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Surgery Date...April 14th. I am really nervous.


Noela

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I saw the surgeon at the Mayo.  We have my wedge resection scheduled April 14th.  He is planning on a VIDEO ASSISTED THORACOSCOPY - RIGHT LOWER LOBECTOMY LUNG WITH POSSIBLE LYMPHADENECTOMY MEDIASTINUM.  He is also going to THORACOTOMY AND CRYOABLATION OF THORACIC NERVEs to help with pain.

He was great to answer all my questions but did not mention the possible lympadenectomy mediastinum.  What is that and why?  Has anyone had this?  Is it just a precaution that he has to mention it in his surgical plan?

His notes say:  wedge resection would be appropriate given the increasing size of ground-glass opacity with increasing density suggestive of developing lung adenocarcinoma.

So, can any of you help me --- I covered a lot of questions with him.  He said hospital stay 2-3 days depending on when I get the drain out.  I didn't ask about driving after the procedure and how long until I would be able to travel (I live 3 hours from the Mayo and want to get home when I get released).  Is it best to stay close to the doctor?  He did say that I could go home--not how long after.  He said I will need to be able to get an x-ray done.

Is this procedure painful? I am allergic to all opits ---the only pain med I can have is tylenol.  Is it true that in two weeks I will be up and at it again?  

I am the caretaker for my husband.  I need to be able to help him.  I have a friend who is coming to help out for a couple weeks.  Will I need her here?  

 

Lots of questions.  Thank you in advance.

Noela

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Hi, Noela,

Glad you're able to get VATS. Three tiny incisions and that's it. I was out with friends a couple of weeks after surgery. As long as you have a medical facility/ER nearby (in case of a complication), you shouldn't have to stay near the doctor. You should be able to drive as soon as the drain is removed, though I think three hours would be kind of a haul only a few days after surgery--I think you'd probably do best with a ride. I needed the heavy-duty pain meds for only a couple of days. They should be able to give you something for while you're still in the hospital. After a couple of days, I was able to use just ibuprofen.

Given that you are taking care of your husband, yeah, I think you should have your friend come and help out. You will need to take it easy for a week or two. And you are going to need to do your breathing exercises, which will make you cough--which they want you to do so your lungs will clear. 

"Lymphadenectomy" just means removal of a sample of lymph nodes to check for cancer there. It's important to know if it has spread to the lymph nodes, to determine the Stage and appropriate treatment. 

One of our members, Lou, has put together a very helpful list of tips/tricks for lobectomy: https://forums.lungevity.org/topic/47249-thoracic-surgery-tips-and-tricks/.  One of the most helpful things for me was a wedge pillow--made it much easier to sleep.

Honestly, my c-section I had hurt worse, and longer, than my lobectomy. Most people bounce back quickly.

 

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I wasn't a candidate for lung cancer surgery, but from what Lexie and others say, it seems pretty tolerable. I can tell you that my abdominal surgery last year was invasive and  painful, with a long and difficult recovery. Best of luck on your VATS procedure! 

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Hi Noela,

I also had a VATs lobectomy and I agree with LexieCat that it was fairly easy as surgeries go. I was discharged the day after surgery with the drain still in and I had it for about 10 days, but I was able to get around and do normal things (apart from lifting and strenuous exercise, which I wouldn't have been doing anyway) wth the drain. Once the drain was out, I had little pain. As far as pain meds, I did have opiates at home until the drain was out. In the hospital I had Toradol (not Tramodal) , a NSAID-- non-steroidal anti inflammatory that's really heavy duty and is generally used only in the hospital. It was a very effective pain reliever.

I had mediastinal lymphadenectomy--removal of a bunch of lymph nodes from between the lungs. All were benign. I think it's pretty common and doesn't generally add much to the pain or recovery time.

I agree with all of LexiCat's advice, except for driving. I suspect your surgeon might not approve driving right after your discharge.

If you have other questions or concerns, please ask. Somebody here will probably be able to answer from there own expeience.

Bridget O

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Just to add to all of the above. I had VAT surgery to remove my right lower lobe. First surgery I ever had and it wasn't bad. I was discharged next day but if I could do it over I would have stayed longer...went home with a catheter, which I shouldn't have.

Ask you onc if there are other pain meds than opioids. I needed them for about a week, but I was pushing my recovery pretty hard.

You'll do fine. Hopefully no lymph node involved. That gives you a decent shot of being "cured" with surgery alone!

Peace

Tom

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  • 3 weeks later...

Noela,

If you prep yourself, listen to all the counsel of your medical team (e.g., take meds as directed) and keep a positive attitude, you will get through better than you believe you will.  I had Curt, Lexie and others to lead me through mine and I sometimes I feared that they were blowing smoke at me, but they nailed it for me.  So, let our words of encouragement bring you some peace.  You've got this...you'll get through it and when you reach the other side it will be time to rebuild.  You'll do it smartly and under guidance and you will be surprised by what you'll be able to accomplish.  You're not alone.

Lou

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I am busy getting ready to travel to the Mayo in Phoenix...I will have the surgery Wednesday---Monday and Tuesday I have pre-op apts.  Just packing and getting details done.

 

Thank you everyone for your input.  You all are so helpful.  I'll update on the other side.

 

Noela

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Good luck! We'll look forward to hearing from you when you're all done. Try your best to relax. You're in good hands and should come through this just fine.

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Noela,

I'm betting your procedure is a "piece of cake." Tell us about it when you are discharged.

Stay the course.

Tom

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I'll just thow my input in here...I had a RLL lobectomy on 2/25 and while they were in there they took a couple of lymph nodes while they were at it. I'm here to tell you it's not that bad at all. Keep in mind that there are no nerves in your lungs or from what I understand your lymph system either. The only real pain you should have is at the incision sites. I was told for the vast majority of that pain to settle it would take 6 to 8 weeks and as far as no pain at all it may take some months after that. Your projected hospital stay is about right (I stayed 4 days after surgery only because I wanted to) and I got plenty of appropriate pain meds while there. I would recommend you have someone drive you home if only just for the sake of comfort. Once home the only pill I took for pain wasTylenol.    

I would recommend having help with you the first few weeks...it can be hard moving around and lifting anything substantial can be difficult indeed. 

The important thing though is that you will be fine...when I had my prostate removed robotically that was much worse. Take care and looking forward to good reports on the flipside...! 

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