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Hi, I  am scheduled for a middle right lung lobectomy on the 8 th August  and would appreciate your input on  the recouperation time  and the time it took to have your energy levels up to normal?

Thanking you all for a rapid reply.

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Hi Kinsbourg,

I had an upper left lobectomy March 22.  I had VATS robotic surgery.   I went for short walks the first week home and gradually increased them.  I started playing tennis again in June and play a couple of matches a week now combined with other exercise on alternate days.  After surgery, I never thought it would be possible to do all the things I did before.  The doctors told me I would, but I didn't really believe them!  Managing energy is still a challenge for me at times.  I can never seem to tell in the moment when I've overdone it and then I pay the consequences of feeling extremely fatigued later.  I am getting to know my limits a  little better as time goes by.  Wishing you all the best on your upcoming surgery.

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Hi Kinsbourgh.  I had a right upper lobe lobectomy on February 26.  It was done via VATS.  They get you up and walking in the hospital the day of or the day after.  The big milestone is getting your chest tube removed.  That provided a lot of relief for me and was when I was allowed to go home.  One thing I learned the hard way is to keep up with your pain medication.  I felt pretty good after my surgery and let my pain medication wear off without saying anything to the nurses.  Turns out I was feeling pretty good because the pain medication works.  It took a little while to get the pain back under control.  The nurses were not happy with me.  Mine was removed and I was discharged from the hospital after three days.  Once home I spent three or four days going from my bed to an arm chair next to my bed.  I found that a wedge pillow was helpful while I was in bed and that carrying a small pillow under my arm was helpful with keeping my arm off my incisions on my right side.  It also helped to squeeze it when I had to cough, sneeze or hiccup.  All three of those hurt, coughing is good for recuperation though.  I walked a lot before and after surgery.  I used the spirometer breathing device a lot as well.  It was a week before I stopped pain meds and just used Tylenol, two weeks before I was up and moving around, three before I went back to work for a few hours a day and four before going back full time.  Fatigue was a big thing for me.  I was really surprised with how tired I was.  I’d never felt that level of fatigue before.  I had a lump/tickle in my throat that made me cough for a few months.  I thought it would never go away but it did.  Ricola helped while I had it.  I do still have some muscular pain in my right chest when I cough, but it’s not bad and aim sure it will go away.  Generally I had visions of being handicapped by this surgery.  Always being out of breath and not being able to do the things I’d done before.  It takes a while but I’ve gotten back to it all.  I coach my kids baseball teams, play sports with them, swim laps in the pool, run, bike all without issues.  My lung capacity is back to where it was prior to surgery.  It is a slow recovery, takes time and some effort but you do recover.  What I imagined and the reality were very different.  It is not as bad as you are imagining.  If you work at it you will recover and be back doing the things you do now within a few months, unless you run marathons.  You may not run any marathons for a while.  Hang in there.  You’ll get through it.  Post any questions or concerns here.  

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hi Kinsbrough,  Curt and Deb have given you some very good information. My experience was not too different. I had VATS lower right lobectomy in November 2016. My surgeon told me that I probably wouldn't notice a difference in my abilities, unless I was planning to run a marathon, which I wasn't. He was right. 

I was released from the hospital the day after my surgery with the chest tube in place. It seems like  hospitals have different policies- it used to be that they would always keep you in until the tube came out. My tube was in for 10 days because of an ongoing air leak. I did fine at home. I was able to walk around the neighborhood with the tube and its bag and valve covered by a big raincoat. The tube was uncomfortable and could be really painful if I moved the wrong way. I was relieved to have it out and I didn't need any opiate pain meds after i was out.

One thing I would recommend is that you get a wedge pillow-- Sleeping with your upper body elevated makes it easier to breath after surgery. I tried at first propping myself up with regular pillows but ended up with a stiff neck. The wedge pillow solved the problem. I got mine from a store that sells medical devices, but you can also find them online.

As surgeries go, the VATs lobectomy is fairly easy. I wish you all the best. Let us know if you have any specific questions.

Bridget O.

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Kinsborough,

Welcome to the forum.  Sorry you need to be here, but glad you found us.  My situation is not too different from Curt's (including not taking my pain meds, so be vigilant and take them as prescribed).  In my case I had a lobectomy (VAT's) of the lower-right lung on May 2nd of this year.  Well, it's almost three months now and I am back to doing 5 miles/day on my treadmill along with a pretty good weight workout afterward.  I do notice some changes, but I had already been diagnosed with mild COPD (Gold, Level A, which indicates small impact and little chance of worsening) so I do sometimes feel a difference, but that seems to be diminishing over time.  I will say that for the first 5-6 weeks I had times when I needed to lay down and take a nap or just rest after doing anything strenuous.  I don't feel that need anymore and the most lingering thing I have is areas around my rib cage where I have numbness, occasional burning feeling, pain and/or some combination of the three.  My doctor had already told me to expect some of that and that it would take extra time (up to months) for all of that to go away.  Otherwise I feel very good.  I go for my first follow up scan in August (fingers crossed) and then a scan every six months for the first two years.  If no recurrence then it will move to an annual scan. 

Hang in there and you may be surprised that the surgery is not as terrible as you expect it to be (that was my case).  Take your time recovering and stay as active as you can without overdoing it.  

Let us know how it goes once you are able and I'll keep you in my prayers.

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Hello to All~

I am having a right lower lobectomy on Thursday 8/8/2019.  Initially I went to PCP for fatigue. I didn't even want to mention it, but she ordered blood work, came back as anemia - great, iron pills, the end of story, so I thought. But just to be on safe side she also order CAT scan, then PET scan. I never smoked, so it was quite a surprise, to say the least.

I appreciate all the advice given here. You are so gracious to provide us newbies with so much information! I have known my diagnosis since May 24. I am not in the least bit afraid. I have watched the VATS surgery online and find it quite fascinating. I do have a question though: is staging done once the pathology report comes back? I have my post op appointment with the thoracic surgeon on 8/26.

Thank you again.

Joyce

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Joyce,

Welcome here but sorry you are facing lung cancer surgery. You might want to read the posts in the Surgery Treatment Forum for tips dealing with recovery and etcetera. 

Here is some summary information about lung cancer staging. Your question is when is lung cancer staged.  A general answer is after screening (scans [CT, PET, MRI, Brain]) and biopsy (tissue histology examination) are complete.  Your post didn't mention a biopsy and you may not have had one.  Some show definitive information on screening scans, at least definitive enough to make a surgery decision. But, your resected tissue will be examined under a microscope (histology) and a pathologist will classify your lung cancer as small cell or non-small cell. There are further subdivisions of both types and here is a brief explanation about lung cancer types. The pathology and further laboratory testing is needed to determine the type of chemotherapy that may be used to treat you after surgery or in the event of a recurrence.

During your pre-op conversation with your surgeon, ask if he or she can tell you the type of cancer discovered during surgery. This is possible because cancer surgeries are normally supported by pathologists who examine resected samples during the surgery. So your surgeon may be able to report your type as a result of this histology examination. Follow-on laboratory testing normally takes 2 to 3 weeks.

You might ask the surgeon or staff to recommend an oncologist. Normally, follow up treatment after surgery is performed by a medical and sometimes radiation oncologist. I do hope your surgery is a walk in the park.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hello to all~

Fully expecting the right lower lobectomy on this past Thursday, only a wedge resection done. Surgeon said no cancer, only inflamed granuloma! I just had the chest tube for one day then discharged. I am in complete shock. I was prepared for all the surgeon said he would be doing. I am out walking, driving and feel like the surgery never happened! Pain is 0-1. I am on Gabapentin 3 times per day - that's it.

Has anyone else experienced this? Both primary and surgical physicians informed me that the mass was malignant. Tom, there was no biopsy done prior to surgery. Conclusion established via the PET scan result.

I am amazed and somewhat skeptical. I have my post op surgical visit on 8/26/2019. I am anxious to see the pathology report.

Bewildered,

Joyce

 

 

 

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Joyce,

Now that is the kind of news that makes all of us smile.  It's always possible when an open-thoracic biopsy is done that it will be benign (although my surgeon told me that it is about 10% of the time), so you are the lucky one today.  Celebrate, enjoy the news and add this to your "thankful list".  I couldn't be happier for you.  

Lou

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AMAZING Joyce.   Great results.  I get feeling like it can’t be, but it can.  The last thing my surgeon said to me before I went under was that he didn’t think it would be cancer.  I wasn’t that lucky, but I’m really happy you were. 

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Thank you, all! I am so happy this forum was available to me. I will be praying special words to Our Lord for your continued recovery.

Blessings,

Joyce

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