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Upcoming lobectomy


Patrick Star

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Well it’s now one week until my surgery, middle lobe, right lung. I have been worried about the procedure itself and the post-op recovery, both in the hospital and at home. Getting a little more nervous every day. Glad I found this site and for the people who’ve posted here. It does make it a little easier. 

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Hi Patrick - 

I had a lobectomy on my upper left lung in 2016. I was not able to have robotic or VATS so my recovery was not as quick as others. There are a few tips and tricks to the recovery. First is to get a wedge pillow - it will help you sleep. Also, they're going to give you a spirometer - use it! It does make a difference in the recovery. I had the level of pain that I expected but it was managed very well. 

I was anxious to get home to get some rest. Given the pandemic and flu season, you'll definitely be a lot better off at home. My unsolicited advise: tell your well-meaning friends and relatives to stay away or check on you via Zoom. 

Are there any questions we can answer for you?

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Hi Patrick.

I understand.  I felt very anxious prior to surgery and it manifested in severe abdominal pain.  The surgeon prescribed a small dose of Lorazapam and that completely resolved the abdominal pain.   It turned out that surgery and recovery wasn't  as bad as I thought it would be.  I stayed 2 nights in the hospital (I had a little complication with an air leak, but it was resolved by the time I discharged).  At home I walked a little each day and rested a lot.  Be sure to take the pain meds as prescribed, stay hydrated and do the best you can with nutrition. Try to be patient with yourself.  I had surgery in March of 2019 and was back on the tennis courts in  late June.  I wish you the best and a speedy recovery.  

Deb

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Hi Patrick and welcome.

Is your lobectomy going to be by VATs (video assisted)?  I had a lower right lobectomy  by VATs 4 years ago and my recovery was pretty fast. I was released from the hospital the day after surgery. Since I still had an air leak, I came home with a chest tube and drain bag. The chest tube was at time painful, but once it was out, I had little pain. 

You have had some great advice from Susan and Deb.  Lou T has posted a really helpful list of suggestions for people having lobectomies, but I'm not sure how to find it. He'll probably read this and give you a link to it. My number one suggestion is a wedge pillow. I was advised to sleep at a 45 degree angle and I tried to achieve this with a "reading in bed" pillow and other pillows and only ended up with a stiff neck. The wedge kept my whole upper body at a slant but straight and let me sleep very comfortably.

Let us know what questions you may have. Probably someone will have an answer.

Hang in there! You'll get through this fine.

Bridget O

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Thanks for replying Susan! Mine is going to be an open one also. Been told I’ll spend 4-5 days in the hospital. I know everyone’s experience is somewhat different with these procedures as no two are exactly the same. I guess a lot of my worry comes from the fact that my father had this surgery in 2003. I’m not sure if it was a clot or aneurysm, but he didn’t survive. I know surgery and recovery has come a long way since then but that memory is still there. Thanks for the tips about sleeping and the spirometer, I know the breathing exercises are very important.

 

Patrick

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Deb,

    I hope my recovery will be as fast as yours! As for me I hope to get back out on the golf course, tennis involves way too much running for me!  I’m going to remember everyone’s advice and follow it. No better source than the ones that have been there. 
 

Patrick

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Bridget,

      I’m definitely going to get a wedge pillow before next Thursday. I’m so glad I found this site, you’ve all been so helpful and kind. I hope one day to be able to add my own experience and help out someone else. I’ll be looking for Lou’s post, the more suggestions the better. 
 

Patrick

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Patrick,

I'll add my welcome. Here is the link to Lou's thoracic surgery tips and tricks. You might want to read through this section for a collection of best practices for dealing with lung cancer. And here are my suggestions for surviving lung cancer.

We are not physicians. But, as you can see we have lots of accumulated wisdom on surviving lung cancer and its treatments. At this juncture, two things rise to the top. Your attitude and willingness to learn about the disease. We'll help with both here.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Patrick,

You'll get through this surgery better than you think.  Remember, eat healthy, get good exercise before and rest as much as possible....  We're all here to answer any specific questions you may have, but Tom has already given you some great things to look through.  Best of luck on this.

Lou

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Patrick - I would add one more tip since you're having the open surgery. Whatever shirt you plan to wear home should be button up or a zipper. The last thing you'll want to do is put your arms over your head to pull a shirt on. 

 

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Lou,

   I’ll hopefully have all these suggestions memorized by Thursday. Of course whether I remember it or not remains to be seen. I think my body will be able to handle this surgery, it’s all the scenarios going through my mind that’s giving me anxiety every day. But of course we all imagine the worst. Just glad you all are here and take the time to help with your own experiences. 
 

Thanks, Patrick

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Patrick

The waiting sucks. More than the actual surgery.

Curious why you have an open versus a VAT.

Lastly......wear slippers. Something you can step into and throw off! 

Peacel

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TJM,

     Not sure why, but the surgeon said he’s planing on going in first with just a camera and then if he doesn’t see any other problems he’d be doing an open. The waiting does suck. Did my pre-op stuff and COVID test today. One more day to wait. Tomorrow night should be real fun getting to sleep!  I’ve got a list of the stuff I want to bring and my house slippers are on it.

 

Patrick

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That sounds odd to me. Going in with a camera first suggests to me they are going to try for VATS--I've never heard of checking with a camera to see if they can do an open surgery. E.g., when I talked to my surgeon, he said they were going to start with VATS but if there were unanticipated problems they'd switch to open. Open surgery enables them to act more quickly--e.g., to respond to uncontrolled bleeding. 

Of course, I'm no doctor so maybe there's something I'm not getting, here. Maybe they're not sure it's operable at all?

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Thanks Judy, Gary and Lou! I’ll be glad when the morning gets here and we can get this show on the road. The waiting seems to be the worst part for me. Another hour and it’s bed time. Getting up at 7 and heading to the hospital at 9. Surgery is scheduled for noon. As soon as I can and my heads on straight I’ll let ya all know how it went. Thanks again for all your encouragement!

 

Patrick

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The wait is over, surgery was quit the ordeal. Things didn’t go as planned. They kept finding more and ended up taking the whole right lung out. Was in surgery for about 7 hours. They expected me to spend 2-3 days intensive care but I got out today.  Doc said I’d go home Monday or Tuesday. Write more later, this took 15 minutes 

 

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Oh my, Patrick! It does sound like an ordeal. I'm glad for you that it's over, but sorry that they found so much. Since you got out of the ICU so quickly, you must be recovering  faster than they thought. I'll be thinking about you and hoping you get to go home soon and recover quickly. Keep us posted when you are able.

Bridget O

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