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VATS / Mediastinoscopy Surgery this coming Monday 10/01


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I doubt I will be like some other remarkable people here - posting right after surgery! I probably won't even have my laptop with me and my phone will stay with my son (I recall reading Lexie saying something about her phone being stolen at the hospital!)

Really scared, I have to admit.  I am terrified of the procedure. I am terrified of what I'm about to find out.  I finally got access this a.m. to the surgeon's notes from our consult.  I did not even know there is another GGO on my right upper lung, in addition to the one they are concerned about (also RUL), so they will be getting 2 tumors at once. Guess that's the good news!  I also read the surgeon said something about "parenchyma" - getting info on that would be possibly "useful down the road"... I'm not sure what this means, do not recall discussing this term.

I don't know why I am so scared. Just really worn out in trying to make this all work for me, my son, living in a fairly new city, new home, no friends or family.  This morning I wanted to just call off the whole thing.  I sure don't feel as strong as the rest of you on this site! I can't seem to shake my fear and just go with this.  I feel like I'm in a really bad dream.

In any case, I will try to update shortly after surgery, if possible.  In the meantime, please send good wishes... they do help... for both my son and me!  Thank you! He's holding up much better than me. I can hardly think.  I am really upset...

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Hang in there! Of course you're scared. You're faced with some big unknowns. Your decisions and plans are made and now It's just putting one foot in front of the other, doing what's in fromt of you at the moment.  You cn do this!  Please do update us after surgery when you are able. You may be surprised at how soon this is.

Edited by BridgetO
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Yes, you CAN do this--and you will do much better than you think you will.  It's OK to be scared, but try to get off "terrified."  Right now there's cause for worry, fear, anxiety, but not terror.  There's every reason to believe this will have a good outcome.  Keep reminding yourself of that.  

In my own experience, the more I let myself get overwhelmed with fear, the more difficult the whole thing becomes.  Give yourself some positive talk.  You've got a potentially serious health issue but you're addressing it promptly and responsibly.  Something to be proud of.  Go, YOU!  :) 


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ColleenRae, your big day is tomorrow! If anything like me, when it was scheduled I thought it seemed so far away & the next thing I knew, my day was here. I hope you've found a little bit of peace with this. You are much stronger than you realize! I will be praying for you, your son & your medical team tomorrow. Do you know what time you are schedule for? We'll all be looking forward to your update in a few days. 

Shelby (shelkay1) 

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Hello Everybody!

I'm home! I survived! Ha! 

Now I know this is not a laughing matter by any means, but in comparing my fear prior to surgery and how I am feeling right now, I do feel a little absurd for being so worried pre-surgery.

I had my VATS surgery last Monday, 10/01.  Everything prior to the surgery went very smooth (cab ride from home to Seattle, getting son settled in at hotel, etc).  I got calmer the closer it got to surgery time. I think you get to the point where you have no choice - if you've decided to go ahead with surgery, you have to accept that and hope for the best.

So, here is the update:  Surgery was approximately 3 hours long. Surgeon performed a mediastinoscopy prior to the lobectomy.  I remember absolutely nothing. Woke up in a private room (now that was a pleasant surprise! I thought I'd be sharing a room).  Surgeon came in to speak with me but I was so groggy I missed the whole conversation. He seemed quite pleased - enough to where he said he thought I could go home the next day.  I did dispute this... and as the hours progressed, I developed a hematoma above my right breast/right armpit which helped my case to stay longer.  Thank goodness for drugs...! I felt pretty darn good with only some anticipated soreness when I moved. I was well-cared for in the hospital.  A nurse practictioner from the surgeon's office came by on Wednesday and wanted to discharge me again, but my O2 levels were quite down. I was then told I would need to leave with oxygen. For some reason, that got me really down and I started to cry.  Fortunately the respiratory therapist and two nurses who had been attending me were "on my side" and I was able to postpone the discharge one more day.  It was a good thing as I felt 100% better by Thursday, 10/04 when they released me. I no longer required oxygen. All stats looked good.

My surgeon had been waiting for the pathology report and told me on Thursday morning that things could not have gone better. He advised that my lungs looked quite clean, that the tumor was indeed adenocarcinoma so we did not make the wrong decision in getting the lobectomy.  He felt confident he had removed everything and said there was no lymph node involvement or metastasis.  He is labeling this as a Type1a and said I do not require any further treatment (but he did mention something I didn't catch fully that he wants the pathologist to look into further). He also said that as of now, he does not believe I will require anything other than a yearly cat scan.  He looked very happy... I was, too, but I think I was too doped up or maybe in too deep of thought to share in his joy.  If this is all true, then I feel very grateful that this tumor was located and followed early. Very grateful.

Overall, you were all correct. Yes, I am sore, but I've had worse pain than this in my life.  I've been ambulatory since the day of surgery. I'm sore and very sleepy due to the med's, but thank goodness for them!  I'm doing my breathing exercises (O2 stats have been surprisingly very good) and trying to walk a lot (legs feel great; just don't have as much stamina). I'll be going to Seattle again next Friday to meet with an RN and the surgeon in about 6 weeks.  Once I was able to see where the incisions were made, etc. I was really surprised... It looks more like I had a mastectomy.  I had no idea the scar would go across my breast like it does (the largest of the VATS incisions). My throat is pretty swollen and bruised from the mediastinoscopy. I've got a lot of bruising along my stomach and right hip as well.  I pretty much look like I was kicked and beat up!  I didn't expect all of the bruising or that the one incision would be so large (it's probably between 3.5 - 4").  But again, overall, I feel quite good. I'm just going to keep taking care of myself and doing what I'm told for the time being.  I can tell it will be hard to be patient in healing, but admit it's a real luxury to be able to rest when I need it!

Thanks to ALL of you for your kind thoughts, notes and support in helping me get to my surgery date.  I am very grateful for all of the support.  I feel grateful that I was able to get a VATS lobectomy and that things have gone smoothly so far. This whole experience has changed me in more ways than I can express.  I am grateful to the support of strangers and hope to help others one day like you've all helped me.  Time to hit the sack... I'm really a bore these days! Very sleepy from the med's!

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I'm so glad to hear everything went so well!  And even with the "large" incision you had, the "open" surgery would have been bigger and more painful (along with a longer recovery).

I take it your son is doing well, too?  This was probably a good experience for him, too, in terms of having to take responsibility for himself (and you) for a bit.  

Keep taking good care of yourself, and you'll be feeling back to normal in no time!

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Congrats on a successful surgery ColleenRae!  I am happy to hear that the surgery was rather uneventful.  And eventho we may feel silly afterward about how worried we were about a procedure, I would rather feel silly than realize that all of my worry was for a reason and the procedure went horrible!  

Take care...baby steps,


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Hi Colleen,

Thanks for posting all the details. You can see that people are glad to hear from  you!  And for your great results. The big scar is surprising for VATS. My biggest one is probably a little over an inch. I didn't have any bruising, either. But scar and bruising are a small price to pay for having that thing out of there. Good for you for advocating for yourself to stay in the hospital longer when you needed to. Keep us up to date on your recovery.

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