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pip1948

Not sure it is cancer?????

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I actually did not have that much pain.  I went back on pain killers in the hospital because they had to re-insert the chest tube, but really, my pain was minimal.  The oxy made me sick to my stomach so I couldn't wait to get off them.  Plus they cause constipation, which is very unpleasant.

Everyone is different, though.  Your pain should start to improve before too long.  There are a few people for whom lingering pain is a problem, but overall not that many.

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" before too long", "Lingering Pain", "a few days". these are all very relative terms.  I am 7 days post op. I had surgery last Friday and today is Friday. I have been home 4 nights and 3 days. How long exactly did you use the oxy? And when you stopped did you just wait for pain, and if it was significant take the med?    Everything that I have read said not to do that to stay in front of it? So, I am still a little confused as to how I do this? What is reasonable and what is not? 

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I did not use the oxy more than one day after I got home (both times).  It made me feel sick.  I took 6 mg of ibuprofen instead--the prescription strength, and took it on the regular schedule.  It's important to stay ahead of the pain.  If you're still having significant pain, maybe you still need to be taking the heavy-duty meds.  Everyone's experience is different--the incisions are different, nerves might be damaged for one person but not another, and individual tolerances for pain are different, too.  I preferred some pain to nausea.  I would rather hurt than be sick to my stomach.  I've found that as long as my pain level is high enough to need the narcotic meds, they don't bother my stomach.  When they start making me feel sick, that's my personal cue to move on to the ibuprofen.

Your surgeon or nurse practitioner is the best person to advise you regarding your own situation.

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Pip,

A number of doctors have told me that as long as one is in significant pain, taking narcotic pain killers should not become an addictive situation.  I have chronic pain and sometimes with a muscle cramp in the plane of my incisions, the chronic pain level spikes significantly.  I do however try not to take narcotic medication, not because of an addictive threat, but because narcotics plays havoc with my digestive system.

I've found lidocaine patches to really work.  I use prescription strength but over-the-counter patches are nearly as strong.  My wife applies them with surgical tape around the perimeter to ensure they stay adhered. They work well with me and I avoid constipation.  They don't eliminate the pain but knock it down a couple of notches so I can go on with my day or more importantly, have a chance at sleeping.

Here is another trick I discovered by chance very recently.  After my wife applied lidocaine patches, my cat fell asleep in the crook of my right arm.  Her body heat seemed to intensify the pain relieving capacity of the patches.  Last week after a pain spike, I used a heating pad after patches were applied and that accelerated the pain relieving property of the patches substantially.  Having tried a heading pad alone and realizing no pain relieving benefit suggests that this combination of heat and lidocaine works.  Give it a try.

Stay the course.

Tom 

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Laurel, you said that you had pain for months?  I am 9 days post op and don't feel like I am progressing like I should be listening to people here.  I am still sleeping a large portion of the day and am feeling accomplished if I shower and walk to the mail box, get easy simple things to eat for myself and just do my breathing exercises. I do walk around in the house and yesterday I washed a load of clothes. But I haven't folded them yet. I am going to try to change my bed linen myself today. I just feel like from what people are saying here, that I should be going out and doing more. They were talking about going out of the house with the drainage tube in. I couldn't even imagine that?!

I also am wondering how in the world one puts on a bra so soon after this?  the drainage tube incision as well as another one are right on my bra line! There is no way that I could put on a bra. I am a large busted woman and that would be very painful. Most of my incisions still have bandages on them. My instructions say that I can take them off if they haven't fallen off from showering after 7 days, but they are all pretty firmly attached. I am afraid that I may pull off a scab or something?   The most pain that I am having now is from  around those incisions. I almost feel as though the bottom of my rib cage is bruised, if that makes any sense. Getting comfortable to sleep is still kind of difficult and I seem to do it in four hour naps. 

When I walk or move around a lot, like showering and changing clothes I get pretty tired and have to rest in between doing things.   I guess I am asking if this sounds appropriate at this point in my recovery to you?  You seem to be the only one that has had continuing pain. 

I am only taking over the counter pain meds and using the Lidocaine patches now for two days, and I feel better over all, off the oxycodone, but it does make it more difficult to do the activities that I need to do. 

I am 70 years old and am wondering if that might make a difference in the speed of my recovery as well?  I guess that I am looking for some confirmation that I am doing OK for now. 

 

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pip1948- I am 72. My drainage tube was removed the day I left the hospital last February. My pain was not overwhelming, but I am a believer in staying ahead of pain. I used gabepentin pain pills... slowly moving down in prescription level. If I was going to be moving a lot, I added Salon Pas over the counter pain patches. My pain was usually in side muscles and below drainage tube area.  You do what you can...not measuring by anyone else. Walking to mailbox..doing laundry are huge. At times, the laundry would sit in dryer for days.  I did not wear a bra for weeks. When I did, I found pull on maternity bras from Amazon.com...which I still wear.  You are doing great! We all bounce back at different rates. Rest, hydrate, move when you can.  Hugs.

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There are post-surgical bras you can order on Amazon (among other places) that are specifically for those who have had chest surgery.  I'm small-breasted, so I was able to manage by wearing light vests over my tops.  I found it possible to wear very soft stretchy bras that might not provide enough support for you, which is why I suggest looking into the post-surgery bras.  

I think I might wait to change the bed linens till you're feeling stronger.  Lifting the corners of mattresses takes a bit of muscle and it might be too painful at the moment.  Just being up and walking around a bit is probably the best exercise for right now.  

 

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We all heal at different rates. Sounds like you're in the normal range. I think Laurel and LexiCat have som good suggestions. I definitely agree that changing the bed linens sounds daunting- lifting, stretching, etc. Can you get someone else to do it? And about laundry-- I had a fairly easy recovery but had to do laundry in a really gingerly way at first. Carrying a full laundry basket wasn't feasible given the lifting restrictions. My washer and dryer are a few feet away from each other and I needed to move clothes a few at time. Also stretching to reach into the back of the washer was a no-go. if there wasn't somebody around to do it, I used a reacher (again very carefully). I had to be careful how I moved to minimize pain. Hang in there, it will get better. 

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My mom's VATS surgery was on Sept 24th.  On follow up visit with her surgeon he said she could continue all normal activitites, including lifting, on Nov 1st.  I hope that gives a good timeline.       Joy

 

 

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Thank you all for the information you have given.  Originally my surgeon told me 6 to 8 weeks recovery, but then I read here about people seeming to recover a lot faster, and thought that she was doing worst case scenario.  But maybe not?  

You have all been very helpful thank you. 

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You're nine days out of surgery.  There's a big gap between that and 6-8 weeks.  Just because you're still feeling bad right now doesn't mean it will take that long to feel better.

My best advice is to prepare for it to take that long and hope it's a lot sooner.  There's a good chance you'll be feeling quite a bit better before that much time passes.  

I think, in dealing with EVERYTHING lung-cancer-related, a flexible mindset is one of the most useful attitudes to cultivate.  Don't count on everything going a certain way, whether good or bad.  The unexpected (both good and bad) happen a lot.  We are all different people, with different factors affecting our experience, and every cancer is different, too.    And just because someone else's experience is different from yours doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong.  It's just different, and that may be all there is to it.  

That's also why, when you're asking about people's experiences with treatment, side effects, etc., it's important to remember that just because that was one person's experience--or even several people's experience--yours might be completely different.  By not counting on things going exactly a certain way you will spare yourself a lot of worry, disappointment, and stress.  There's enough of that in anything involving lung cancer without adding to it.  :) 

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I had a lower left lobectomy. I'm 8 weeks out; it took till about week 7 to start feeling like there really was an end in sight. I am also large busted & just the weight of my breast was very painful. BALI make a line of bras called Comfort Revolution I'm finding most comfortable. Not my normal support, but better than nothing. Zulily has them now for $14.99. I tried my underwires this morning & decided they aren't happening anytime soon. I am normally a 38DDD & wear a 3X in this. Be patient, there are better days ahead.                       I'm now in the chemo stage. They classified me as stage 2 B - T3/N0/MX (X=unknown) they were not able to remove all of the tumor. Radiation will follow, probably starting beginning of February.

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pip,

You had a portion of an organ removed. It takes time to heal and it takes time for your body to become accustomed to having part of an organ missing.  You are up and walking, caring for yourself and seemingly rather healthy.  So give yourself a break. Everyone recovers differently.

As far as changing sheets, I changed my mom's sheets for at least a month.  Then she started to help me, then she started to do it on her own.  At first she was afraid of bending and pulling, but once her incisions were healed, it was still an exhausting job for her.  As far as pain, my mom dealt with it mainly with OTC pain relievers.  However, my mom has a very high pain tolerance as she has chronic back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

My mom had issues with bras too, she tried specialty bras and nothing worked.  She ended up just wearing tight camis to keep herself from bouncing.  She was thankful that her surgery was in the winter so she could wear jackets and vests as well.  You may want to try tight, spandex-like camis.  It won't give you the support, but there will not be a band directly across the incisions.  Even nearly 3 years later, there are days where there is nerve pain at her incision site and it hurts to wear a bra, so this might be something you are battling for awhile.    

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That is exactly how I feel, as though the weight of my breast is actually pulling on the incisions, and one of them falls right under it, and it feels like it is getting chapped, or something like that. I am actually having more trouble sleeping than anything else. Sitting up or walking around is better than trying to lay down and sleep. I have tried everything elevation, flat and everything in between, you name it. I talked to the doctors office this morning and they are going give me something in between the heavy duty pain killer that they were giving me and over the counter stuff. I am so hoping that it lets me get a good nights sleep. Can't get it until tomorrow, no doctors in the office. The problems with surgeons! They need a better system. 

Thank you so much for the info,  perhaps larger busted women have more pain and problems than smaller busted women. I too, am a 3x and a 42 DDD, so that may all make a difference. I will definitely look into those bras, I am going to need something to go back to work in. 

Sounds like you have more ahead of you. I hope that it all goes well

I don't know what is ahead for me, my post opt appointment is in three days, if I understood them correctly I should be getting my lab results then. But, depending on what they have to say, I am not sure that I am going to go any further with treatment, than this surgery. As I said in the beginning of my posting, just to verify that it was cancer and get it biopsied I had to do this. It was cancer which I expected and after verifying that,  they took the top right lobe, two lymph nodes and biopsied eight other lymph nodes. So, I will find out what they know now and make decisions based on that, I guess? My Pulmonologist was so optimistic that this little spot was it, but the surgeon wasn't so optimistic. So we will see? 

 I really appreciate your input, it makes me feel like I am trying to rush things. You are 8 weeks out, I am not even two weeks out. It has been 10 days since my surgery day today. When I talked to the nurse this morning she said, it was perfectly normal for me to have the pain that I am having. 

Good luck to you, 

 

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Steff,

Thank you for your comments. I did change my sheets, but I have a single bed and a 6 inch memory foam mattress, which is really much easier and lighter  to change than most beds. Had it been a traditional mattress and a larger bed, I probably won't even have tried.

But, giving me information about your mother and her experiences really helps me to mentally position myself for where I am at.  The more people that I hear from the normal my experience sounds.  I think Lexicat, had an unusually easy time of it, compared to most people. So, maybe I am doing pretty good after all. 

Thank you.

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While I was in the hospital I was put on Gabapentin 600 mgs/3x day.  About week 3 when I was off all oxy & still having that much pain, they increased it to 900 mg/3x day. I think it really helped make it tolerable. Gabapentin is a drug to help with nerve pain, currently weaning myself off these & it seems to be going ok. I read so many posts, I don't remember if you are using it or not. Another help with the bra issue is using a back extender, you can get them almost anywhere that sells sewing supplies (or amazon).

Wishing you the best moving forward!

 

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They have not given me Gabapentin, but I have taken it before. I am now on the lowest dose of hydrocodone, with tylenol, instead of the oxy. I am tolerating that a lot better, It is prescribed for every 6 hours, but I I usually go longer and am able to sleep through the night now. I was also a lot more active yesterday with the pain relief, which was good for me. I really appreciate all of your information and help. Thank you. 

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I just wanted to update everyone here on my progress. My first post op appointment was yesterday. I am 1a !!!  No further treatment! So, of course, I am thrilled as is my family.

Now it is just recovering from the surgery.  My doctor added Gabapentin to my pain killer regime. She said what I am experiencing is nerve pain and that it is very common. I see her again in 4 weeks and she said we would talk about me going back to work then. She is pleased with my progress and says that everything I am experiencing is normal and expected. And discussed that a large breasted woman will indeed have more pain issues than a small breasted woman.  We discussed support options, that might help. 

I had to share my good news. 

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Thank you.  I just ordered a  Rhonda Shear Everyday molded cup camisole.  Has anyone that is large busted every tried these after surgery?   It has cups in the front but no band around the Bra line.   It is a camisole so goes to the waist and I think it is stretchy kind of tight material. My doctor thinks finding something that will give me some support will help lesson the pain. I am a 42 DDD cup, so it is really an issue. 

I am going to give it a try?  If anyone here has tried them I would love to hear about their experience.  

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