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Irka

Scared of upcoming lung surgery, especially aftermath

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Hello friends,

After reviewing my PET & CT scans taken in April & reviewing with multi-disciplinary cancer team, my thoracic surgeon has scheduled my lung surgery on Wednesday, May 22, at 11:50.

Game plan so far. 

Step 1 -  perform a "robotic-assisted wedge resection & lymph node biopsy" of the small nodule in my middle right lung that lit up on the PET at a rather high level (SUV 6.3).  Because the needle biopsy in Apr failed, we have to get to this one to biopsy it on the spot.
If it is cancer, he'll excise nodule & lymph.
Step II - examine two considerably larger nodules in the upper right lobe that had much lower SUV on PET, but must be biopsied & results given on the spot, as well.
Step III - if malignant, would try to excise the nodules and/or
Step IV - if necessary, remove the upper lobe of my right lung.
The only surgery I've had in my nearly 76-year-old life was a tonsillectomy at the age of 9!

I am dreading this & am very scared. Not so much of the surgery itself, as the aftermath.
Irka

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Hi Irka,

It sounds like there is a reasonable plan in place. Try to take it one step at a time. I have had my lower left lobe and upper right lobes removed. There's lots of treatments surfacing constantly. Keep posting to let everyone on this forum know how you are doing and what questions you have moving forward. I think it is expected that you would feel scared because there are so many unknowns. What you can control is making sure you have doctors that you have confidence in and a support network to help you persevere.

Ro

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Thanks, Ro, for your reassuring words based on your own experience.  That means a great deal.  I do trust the doctor.  He's also at a highly respected cancer facility & consulted on my case with 11 of his colleagues who agreed with this approach.

I do try not to imagine the worst happening, but it's hard.  I'm keeping busy & will focus on a step at a time, a day at a time.

Hugs, Irka

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I posted on your other thread--this really won't be a big deal.  I can virtually promise that.  Robotic surgery is pretty much the same as VATS--the only difference is that VATS doesn't use the robot.  Same incisions, basically same procedure/recovery.  So anything you read on here about VATS will be applicable to you.

Someone may have already recommended it, but a wedge pillow will help you sleep more comfortably the first couple of weeks.  You'll sleep/breathe more easily if your upper body is slightly elevated.

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Irka I concur with Roz and Lexi.  The surgery was not as bad as I imagined it would be.  Post surgery recover has been steady and I don’t see any really differences in my quality of life and what I’m able to do.  Lexis recommendation about the wedge pillow is a good one.  You’ll do great.  

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Your recommendations & reassurances are most welcome!  I'm not sure I know what a wedge pillow is -- one with gradual elevation? or something else?  Unfortunately, I'm a confirmed back sleeper, but I don't believe that will be possible if they go through my right chest & back. . .  Just can't envision it.  But maybe with pain medication I'll be knocked out enough to get some sleep!!!  Ha, ha!

With gratitude & hugs,

Irka

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It’s a firm memory foam pillow with a gradual elevation.  Here is a link https://images.app.goo.gl/AftAuuPLvSrxxBSv6.  I am a side/stomach sleeper but found myself sleeping on my back on the wedge pillow with softer pillows on my right side. I’d describe it as sleeping on my back but leaning to the left.  The pain medication def helps.  It’s amazing how well they can manage your pain.  I had two small incisions under my right arm.  One up by my armpit and a second one by my ribs.  Those are the two major areas for VATs.  I had a third incision on right side closest to my back, that was the least painful of all three.  

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Thanks, Curt, for your heartening response.  Yes, I have seen the wedge pillows advertised before & even considered getting one to help acid-reflux.  The latter hasn't bothered me too much, so I passed.  It's very encouraging to learn of your successful experience with VATs.  I'll be having the robotic-assisted version called "RATs."  But I don't want to use that acronym as I have a phobic fear of rats!

Bottom line for me is that I have to steel myself & go through the step-by-step journey of treatment.

I sincerely hope you continue to do well.

Irka

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Hi Irka,

I am 6 weeks post VATS robotic surgery  - removed 1/3 of left upper lobe and a small resection on the lower left lobe.    I actually played a little tennis yesterday...3 weeks weeks ago I would have never believed this  possible.  It  is remarkable how fast the body can heal.    I agree with Curt, Lexie and Roz and they've been so helpful to me during this journey.

Best,

Debbie

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, Debbie.  I'm happy for you that you're recovering so spectacularly!  In my case, I should add that I'm almost 76 yo with some COPD, so I'm sure I won't be able to undertake anything like tennis.  But it would be nice to be able to get to the gym sooner rather than later to rebuild my strength & body.  May you continuing with your splendid recovery!

Irka

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Thanks, Michelle!  So far, I'm hanging in & focusing on practicalities of preparation for the operation & hospital stay.  I will definitely keep everyone here posted as soon as I can after my return home.

Appreciate your prayers & encouragement.

Irka

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Tonight & tomorrow night at home -- Wednesday, May 22 at hospital by 10 & surgery at Noon!  Thanks for all the support!!!  Yes, I must get through it & dance first chance I get!

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Thank you, Tom.  I am grateful to you & the many others here who are thinking & praying for me.  I'll post here as soon as I can after it's over.

Irka

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