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New and ready for surgery


Frank A

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I am new here and have been reading the forums mining info. In March I had a CT that showed two nodules one 13x7 mm in my left lower lobe and one 6x9 mm in my left upper lobe. Six months later another CT reveals lower lobe nodule is stable and unchanged. the upper lobe nodule has doubled in size to13x10 mm. Met twice with thoracic surgeon and have surgery scheduled for Nov 28, 2018. He will be removing the left upper lobe completely and seems confident this will take care of it as he said, "the bad news it is most probably cancer, but good news it has been caught early ". I am trying to keep a most positive attitude, and have a great supportive family. Some background, I am 75 yrs. young, I was a smoker for about 45 yrs., two packs a day, and quit smoking just over 7 yrs, ago. Thanks for any thoughts. Frank

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Hi Frank and welcome.  Is your surgery going to be VATS (video assisted)?  I had that (at age 71) and had a fairly fast recovery and am doing well today. It's good that you have a supportive family-- that's a real plus.  A suggestion I give to everybody is to get a foam wedge pillow. You will be more comfortable and breathe easier after surgery with your upper body elevated. I tried to do this with a sitting-up-in-bed pillow and other pillows and ended up with a kink in my neck. The wedge  was great!  Best wishes and keep us posted.

Bridget O

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Thanks for your reply Bridget. I will be having a thoracotomy , lobectomy, all new terms for me. I will be looking to buy a wedge pillow tomorrow. Thank you so much for your advice as my stress level is on a very up and down path. Frank 

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I want to chime in about the wedge pillows.  I bought one for my mom after her lobectomy but she said it didn't help.  We bought a 4 inch egg crate mattress topper for her bed and she swears swears that helped her the most.  You could buy both and I'm sure have a lot of relief.   Good luck with your surgery,  Frank.        Joy

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Hi Frank, 

I am 70 years old and had my right upper lobe removed on Oct. 26.  So 25 days into the recovery process. My surgeon told me 3 to 7 days in hospital, and 6 to 8 weeks recovery.  Right now, I think that she was right on with her expectations. I had robotic surgery. 

It certainly isn't the best time I have ever had in my life, but I am weathering it pretty good, for old gal.

The medical profession has become very good at this surgery, they know just what to expect and how it should all go. I have had to just relax and go with what makes sense for me, each day on that day and slowly but surely every day gets better. 

 

 

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Joy, picked up a wedge pillow today and hope for me it is the solution post op. Thanks for your input, it gives me a backup plan.                                                                                                              Pip, thanks for your response, it seems to be about the same as my surgeon's thoughts about recovery, but said I would have a fair  amount of pain that they would control with strong meds. This is something that concerns me greatly "the strong meds".  Thank you both.  Frank

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If you're having a thorocotomy (open surgery), you are likely to have more pain and a longer recovery than with VATS or robotic, which are both done with very small incisions and tiny cameras and instruments. The open surgery requires a bigger insision and spreading of ribs, which results in more pain. Good results can be expected from any of these types of surgery. Most people need opiate/opiod meds after surgery. I had oxycodone. It helped with the pain, which in my case was primarily from a chest drain tube that needed to stay in for about 10 days. Can you tell us what your concerns are about "strong meds"? Probably someone on here can answer questions and/or give reassurance.

Bridget

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I am likely blowing my concerns about the meds out whack. I remember how my mother struggled with weaning off oxycodone a few years ago. She is a 28 yr. survivor of breast cancer and has stabilized cancer of the bone. She is doing well for being 98. I have had an aversion to strong pain meds, but I feel that I this pain will be stronger than I have experienced in the past with 3 crushed vertebrae and separated ribs. I will listen to my doctors, nurses, and deal with what comes.                 Frank

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Frank, People sometimes do have trouble weaning off of oxycodone or other opiates. Since your mom had this, I understand your concern. If you use what's prescribed, as it's prescribed, and no longer than necessary, you're pretty unlikely to have problems.  It is important right after surgery to take what you need to take to stay ahead of the pain. If you wait until it becomes intolerable, it can be had to control at all.  Listening to your doctors and dealing with what comes sounds like a good plan. Share your concerns with them.

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19 hours until surgery prep and after weeks of really up and down anxiety, emotions, and stress, I am feeling an unexpected feeling of extreme calm. I believe support of family, friends and the people on this forum has brought me to this place of calmness. Thank you patients, survivors, and caregivers for your information, and critical support.   Frank

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Hi Frank, 

Best of luck with your thoracotomy! I had the surgery in Oct 2017 (age 61), and was in the hospital for 8 days. The pain meds are essential and the docs should be able to help you with how to cut back on them after you leave the hospital. 

 

Ro

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Thank you Roz. Had call from pre-op nurse this afternoon and she told me I would probably only be in the hospital 2 days, 1 day in ICU and 1 day in a room. This does not seem to fit with all that I read here. I believe it will all work out as it will work out.    Frank

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Frank,

I guess you won't find out until after you have the surgery. But since your nodule is only 13 x 10 mm, the doc must be thinking a relatively straightforward thoracotomy. My mass was 9.7 cm! So, it was huge! I still think it takes awhile for the body to recover from this surgery so just take it one day at a time. They will try to get you up fairly soon, and the more you can get up and walk, practice your breathing, etc., will determine when you will be ready to go home. If you have any questions be sure to ask them, and have your significant others be present to ask/answer questions too. Let us all know how you are doing afterwards. You've got this!

Take care,


Ro

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Hi, Frank.  Hope your surgery went well and you are recovering comfortably.  

I just read through this string and thought I'd throw in my two cents. I had a lobectomy of my upper left lobe in early 2016, and it was the traditional surgery. VATS was not an option for me.  I was in ICU for two days and a regular room for four days.  While in the hospital, I had some pretty heavy pain meds but when I left, my script was for something other than an opiate.  You may or may not need muscle relaxers. One of the not-so-fun side effects I had was these very odd, strong, and painful spasms deep inside of my chest.  The spasms were strong enough that you could watch fluid come flying out of my chest tube.🤢

I also slept at a bit of an incline and felt like it helped. The best thing you can do post-op is to get up and move about, and to use that respiratory therapy gadget you'll receive.  

Please let us know how you're doing.

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Roz, Steff, Paula C, and Susan, thank you so much for your encouragement and support. A short report: had my lobectomy on Wed afternoon 28 Nov. Home today 3 Dec 2018. Preliminary results are left upper lobe removed and nodule was malignant. Nodule was squamous cell carcinoma, margins were clear as were 2 lymph nodes. It has not been staged yet but I am hopeful as can be with pathology in two weeks when I see my pulmonologist. It is good to be home after 5 days in the hospital. Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and support. I will update as I get more info.     Frank

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