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Deb W

Post Surgery and Updates

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Hi everyone,

It's been 3 months since I had the lobectomy (1/3 of upper left lobe removed) and a wedge resection of the left lower lobe.  I am now participating in all of my pre surgery activities - except I did cut back on the number of clients I see per day because I felt exhausted.   I am playing tennis 3 times per week, but on those days I have come to learn that I really can't do much else.  I'm learning to manage my energy.  I do notice that I become tired more easily and I've also  been experiencing shortness of breath (when I get to the top of the stairs).  The fatigue and shortness of breath are worrisome as I know that these are also signs of lung cancer.  I find myself worrying about recurrence when I feel this way.  I realize we're all different, but I didn't expect the whistling sound when I breath sometimes, and the exhaustion.  I'm not complaining...just worried.  My first follow up CT scan is scheduled for October.  Medically, so far, I am doing well.  I had an abnormal brain MRI which was identified before surgery, also issues around my right kidney.  The MRI showed a schwannoma  tumor behind my upper right cheek - I had to have another MRI of my skull to check on growth which is benign and hasn't grown much.  The ENT asked if I felt any numbness or pain and said that if so, I would need surgery to remove it.  I will need to have, yet another, MRI of my skull in 6 months to check on growth.  This week I will see the urologist  for Hydronephrosis which is the swelling of a kidney.  So these medical issues were found by the PET scan.  I don't have any symptoms - just like with lung cancer.  I hope none of this is related to cancer.  If I never  a PET scan I wouldn't have known about these other issues...hopefully they will not be serious issues.

For those of you further out from surgery, do you have your full energy back?  

Thanks for your comments.

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I had my upper left lobe removed in October ( no vats) and other than numbness under my breast and that weird sound when breathing I’m feeling great! 

It sounds like you’re doing great being 3 months post-op. 

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Hi Deb,

As you already know, everyone recovers differently.  I had the entire right lung removed (pneumonectomy) last May (2018) and I went back to yoga after 6 weeks (they told me not to lift anything heavier than 10lbs for 6 weeks and well, doing even the downdog pose mean I'd have to carry my upper body and that's more than 10lbs 🤣 ) and went back to running by Oct.  I should fess up that I've had a side gig of teaching various formats of group exercise classes for 20 years, so chances are I'm more fit than most people. 😁Still, neither was easy jump back into and it is still not as easy breezy as pre-surgery, but I'm rather super stubborn to take it easy. 

I think you're recovering nicely, but I understand your worries - well, we ALL understand your worries 😕

I hope all your follow ups (MRI, CT, and any other things you may have to get done) come back squeaky clean. 🙏

Sending you a virtual hug.

MB

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Thanks for your words of encouragement MB and Paula C.  Still getting used to the new normal.  Maybe I shouldn't expect that I will return to normal in terms of energy and breathing.   I'm happy that I'm able to do what I do now.  

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Hi Deb, in answer to your question about energy, here's my story. I had a lobectomy in November 2016. I'm 73 and have been retired (sort of) for many years, but I work part time off and on. I left a part time job when I was being evaluated for surgery and I thought that then I might be REALLY  retired. But last fall  I decided working was a good idea (and I wanted to see if I still could) and I took a part time job in a winter  emergency shelter for homeless families. It was a pretty active job, no sitting around. It wore me out, actually, and I thought maybe I didn't have the stamina that I had before my surgery. But thinking about it, I realized two things-- first, that this job was much more active than the one I had before my surgery and also, I'm OLD and regardless of surgery I probably wouldn't have the energy I had when I was younger.  So, who knows? Actually I think I'm doing well. The job was seasonal and is finished, and now I'm working on-call in another shelter, which is a piece of cake compared to the seasoal one. 

I also have whistling in my chest from time to time. My pulmonologist told me, essentially, not to worry about it. So I guess it's part of the new normal.

 

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Bridget that's a wonderful way to give of your time.  You're right, it's hard to know whether the fatigue is normal aging  (I'm 63) or recovering from surgery that causes the fatigue - probably both.  My work can be emotionally draining as well.  I have found that regular physical exercise is the best medicine for my well being even if it means more recovery time is needed. 

Thank you for the work you do with the homeless population.

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Hi Deb.  I had a RUL at the end of February.  The fatigue was surprising but it is passing slowly.  Your body needs a lot of energy to recover.  Even if you are outwardly recovered your body may still be working on some inward recovery.  Keeping up your activity level will help.  You’ve been through a traumatic physical and emotional event.  Both sides of that need to be nurtured for true recover.  Emotional stress and worry can cause fatigue.  We all worry about recurrence and progression.  Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for anyone, even those without cancer.  Worry won’t change that, it will only get in the way of enjoying today.  I know, easier said then done.  I’m still working on practicing what I preach. I have found that as time is passing my physical stamina is recovering and my emotional worry is lessening.  I hope the same for you.  

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