Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hello I am new here. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and had his vats surgery yesterday. Googling brought me to this forum so am hoping for advice post surgery.

hello everyone :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ld,

Welcome here.  

VATs method is generally, usually, almost always an easier recovery than a large thoracotomy incision.  Assuming he'll be in the hospital for a couple of days yet, I'd go shopping for a wedge pillow to elevate his sleeping position.  The idea is to achieve enough angle to transfer some of the upper body weight from his back to his hips and elevating does that.  His hospital bed is perhaps already elevated and you may want to mirror that angle in his home bed if possible.

Others on this site with VATs experience will provide additional information.

Stay the course.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Tom. He is recovering so well at the moment apart from this air leak. He won’t be home until after the weekend due to this leak (which means at least a 7 day stay) 

hes actually sat up out of bed most of the time but I’ve already ordered a medical frame that has different angles to sit against and he can use cushions for comfort :) thanks for the tip.

im praying this leak goes and then he can get well on the road to recovery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome,

I had a VATS lobectomy more than 2 years ago. An elevated sleeping position is my number 1 recommendation  and you're already on to that. Sitting up out of bed and  also walking around  is a help in recovery, too. I had an air leak. They sent me home the day after surgery with a drain tube and bag in place. This is an option for some people and also the practice varies from hospital. to hospital. From what I hear from others on this forum, keeping folks in the hospital until the drain is out is more common.

I'm doing fine. My recovery was very fast. My cancer was adenocarcinoma stage 1a and I didn't need further treatment. I do get regular CT scans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ld,

I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s diagnosis.  My father was diagnosed with lung cancer about seven years ago.  Unfortunately for him a lobectomy was not an option.  I am currently recovering from a full right upper lobe lobectomy I had done on Tuesday, from that surgery I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Adenocarcioma NSCLC.  I was able to come home last night.    The complications your dad is having are not uncommon and usually clear up in a few days.  I will tell you that I have found Tom’s recommmendation regarding the foam wedge pillow to be a good one.  I’ve been using it along with other pillows to keep me propped up at night.  It provides the necessary amount of stability so I don’t have to keep adjusting the pillows.  He will want to be propped up.  I would also try and get a comfortable arm chair for next to the bed so he can get up and out of bed each day.  I find getting out of bed to be difficult but once I’m up I feel a lot better.  The arm chair is a good first step.  Walking and doing the spirometer (breathing exercises) as much as possible also helps a lot.  I actually feel less pain when I walk.  There is a little with the spirometer but it goes away quickly.  I’ve noticed considerable improvement the more I’ve done both.

I’ve been the caregiver and am now the patient.  In the beginning when I was the caregiver I funneled a lot of my energy into the physical things my dad needed.  As time went on I found he needed as much or more emotional support than physical.  Now as the patient I understand that even more.  He may feel really uncomfortable with this situation if the caregiver/care receiver roles have changed without much notice.  Let him know you love him, that this diagnosis hasn’t changed who he is and that things will get better.  If he was able to have a VATs lobectomy the prognosis is better than with other treatments.  

You will find lots of support and answers to questions I’m sure you both will have on this forum   Keep coming back to ask them and give us updates   

My thoughts are with you both.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all so much for the replies. He’s still in hospital due to this leak (5 days post op now) and they have said he has surgical emphysema:( he’s swollen and still has the drain in with digital pump on. His levels did drop a little but are not getting better and x Ray  shows air in The tissue. They did say be patient as it can take time but Mum has now mentioned more possible surgery. I can’t help but worry after reading all the complications. If it wasn’t for this I am sure he would be home 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ld,

I had a chest tube in until about an hour before they released me.  They pulled the tube, did an X-ray and sent me packing within an hour.  Keeping the tube in for as long as is needed is standard.  I was told I could be in the hosptital for as much as seven days depending on how well the fluid drained.  It’s differemt for everyone.  I’m only 42 so that may have had an impact on my getting out of the hospital when I did.  I also had an air pocket at the top of my chest cavity that they were watching.  It didn’t get any bigger or any smaller so they decided it wasn’t of concern.  I know all of this is scary, frustrating and sometimes overwhelming but what is happening are expected in some cases and correctable. Breathe deep and take some time for your self while dad is resting.  Your health is just as important, its easy to forget that right now.  You need to be healthy and strong if you want to be there for him.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, LD,

I had "surgical emphysema" (aka subcutaneous emphysema, aka crepitus) after my VATS surgery.  I got sent home when it wasn't too bad, but had to return to the hospital the next day because it got progressively worse.  I was ALL swollen up, and it was pretty uncomfortable (though not especially dangerous).  I had to have another chest tube placed so I could be properly deflated.

So all things considered, I think your dad is better off having it taken care of now--going BACK to the hospital was no fun at all.  It should resolve within a few days with no lingering effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone. He has had another drain put in which appears to be slowly working. He’s in pain from this second drain though. 

The consultant said it has to be done slowly so am hopefully in a few days he can come home. 

Thanks for your well wishes and support 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, that's how it worked for me.  A few days to slowly "deflate."  As I recall, when I finally went home I still had a bit of the "crispies" right around the bottom of my neck but those, too, went away within a matter of days.  Apparently the body can normally reabsorb the small amounts of air that continue to leak out, but if the leak is too big the body can't keep up.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahh thanks Curt. I’m here now and he’s had the drain clamped today and his lung looks good on the X-ray. Drains out tomorrow and hopefully home following that. Also had pathology report and got all the tumour and none in his nodes. He does still seem a little swollen.

how are you doing? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All VERY encouraging news!  I was still a bit swollen when I went home the second time, but it continued to go down and was all gone in a matter of days.  Chances are good that this will be IT for treatment, though he will have scans every six months or so to make sure it stays that way.

What type of cancer did the pathology report say?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is all really good news.   There is a good chance this is all the treatment he will need.  Getting that tube out is a huge step towards being more comfortable and getting better.  It’s a slow process but it happens.  There will still be quite a bit of swelling under his arm if they removed lymph nodes.  I’ve been using a small pillow under that arm when I walk around or am sitting down.  It helps keep the weight of my arm off that area  The pillow also doubles as something to squeeze when I need to cough or sneeze.  Getting up and moving around helps a lot with the swelling. I know it’s not easy but it helps the body move the fluid out.  

I’m doing good.  A bit of cabin fever but good.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone - what a lovely caring bunch you are ❤️ 

The consultant has always said he would need no further treatment after his scans and biopsy (not sure how they knew that) so that’s amazing news. We just saw his registrar on a walk round the ward and she gave us the news but not a full report (his consultant is away the weekend) his original letter said adenocarcinmo.

before we left they said another x Ray today and then if all is well the drain is out. They are nervous to make a decision on sending home and I think they want the consultant too (although Friday she said I won’t see you now until outpatient so she must of thought he would be home)

i can imagine the cabin fever is hard. Can you get outside for a walk yet? They told my dad to so he can build lung capacity 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He should be fine for walking.  I was taking walks as soon as I got home.  Nothing too strenuous, but plain walking is good.  

They were probably able to make an educated guess as to staging, based on the appearance on the scans.  You do want to be sure he's followed with regular scans for the next few years, at least.  Mine have been every six months, but in July it will have been two years since my surgery and assuming this one is clear, they will drop back to once a year.  Lung cancer is a tricky thing, and it sometimes recurs even when it looks like they got everything.  I'm hoping and assuming mine won't come back, but if it should, I want to know ASAP so I can get on top of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Lexie. He has struggled with walking purely down to his age and knees etc, but hes been doing really well. I didnt realise that about lung cancer, hopefully it doesnt come back as at his age I am not sure what they would do. the consultant already said if he lived up north (we are UK) he wouldnt of got the surgery.

X rays have been good today so they are making a decision at the team meeting tomorrow.

2 years is amazing! I bet you are so pleased. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it comes back, they usually use chemo or radiation or targeted or immunotherapy.  It all depends.  Several people here have had one or more recurrences, but generally speaking the earlier you catch it in the beginning the more likely it will stay gone (at least with adenocarcinoma).  The same is true with recurrences--the sooner you catch them the better your chances of taking it out.  Which is why followup scans are a good idea.

I'm sure his doc will talk to him about what followup is recommended.  But if they don't suggest scans, I'd ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Ld1978,

We just wanted to check in and see how you're doing. Please post an update when you can!

With gratitude,

Lauren
--
Digital Community Manager
LUNGevity Foundation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lauren

Thanks for asking. Recovery is going well apart from he didn’t do as he was told and caught a cold and cough off the kids. I guess mental health is as important and he didn’t want to stay home. It’s made him a little breathless but he has some antibiotics which are helping.

he had his follow up and no more cancer and no further treatment needed so that’s really positive and great news for him.

im hoping things will just get better and better but for 81 he is doing amazingly 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...