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Mother having lobectomy


Sarah24

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Hello 👋,

my name is Sarah. My mother who is my very best friend is having a right middle lobectomy on Thursday and I am very nervous about what to expect. I am a LVN who is currently in my last semester of RN nursing school. I will be the primary person caring for my mother after the surgery. Did anyone who has had this surgery find it to be very painful after? Was the recover difficult? We’re you tired all the time? I would like if anyone who has had this procedure done to please give me some feedback so I can better prepare for my mom. I read the tips section and that was helpful. Thank you and nice to meet you all 😊

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Hi, Sarah, and welcome.

Assuming she has VATS surgery, it will be pretty easy going, from her point of view. I had my lobectomy in 2017--it was three tiny incisions on my back and side and that's it. My C-section hurt worse, and longer, than my lobectomy. Most people are in the hospital only 2-3 days, barring any complications. I was out with friends to dinner and a concert 1-2 weeks after getting out of the hospital. I needed the heavy-duty pain meds for only a couple of days and then ibuprofen was enough.

It's important that she do her breathing exercises--they will make her cough, but that's encouraged, to clear her lungs. She'll also find it more comfortable for the first 2-3 weeks or so to sleep on a wedge pillow--it's easier to sleep if your upper body is elevated.

One of our members, Lou, put together a list of tips and tricks for surgery: https://forums.lungevity.org/topic/47249-thoracic-surgery-tips-and-tricks/

 

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Oh, and incidentally, I live alone. My cousin came out to give me a hand, but I really didn't need anyone to take care of me. The one thing I needed a little help with was dressing change, but only for the first few days--after that, you don't need to keep it bandaged.

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Hi Sarah and welcome. I had a right lower lobectomy in 2016 by VATS and found it pretty easy as far as surgery goes.  I was up and walking around the unit the same day. I was released from the hospital the next day with a drainage tube and bag in place, since my lung had an air leak. The tube was the main source of discomfort. If I moved a certain way, I felt like I was being jabbed with a knife, but I quickly learned not to move that way! I was walking around the neighborhood in a couple of days, with my drainage apparatus covered by a big raincoat. I used some opoid pain meds when the drain was in but when it was taken out (after 10 days) I no longer needed them.

I agree with LexieCat on all points. The wedge pillow was great. I had tried to prop my upper body at an angle using ordinary pillows but that resulted in a stiff neck. The wedge was a relief-- easier to breathe and no stiiff neck. 

Best wishes to your mom. Le us know how it goes.

Bridget O

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Sarah,

I'm yet another "member of the lobectomy club".  Mine was right-lower lobe.  As you've already heard this surgery is well-practiced now and can be done with Visually Assisted Thoracic Surgery (the VATS Lexie mentioned).  It can even be done robotically (that's how mine was done).  Please take time to read the tips and tricks that Lexie sent and come back here with any questions you have.  I'm not saying that there are never any complications, but most of us who have gone through it found it easier than many other types of surgery.  We'll be here to support you and my prayers are that your Mom does well in surgery and after.

Lou

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Thank you so much for all of your replies! Yes she is having the vats surgery. All of your responses make me feel so much better! I have been so worried and already I feel better. I will buy a wedge pillow today . Thank you! 

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Welcome Sarah

I also had my lower right lobe removed. It wasn't as bad as I feared but it's still major surgery. My two cents (I agree with all the others) is don't let them rush her out of the hospital. If I could do it again I would not get discharged till after both urinating and a BM. Sounds silly but those two were my biggest problem!

Your mom will do great and barring complications she will be feeling well within a couple of weeks.

Peace

Tom

 

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Sarah,

Welcome here.

You've met some of your new lung cancer family members and they've all given great suggestions. Lou's surgical Tips and Tricks is superb advice and will speed your mother's surgical recovery.

You didn't give us insight into the type and stage of your mother's lung cancer. Perhaps she's having a lobectomy in place of a biopsy. In any event, please ensure your mom consults with a medical oncologist after surgery. This is the medical discipline that will screen her to catch recurrences early. During this consult, you might inquire if post surgical "adjuvant" chemotherapy is necessary. 

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi Sarah - Lou's tips are the best! Also I found that I needed to sleep in a recliner for a while as even with the wedge pillow it was super painful to get in and out of bed.

As has been said, she should be sure to do the breathing exercises, walk walk walk, and don't let her lift anything for a couple weeks.

Sending good vibes for an easy and successful procedure! 💜

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