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Trying to get info/experience that might help me get thru this thing.

Scheduling for surgery for a growing, Pet SUV 6.2 2.1cm RLL indeterminate nodule after failed State of the Art Monarch Robotic Assisted Biospy.  Very disappointed. Cost 10k. Have no clue what to do or expect.

Surgeon wants to do a lobectomy with Da Vinci robotic assisted thoracic - RATS

Says will do full intercostal nerve block, gabapentin, tramadol, hydrocodone, topical lidocaine. Will not let me try gabapetin or tramadol prior to see if have adverse or allergeric reactions. Have severe asthma, allergies.

Terrified me with everything that could go wrong. Just recovering from 5 yr car accident, finally walking. So focus on prayer/praise and walking 4mi, doing 3 flights of 28 steps daily.

Not prepared for whole ordeal. Any tricks on getting thru this? How long to recovery. Live alone with cat, dog. Family out of state. Plan on sleeping sitting up.


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Hi mat 

Sorry you find yourself here, it sounds like a very rough journey your on,I haven't had surgery for the lung cancer but I have had some failed treatments so can sympathise with your fears try to stay as strong and positive as you can,I'm sure someone will come along on here with some answers, 

All the best Take care Justin 

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Welcome and sorry you need to be here.  You've come to a great place for support, knowledge and experience.  I hope you'll hang around.  I want to start by sharing two things with you:

1. A blog titled "10 Steps to Surviving Lung Cancer; From a Survivor" and it can be found here.  It's a great primer and comes from a member who was diagnosed with Stage 3 then Stage 4 eighteen years ago.  His story is inspiring, and you'll find many inspiring stories here from survivors a number of which we not given much hope but have lived years past diagnosis and continue doing so.

2. I have also had a lobectomy robotic VATS and prepared a checklist that will help you pre-surgery, in-hospital, and recovering.  It is titled "Thoracic Surgery; Tips and Tricks".  I believe there is information there that can help you, it's on this page.

One final thing...please stay away from "Dr. Google".  Much of the data there is dated and it does not look at individual aspects of your disease.  I would personally trust my medical team and learn what is possible from the other super folks on this forum.

Stay in touch, ask questions, and take the time to learn more about your disease at our "Lung Cancer 101".


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Sad to hear about the failed robotic biopsy. I prioritize a competent surgeon widely known for their skills over the use of robotic surgery. Make sure your surgeon is very competent. The top surgeons usually do not find using robots adds much but  it helps less experienced ones.

I had a lobectomy back in April (VATS) and it went well. It was tough but not horrible, pain management is key so make sure they give you all the pain meds you need to stay comfortable. Pain meds cause nausea which  I found terrible so also make sure you get the anti nausea meds. Things improve fast after they remove the draining tube, which is the worst part about the surgery. All in all not a nice experience but not too horrible either with  proper supervision and meds. I stayed in hospital for a week, until my surgeon was confident the little leak I had in there mostly resolved.

Recovery for me was long, many weeks. I had a cough start after one week (never coughed before) which bothered me a lot but it seems to have been due to inflammation or irritation from surgery and it subsided, slowly, and it eventually went away after a few months. I found that gentle slow moving after surgery helped recovery, even reduced pain. I would pace around our kitchen island holding a pillow to support my coughs and bruised incision sites (I had minimally invasive but not robotic). Take it easy, your body will still need lots of rest. I had pain meds too then, and I took them less and less as my body healed but they are important to have with you whenever needed.

Can a friend of family member come help you after surgery? That would be ideal. Otherwise, are there patient support programs where you are who can help instead. I could not do much after surgery so having someone around to help out  is ideal. Wishing you the best!

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@mat2000 Welcome to the group. Sorry you have to be here....

Is the lobectomy surgeon the same as the biopsy surgeon? Do you trust him/her? It sounds like you would prefer a little advance testing of some of these medications before taking on the whole experience at once. Gabapentin should not be a big deal to try prior to the Big Day. I don't know what tramadol is or its physiological effects. Do you have a pharmacist you could speak to in order to learn more about the mechanisms of these drugs and any potential impact on your asthma? 

I have not ever had lung surgery, so can't speak to recovery. But there must be a social worker or nurse navigator at the place where the surgery will be done; they should be able to help you put a post-surgery support system together. 

Please keep us posted. 

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Hi Mat and welcome,  You've had some good information and suggestions from other folks, above. I especially recommend Lou's Tips and Tricks checklist. Several of us contributed to it. I had a lobectomy by VATS  about 6 years ago. It wasn't too bad as surgeries go. I was able to have standard anesthesia, so I can't speak to the combo of anesthetics your doctor plans to use. I like Karen's suggestion about talking to a pharmacist about them.

I was up and walking around the unit the day I had surgery. I was discharged the following day, with a chest drain tube in place because I had an air leak. I do think this early release was unusual--more often they keep you in the hospital until the air leak stops and the tube can come out. Maybe it's because I don't have any serious healt problems, other than being old! (71 at the time of my surgery) My tube was in for 10 days. I had some pain fron it but I learned how to move around without aggravating it. Once it was out, my pain was much less and easily managed with ibuprofen and tylenol. 

My recovery was pretty fast, with no lingering side effects, except that it sometimes sounds funny when  I breathe. I have a good quality of life now, and I'm working part time.  There is definitely life after lobectomy. I suggest you find somebody to stay with you for the first few days, at least, after your surgery. At most hospitals they won't discharge you unless you have someone picking you up who will be with you for at least 24 hours. I was able to do most stuff for myself pretty quickly. but I did need help changing the dressings around my chest tube and a few other things. I was really restricted in what I could lift.

You will get through this just fine. I suggest not thinking of it as an ordeal but rather as an "interesting" healing experience.

Bridget O

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I had a RLL lobectomy in August of 2022.  I was discharged from the hospital after 3 days (day 4 post-op) with the chest tubes still in.  It was too soon!  My upper back and shoulder on the right side blew up with air (crepitus) and I looked like the hunchback of notre dam.  I went to a local hospital less than 24 hours after discharge(not the one where the surgery occured.  I hated the care i got there and refused to go back) through the ER and was admitted for a worsening pneumothorax and stayed 4 days there, until the chest tubes were removed.  

It was a long recovery.  I was quite used to orthopedic surgeries (carpal tunnel repairs) and cosmetic surgery (a Tummy Tuck) and expected a similarly quick recovery.  NOT!  There is a lot of shortness of breath, even just walking in the house.  I had lethary; unable to sustain any level of energy no matter how much sleep i got.  That was frustrating because I had a lot of chores and really wasn't able to do them - more due to a lack of energy than due to pain or surgical restrictions.  My energy returned gradually.  I was about 90% by 5 or 6 weeks.  I too was in good shape like you, being a jogger and not overweight.  I am back to jogging but it took from September to now to (almost) regain my pre-surgery stamina for running.  I still run a little slower and get winded a little faster. I worked hard at this, first walking a little, then a little more each day, then running a little in between walking, etc.  

Other annoying things I experienced in the weeks following the lobectomy:  pain on the side of the surgery (no surprise there).  Also weird abdominal pains that came and went.  Numbness of abdominal skin.  Nausea after every meal for several hours, every day for weeks.  frequent episodes of hiccupping!  I imagine the trauma from the surgery caused some sort of inflammation of the diaphragm?  And a frequent dry cough which I did not have prior to the surgery.

The good news is that all of this was gone by week 6 post -op.  That's considered a fast recovery as I was told to expect it to take 3 months to feel normal.  The cancer was stage 1A, so the cure seemed worse than the disease.  But of course, necessary.  I was lucky that it was caught early.

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Running Girl,

So sorry to hear about the complications during your recovery.  Most times the post-op symptoms are much less, but each case is individual.  In my case it was about 5-6 weeks to recover enough to maintain my former workout routine (albeit with limitations that lessened over the following months.  I'm glad to hear that you are on the mend and hope you were able to let your frustration with the first hospital known to them.  We can be of help to the "next patient" to give feedback so medical institutions improve their work.  Please keep us updated on your continued progress.


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