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Lobectomy pain


Susan K

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Can you give more details (forgive me if I missed them). What surgery. How long ago. What pain specially?

Don't crimp on the pain meds. If your treatrd with Chemo they will be pumping a poison into your system that makes opioids look like aspirin.

My NP is worried about my 1mg xanex "addiction".  When she brings it up again I'm going to tell her that I will want "He kicked his xanax addiction" on my tombstone.

In all seriousness, the more detail the better.  Either way welcome and I am wishing you the best.

Peace

Tom

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Susan,

Howdy Neighbor!

Post thoracic surgical pain is common. I've had 4 significant thoracic surgeries starting with a lung resection, and I still live with chronic incision pain daily at the 4 to 5 level (0 to 10 pain scale). Why? My surgeon asserts nerve damage is the principal cause and while this type of pain sometimes resolves, it sometimes hangs on. Fortunately and hopefully, your chance for chronic pain is much reduced because of the vastly smaller incision used assuming you had VATS or robotic surgery (typical for lobectomy surgeries). If you had a large incision, called a thoracotomy, then your chance for nerve damage is enhanced. 

For a time after each surgery, about 3 months, I experienced unusual pain during coughing, initial breaths in cold weather, sneezing, and bending over. These were single point pain events and again, my surgeon pronounced them normal and expected.

My most difficult pain event is when I have abdominal cramps, and I frequently experience these due to chronic low Magnesium blood levels, a side effect from chemotherapy. Cramps spike my normal incision pain. I can't predict when I'm going to cramp and therefore this experience can sometimes lead to social embarrassment. Family and close friends understand but before COVID, we were avid cruisers and I didn't like to grimace in public.

What I do about residual surgical pain? First and most important, I reported each event to my surgeon. I'm a 17-year survivor and I'd make telephone to the office in the early years. Then email reports and finally communication to the practice portal. What do I do about the pain? I try and live with it. I've learned I can tolerate it as long as it doesn't spike from cramping. If a spike occurs near bedtime, my wife applies Lidocaine patches to my incision scars and that drops the pain level down somewhat. They need to be taped with medical dressing tape to tightly adhere, and the pain relief lasts for a long time. Mine are prescription patches. One can purchase non prescription patches over-the-counter. I also have prescription Lidocaine cream that my wife applies for almost instant pain relief and then follows with patches.

My last resort is narcotic medication. There are so many undesirable side effects of narcotics for me but occasionally, 2 to 3 times a month, they are necessary.

Welcome here. You'll meet a lot of folks who've had lobectomies and they should add their coping methods in response.

Stay the course.

Tom

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