now, my docs are now discussing a FULL pneumonectomy of my left lung. This is not typical treatment for bowel mets, but as I said it is under control and in no other organs and so we are not prepared to let one little bugger kill me.

My Onc wants me to research myself, what life will be like with just one lung. So I am after stories. Good ones, great ones and bad or plain ugly ones. I have 3 little boys aged 8,7 and 3 so really want to be here to watch them grow, but I do need to know the reality of what my quality of life will be like post op. How much it will slow me down, how long it takes to recover and how puffed I will be and how soing chemo after is etc etc. basically anything you can tell me I would be most grateful. Oh by the way my right lung is very healthy having never smoked and always been fit prior to dx.

I very much look forward to replies.

With thanks in advance

Mihalo xx

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Hello and welcome to the place that no-one wants to be part of, but are glad to have available if the need is there. I am sorry that you have need to be here.

I only had one lobe of my lung removed so I can't really help you on how life will be with just one lung; however, I am sure that others who are more experienced with that will be along shortly to share. No matter what stories you get back - everyone is different and everyone has different responses to surgery. You are young and that is definitely a plus.

From your posting it sounds as though you are one very strong and determined lady. I will keep you in my thoughts that you have minimal pain and good results with the possible upcoming surgery and that you can soon be back to stable.

When you know what the plan is as to surgery dates, etc., please let us know and we will be there for you.


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I had my entire left lung removed in 1998. I was 50 at the time, and very healthy (other than lung cancer), but I had smoked so my remaining right lung was not in tip top shape and suffered from COPD.

Losing the lung took a little getting used to. But I went right back to work and things gradually got much better. I think the first 8 weeks were tough, but then my breathing got much better over the next 10 months or so. Eventually my right lung expanded so much that I could do anything I used to do with two lungs - although a few things took a little longer. (Keep in mind however that I was not a long-distance runner nor a high-altitude mountain climber). I had a teenager still at home, and grandchildren about the same ages as your children. The only thing I can think of that was different with the grandchildren was that I couldn't outrun them any longer. If we went to the park for instance, I couldn't let the littlest ones get too far ahead of me or I'd have trouble catching up to them on foot.

Everyone is different and no one can say how someone else will do - but I did well enough that no one who didn't already know would ever have guessed I only had one lung - and you are younger and healthier than I was.

Best of luck with whatever decision you make. I will be praying for you. Keep us posted.

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Hi Mihalo,

I just found this post. I had my left upper lobe removed, which is a big part of your left lung. Considering that you never smoked, you should return to normal eventually. Your other lung will compensate for the one that is removed.

I recovered from the surgery pretty good. Yes there was pain, but i was up and walking around the hospital floor the same day of the surgery. It's a serious surgery, but very recoverable.

Considering your age, your children, and your overall health, I'd go for it.

Judy in MI

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I didn't have one lung taken out I had one lobe on each side taken out last year. I smoked until the day of diagnosis so my capacity was already diminished a little. I was 48 years old - not an exerciser so I was in horrible shape compared to you (still am). I have seen several people on here that did well with complete lung removals - and like everyone here thinks you seem pretty healthy so you should do well. No lie, it's not a walk in the park - even with them taking only a lobe. But every day would be a little better and every one here knows that getting the buggers out is better than leaving them in!.


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  • 3 months later...

Hi Annette,

Sorry I hadn'treplied earlier, I don't recall even seeing your post to me....sorry. So pleased your scans were good, well done you! I am awaiting a PET scan to make sure I have had no more spread since coming off chemo in June last year. If there is no new spread then this pesky lung will be completely gone! Down to one lung, but a healthy one so fingers crossed I will recover ok and have some reasonable lung function within a reasonable timeframe. Best of luck for your March scan.



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Hi Mihalo

Sorry you had to find us.

My husband had one lobe removed on the left and a wedge section on the right and he has been fine. A friend of mine had a whole lung removed and her tumor was non malignment but still had to have it taken out. That's a real bummer... anyway she is fine and to me back to normal.

Just take one day at a time. You will heal and little by little things will come back to normal. You probably will not run a marathon but everything else should be fine.

Good luck!


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