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Hi...I am a caretaker to my husband recently diagnosed with stage 1a adenocarcinoma.  My husband is obese and a VATS procedure was planned, but the surgeon was unable to perform the VATS and a larger incision was done.  The cancer was 2.5 cm and the lower right lobe was removed with clean margins.  Two lymph nodes removed and returned clear.  Feeling very grateful, however, his recovery has been difficult.  Breathing is very labored when walking from the living room to the bathroom.  A week home, after a 10 day hospital stay, we received oxygen for home use.  My husband had one kidney, due to removal of the other kidney due to renal carcinoma, three years ago.  He is a diabetic, albeit controlled with medication.  I feel like we have a long road, but am hopeful.   Thank you for your support.

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Hi, nan,

I just had similar surgery--fortunately, I was able to get the VATS.  I'm sure that larger incision of his has to be painful.  I'm almost completely recovered nearly three weeks after my surgery.

You might want to try to encourage him to work with a nutritionist to try to get his weight down.  I had been working on weight loss when I was diagnosed but had lost about 42 pounds (on purpose) before that happened--I have no doubt losing the weight helped speed my recovery.  If he can drop some weight and get a bit more active that would probably do wonders for his overall health, including the diabetes.  Stage 1a is good news, as these things go--but the other health problems from the weight can be as lethal as cancer.  

Glad you're here--there are some very kind and knowledgeable people here!


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Welcome here.  Teri's stated good points.  In addition, I add having him sleep in an elevated position using triangle pillows available at mattress supply stores.  This helps transfer the body weight from the back to the hips and eases incision pain. Do you have access to a pool?  After his stitches (staples) are removed, it the surgical area is still painful, he might sit  submerged up to his shoulders to relieve the gravitational pressure in his incisions.  I, unfortunately, had a lung removed and they needed to return two times to deal with complications.  I use the pool every day and it is welcomed relief for my chronic incision pain.  Has he been tested for sleep apnea?  If he does and he does not use a CPAP, his breathing will be complicated by the surgery.  The oxygen will help but body weight and sleep apnea are companion problems.    

His is an early find and you should look forward to a resolved cancer but reduced lung capacity and weight will be a problem.  So work on the weight reduction and enjoy quality of life without cancer.

Stay the course.


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Hello Nan.  Glad you found us.  To Tom's point--  After I had my Lobectomy, and it was an open incision, during my recovery

the Doctor prescribed exercising at the YMCA in the exercise pool to get me back in shape.  They joined me up in a class so it was several times a week.

The pool does also give you resistants  but the water  does sort of protect you from getting so much pain.

Keep us posted on how he is doing.


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My mom, who is obese with controlled diabetes, had her upper, right lobe removed over 1 year ago.  She had a large incision and still feels pain from it and pain under her shoulder blade.  After about a month of recovery, my mom started to breathe better.  She had to have fluid removed from her lungs a few times and still has fluid around her lung over 1 year later - her doctors say that's normal and the fluid continues to decrease.  Both of these issues affected her breathing to begin with.  She didn't breathe well before the surgery but breathes much better now, but she had to work up to it.  Once she was done with her cancer treatment after surgery, she attended a pulmonary exercise class at our local hospital.  She has attended regularly for many years as she needs it and it does wonders - they monitor your oxygen level and heart rate.  As others said, she also does water walking a few times a week.  Although she doesn't lose weight, she keeps her muscles in shape and gets her breathing up.

She also swears by her CPAP (as others have said, if he hasn't had a sleep study, he should).  Although she was on oxygen after surgery, she is no longer on oxygen full time.  She does have oxygen piped into her CPAP while she sleeps and it helps with her O2 levels throughout the day.  Finally, (as others have said), my mom also swears by her adjustable bed so she can sleep in an elevated position when needed.  She used a wedge pillow for many years and when my parents needed a new bed, they just decided to get an adjustable one.

I hope some of this info helps or provides some hope. Your husband's breathing will likely get better. Might he need to be on oxygen full time? - maybe. but if my mom was able to get off of oxygen full time thru exercise, there's a chance your husband can too.  

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Hi Nan and welcome,

Everybody who replied said all the things I would have  said==sleeping elevated, the pool, etc. 

I also had  1A adenocarcinoma. I was lucky to be able to have VATS for my lobectomy. My surgery was last November and I'm doing well.

I wish all the best for you and your husband. You'll find hope and help on this forum, I think.


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