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5 months today and frustrates


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Why am I still having shortness of breath and fatigue?   I have been lashing out at my poor husband.  He’s having shoulder replacement soon and thinks I can take care of him.   I’m not sure I can.   I thought I’d be breathing more normally by now


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It's so hard to generalize how quickly people will heal from the surgery and/or treatments.  Have you spoken with your pulmonologist about the breathing issues?  If so, what did he say?  I'm aware of folks who have gone for pulmonary rehabilitation and experienced good results.  I hope you'll check into this and try it out.

Regarding care for your husband...I've heard from patients of shoulder surgery that it was one of the more painful experiences they can remember and aside from having to sleep upright (usually in a recliner) pain meds were an important part of the healing process.  If you have the resources you can get some outside help for a few hours a day to help prepare meals, ensure that he's okay and do general housekeeping.  If your husband is on medicare his doctor can request home care nurse visits to change dressings, check on his progress and provide feedback to his doctor on his progress.  When I came home after my lobectomy my wife could not care for me (she had dementia) so my surgeon ordered medicare nurse visits and that was a great help.  They would visit, take my vitals, change dressings, test how my spirometer rehab was going and make sure my meds and all were in order.

If neither hired help nor medicare help is available to you perhaps you can enlist some support from family or friends.  In the meantime you can stock up on casserole type meals and soups so you don't have to do a lot of cooking and that along with some small help should give you some relief.

I hope this works out for you.


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Lou, Thank you for the advise.  I have reached out to my surgeon for a referral to a pulmonologist who deals with post op lung cancer.  
my husband doesn’t have Medicare. He’s younger than I am.  I’m a former nurse so I have the knowledge to care for him.  It’s the stamina I lack.  Daughters we’re amazing providing food after my surgery and I know they’ll help this time as well.  I decided that when I take him to PT we’ll be stopping at local restaurants for take out!!  And Instacart for groceries.  And housekeeping.. well.  When the stamina is there, the vacuuming will be too. Lol. 
thank you so much for being here and being kind about my venting. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi LRB - I know this is from 2 weeks ago but I wanted to say hang in there! I read all these stories of people recovering almost to normal in a couple weeks or months and when I didn't, I got very discouraged.

Everyone has their own recovery path. My upper left lobectomy was in July 2020 and I STILL have SOB, diminished lung/breathing capacity, coughing, and fatigue. So instead of comparing myself to others, I just do what I can, when I can, and when I can't then oh well... I take breaks and naps when I need to, and try to do a little more exercise every day. I also get worn out from doing too much, so I listen to my body when it tells me to stop and refrain from beating myself up about it.

One thing that really helped my breathing capacity & SOB was singing. I am not a singer by any means, but I saw an article about opera singers helping covid patients get their lungs back and so I started doing Broadway showtunes, at least once a day, oftener if I can manage it. Broadway shows like Les Miz, Phantom... anything that has the big belty songs with big inhalations and exhalations. It's more fun when you get fully into it with grand arm gestures and really camp it up! Sounds silly but it has made a huge difference in my lung recovery!

Hope you're well and improving!

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