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VATs update


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Hi everyone, I had my VATs surgery on Monday and the wedge resection turned into a full lobectomy to remove my lower right lobe as the nodule was cancer.   They also removed several lymph nodes and I will know more about them once I get the pathology report.   I was out of surgery late Monday evening as the surgery took longer than expected and sent home Wed afternoon.  I was feeling better but I think the locals are wearing off because I’m starting to feel more pain in my chest and on my sides.  Does the crushing chest pain at night get better?   I can’t sleep in bed only in recliner right now.   I’m also only getting my spirometer to about 1000 and feeling frustrated.   I’m also anxious since I wasn’t given any other info than it was cancer.  I’m feel defeated today. 



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I completely understand your frustration. I had a complete pneumonectomy (right lung removed) and pain, sleeping after discharge, and spirometer exercise all resulted in frustration. And anxiousness, well I had that malady in spades waiting for biopsies, scan results and post-op reports.  I wrote this a while back to explain how I dealt with sleep after my surgeries. A recliner may be the best option for a while. Sleeping elevated moves the weight of the chest (and healing incisions) to the hips and therefore lessons the pain. If sleep continues to be a problem, consider a high density foam mattress and an electrically adjustable bed. Mattress stores sell wedge pillows that can substitute for a high density foam mattress and adjustable bed. Go to the store and try out the pillow to ensure you get the right angle of elevation.   The mattress and adjustable bed changed my post surgical life, although I still struggle to get a good night's sleep.

Do continue to use the spirometer and get out of bed frequently and walk around.  These actions will speed your recovery.  And, avoid school-aged children; the last thing you need is a chest cold to complicate the problems you are already dealing with.

Welcome here.  More questions, fire away.

Stay the course.


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Hi Steph. Monday is REALLY soon to be sweating the spirometer results.   It took me months to get back to where I was pre-surgery.  The important thing is I did.  Don’t rush it.  Give your body a chance to heal.  The pain does go away but it takes a while.  It took me about a month to really get back in the swing of things.  Walk as much as you can, use the spirometer as much as you can and SLEEP the rest of the time.  You’ll get back sooner than you think.  

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Good advice from Tom and Curt!  I found a 12 inch high foam wedge to be really helpful for comfort in sleeping. Rest a lot, but keep moving, too. Short walks will help you get your lungs back in order.  Do you have prescription pain meds? If not, maybe you need some for a few days.  Transition to ibuprofen/tylenol, if you can take them, ASAP. My doctor reommended alternating doses of the two. 

Hang in there, it gets easier.. You'll probably get pathology results at your post-op appointment.

Bridget O

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