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Dad goes to surgery soon...


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Hi, I am a daughter of a NSCLC patient who’s currently overseas. I visit this board very often and have gotten a lot of help and inspirations from you. My dad has finished 3 rounds of chemo and has decided to take a chance on surgery. His surgeon will perform a thoracoscopy first to biopsy the small nodules and then a lobectomy depending on the biopsy outcome. I am flying out of the States this Friday to be with my father during his surgery. It’s a whole day trip and I’ll be home with him on Father’s Day! I am happy and sad. I would like to hear from those of you who have gone through surgery or who have cared for a loved one that went through surgery.

What are the common complications of a lung surgery? What signs should I look out for.

What can I take with me for my dad? I can only think of things like protein powder, whey milk power? Anything else? Pain medicine? Over-the-counter medicine? Or even prescriptions since doctors over there can prescribe them too. I would like to have the information before hand. Doctors always don’t tell you all.

Are there any books that teach you how to care for a patient who just gets out of a major surgery? I still have a couple of days to order it before I leave.

Any information is appreciated.

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The surgery is both awful and wonderful. I was so out of it that all the books and magazines that were sent to me in the hospital, I could not read. No attention span. Fortunately most of what went on that week has been lost by bad memory. My daughter tells me I slept almost all the time. I keep seeing people who visited me, and I don't remember AT ALL!

I doubt you could bring in any kind of meds, prescription or OTC. I was not hungy at all so brought in foods had no appeal. I think the best thing is just your being there!

One concern is having a blood clot form(from being in one position for so long) in a leg and the move creating an embolism. I had elastic stocking-like thingys put on my legs before surgery. Didn't take them off until I left the hospital 7 days later.

I hope they are able to do the surgery, as it gives the best chance for a cure.


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Hello Carol;

I absolutely agree with Judy, it's awful and wonderful; I'll be praying for your dad. The best thing you can bring is yourself. especially on fathers day!!

They did a mediastinoscopy on me to determin if the cancer had spread. They sampled and tested the nodes and within an hour or so they got the result, rolled me over on my stomach and removed my left lung. The total time for the operations was about 5 or so hours. Pretty amazing when ya think about it. The first few days your pretty sedated but I do remember it was real important to start walking as soon as possible. You can certainly help him do that. Oh and a pillow under the arm for the coughs helps control the pain.

I'll be praying real hard he gets the surgery!

God bless and be well

Bobmc - NSCLC- stageIIB - left pneumonectomy- 5/2/01

" absolutely insist on enjoying life today!"

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Dear Carol,

When I had surgery, the hospital gave me a "cough buddy"-- a stuffed animal--a very firm teddy bear that I used instead of a pillow while coughing. Unfortunately, coughing is essential after this surgery and the coughing really hurts. Having a very firm pillow, or something like my cough buddy really helps.

The nurse also told me that all systems in the body are mixed up after the surgery. I had so much acid reflux. I was on medication for it, but it still caused some problems. Even eating a banana was uncomfortable.

These are all minor discomforts. This will all pass and after awhile, your Dad will be feeling much better.

Have a safe trip.


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Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers. You people are just wonderful! I went to the store last night and bought whatever I could think of. I know my dad can get most of them over there, but buying the stuff for him just made me feel a little better. And I know it will make him happy too. I will keep you posted.

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