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what to expect

close to the edge

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Greetings to all

12/1/03 lung mass found in xray

series of tests - all came back clean except in lower left lobe where mass was found - mass lights up like a light bulb - about 5 cm - sounds kinda big to me - i know i'm really lucky they found it early

i am scheduled for surgery 2/9/04

really scared-i have no idea what to expect-i am most afraid of the pain

could anyone fill me in on what to expect? Any advice to make it easier for me. How long is the recovery? should i bring anything special to the hospital to make me more comfy? Help :lol:

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Welcome. Boy it would be great for you if you have a surgeon that can remove that tumor by VATS ( video assisted thorocotomy surgury) It is like comparing the old gall bladder surgery with taking it out with a scope. Not all surgeons have training to do it this was, but much less pain, heal and back to normal much sooner. You sound like you would be a candidate for VATS. If you go the old way be sure to get an Epidural for pain control that is the way to fly and keep it for several days. Keep us posted . Donna G

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surgery and recovery was actually very easy for me - they did a great job of managing pain.... within 4 weeks I was walking 2-3 miles a day.

the follow up chemo & radiation was tougher for me psychologically -- the ups and downs are tough. At least with surgery its a linear path to recovery......

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I had my left lung removed in 6/03. Altho you are having only part of a lung removed, you and I will be different in some things. I can tell you a few things tho that my surgeon told me to expect. You will prob have some tubes in your side to drain fluid. As far as the pain goes, If they put an epidural in your back don't be afraid to use it when you get in your room. If not, don't be afraid to ask for pain meds. Your best buddy while in the hospital is the pain meds and a pillow. Oh yes, don't forget to take one from home. This is to put under your arm when you caugh. Get up and walk as soon as possible... if only to bathroom. Do your breathing exercise as instructed.

As far as the recovery period, everyone is different. Your overall health has a lot to do with it. I can tell you this tho, mine was slow process as I am still recovering. Some people on here have returned to work in no time flat. My doctor would not let me return. Again I had a complete lung removed not just a lobe.

One last thing. PLEASE COME HERE AND LET US KNOW HOW YOU DO. Show a family member or friend how to get into site and post for you. We all care here. That is what makes us special.

Good luck to you and will be looking forward to your posts.


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Good point Bruce...

Don't cheat on the breathing exercises.... do them even though they will make you cough (and coughing hurts). I have a friend & co-worker who was a respiratory therapist and he gave me the advice to go the extra mile on th ebreathing excercises - he stated he saw people who didn't do the excercises have alot more issues than those that did.

For me, the epideral really managed the pain well.... and just so you know the time in surgery is just "absent time" really strange- but you will literally not remember a thing. One minute you are talking to the anestesiologist, the next minute you are in recovery waking up from surgery.

the first thing I said was "i am hungry, I want a steak & I want to go home"

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I had a upper left lobectomy Jan 2. It was a full thoracotomy because of the size of the mass and its nearness to the hilum. The pain was managed well with an epidural. If you have a slightly enlarged prostate, it may be best to leave the catheter on until you are over the effects of the epidural which can affect the prostate. I had the catheter removed while the epidural was still attached and could not void my bladder. The next day they put the catheter back on and I was discharged the following day with it still attached. It came off a few days later, but I got a bladder infection which I am taking medication for now. I was in the hospital for 6 days. The catheter experience was more unsettling for me than the actual cancer and operation.

I am still recovering and at this point I can pee just fine, I still have some swelling, I sometimes get cramps in my muscles along the incision site. There is not much pain now other than the cramps and occasional back aches. Hopefully the cramps and back aches will diminish over time. I go for walks and get a little aerobic which feels good. I was pretty conscientious about doing the breathing exercises.

I expect to go back to work around the end of January.

I guess I was scared at some moments, but mostly I was so surprised that it happened to me. It was all kind of dreamlike. I joked with the surgeon just before surgery. I asked him if he was dyslexic. He laughed a no. Then he drew a happy face over my left lung.

Bring slippers and a bathrobe. I also brought a sponge bob (cartoon character) puppet thing that would spout out sponge bob one liners whenever I tapped it. I was playing along with it on the day after my surgery and the nurses came running to see what the noise was. They laughed when they saw it was just me playing with sponge bob. One of his statements is, “ Don’t worry, I’ll be alright”.

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This is the name of the Doctor at the University of Minnesota who does VAT surgery to remove lung surgery. He is a professor there and he is also doing research on micrometastasis, in an effort to more accurately Stage lung cancer at the time of surgery. On the web site for the Cancer Center they listed his phone # 612-624-9461 Donna G

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Had upper rt lobectomy on 12/18/03. Now 5 weeks post op and will be returning to work this coming Monday. I too looked into VATS but due to the location of tumor it was not possible. Some tips for the hospital:

Epidural, Epidural, Epidural. This helped alot with the deep breathing and coughing exercises. Also helped with walking. The anesthesiologist will come and visit the next day after surgery and ask you if your pain is being controlled. If it isn't be honest. They can adjust the flow of meds for you because everyones tolerance level is different. If you can control the pain your recovery will be much quicker. I was up and walking the day after they adjusted the epidural and able to do the breathing exercises with little difficulty. I was given a pillow at the hospital that was small enough to put under my arm.

The first surgeon I went to wanted to make an incision from my shoulder down my back and under my arm pit. After seeking an opinion about the VATS surgery the type of incision I ended up with was just under the arm pit (about 2") and was about 3" long. I also have a small scar where the chest tube was (that was removed on the 2nd day).

Once the epidural is removed do not be afraid to ask for pain meds on a semi-regular basis. Don't wait until the pain gets so bad that you can't stand it, if you can keep a pretty constant level of pain meds on board then you are more likely to continue with breathing and walking exercises.

It would be best if you could have someone with you during your stay at the hospital. My husband stayed with me the whole time and he was able to voice my concerns and get things for me. Also he was my encouragement.

When you're home - make sure that your bedroom is set up with what you need. Have your significant other put all the things in your room that you will need so in their absence you won't have to get up too much at first.

I was able to get up and start walking around the block about three weeks after I was home. I had a couple of set backs after I got home (oral thrush for two weeks and two days of the flu). After that though I managed to get up and started walking around the house and then went outside in my pj's :D and walked up and down the driveway. My neighbors probably thought I was nuts but I needed to walk.

At my two week post op check up I was only taking a couple of pain pills a day and was feeling pretty good. Now walking around the lake which is about a mile and a half. No more pain meds. I get a little short of breath from time to time but recover pretty quick.

By the way you and I are the same age so if you're in pretty good health otherwise you'll do fine.

Keep us posted as to your recovery and God Speed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greetings to all I havent been on for a while. Getting my check list together from all the great feedback. I keep coming back here to read. all of you are so wonderful. So monday is my big day. Gotta say I am scared. but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. thanks to all of you for your advice. It has been very helpfull. I invite all of you to visit a web site a friend of mine put together to check on my progress untill i am able to visit this site again http://home.comcast.net/~amlaye/ my husband will be giving him daily updates to post. gotta say i dont know whether to party it up this weekend or wallow in my fear. i wish it was monday already!!!!!!take care ann

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Hello Ann;

Just wanted to say welcome to ya, and good luck on Mon. and I'd diffinitely opt for the PARTY !! :):) ,

They took my left lung over 2 & 1/2 years ago. Yea, it was no picnic thats for sure but I gotta tell ya I made it alot worse in my head. :roll:

There's already been alot of good advice, so I won't add. But also wanted to tell you that my family pic there on that bridge was taken 8 weeks after the lung came out. I was hiking through the rainforests of Costa Rica, again not easy but doable.

Again welcome, my best to ya, and you'll be in my prayers.

God Bless and be well

Bobmc- NSCLC- stageIIB- left pneumonectomy- 5/2/01

MRI's taken 12/18/03 - 2 brain mets found- named em Frick & Frack

PET taken 1/5 - hot spot in mediastinum May be cancer??

"Absolutely insist on enjoying life today!"

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I echo everyone's sentiments.....good luck on Monday. I had an upper left lobectomy in Nov '01. I was back at work exactly 4 weeks later and was walking around the block after 2 weeks. Yes, I pushed myself, but am convinced that this helps both physically and emotionally. BTW, surgeon said I was cured. Two years later I had a reoccurrace. Just remember that medicine is the most inexact science of all. You are in charge of your own destiny, you have to take charge of your treatment, no one else has a bigger stake in this than you.

Again, good luck & take care,


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Absolutely party!

Fear has no good sides. Happy only has good sides. Enjoy the weekend, it looks like the weather is alot better here this weekend.

Wow, it is over freezing and the sun is out. Enjoy.

Prayers for a successful surgery and an easy an speedy recovery.

Where are you having the surgery? My huband had his at Fox Chase, had considered UofP


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