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Right Upper Lung Lobectomy
KMS
1 Posts
Hi Everyone
Thank you everyone for sharing your stories I have surgery scheduled in May to remove my right upper lobe..
Feeling pretty overwhelmed with the prospect of recovery from the surgery and being off work.
Can anyone comment of the time it takes to recover from the surgery?
17 Replies
Thumper
16 Posts
I would also like to hear these experiences! I'm having a right upper lobectomy on Monday. Open (not video assisted) so the more invasive kind. I'm hoping to go back to work end of May, based on a 4-6 week recovery time.
supersu
197 Posts
KMS‍ & Thumper

good morning!
what exciting-scary-exciting times
I cannot speak to lobectomy surgery as I have a different cancer, but I do remember the feeling of excitement, (yeah - finally doing something about the CA instead of just talking about it), and the worry of the unknown when I had my own surgeries one year ago.
I am sure others more familiar with your type of CA will chime in, but I just wanted to welcome you both to these forums and wish you all the best in your upcoming surgery and sending positive vibes for quick & complete recoveries!
keep in touch and let us know how things progress

cheers & hugs
su

#lobectomy #surgery
Cynthia Mac
3194 Posts
Hi, KMS‍ And Thumper‍ , my dad had a wedge resection via VATS, so I’m not a lot of help, but robegree71‍ And auntybevy‍ Both have had lobectomies. Perhaps they can join this conversation with some words that will help you.
robegree71
48 Posts
I had a left lobectomy in April 2020. It is very invasive and the recovery can be very long.
I was to be out of the hospital in 3 days which ended up being 10 and the recovery was months. I had my surgery in Mexico thanks to Covid and didn’t have access to a hospital with Experience or equipment to do VATS.I was Stage 1 so wanted to removed as soon as possible. The process I would have gone through back in Canada I couldn’t get a time frame on. I was 70 at the time and we all heal differently so difficult to say how your recovery will be. They need to remove some lymph nodes as well.
If you can get the VATS do that. Why a lobectomy being in Canada ? With all I know now a Wedge Section would have been enough. Did you get a second opinion? How much experience does your surgeon have ?
Interview him and make sure you are totally comfortable with everything he has to say. How many has he done ? Can you talk to any of his other patients? How successful has he been ?
This is your life so don’t be intimidated by the doctor.What Stage is it ? Do you know why you can’t do the VATS ?
robegree71
48 Posts
Read my reply to KMS.Just posted it.
Bob
robegree71
48 Posts
Read my reply to you and please keep me up to date on what you do.
Thanks
Bob
Thumper
16 Posts
Thanks for sharing your story, Bob.

I actually did get a second opinion because my first surgeon was very dismissive of my concerns. I have one of the top surgeons in the province now, and he has been very open to answering my questions. He explained that the open lobectomy would allow him to be more thorough in obtaining all the affected tissue, and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Because of my age (I'm 40) he wanted to be as aggressive as possible. I'm at stage 3a, so he has to remove both the upper lobe and some lymph nodes. He says that the hospital stay is only one day longer than for VATS, because of all the advances in anesthetics and pain management. And then I have to be disciplined about doing a recovery program at home (walking, breathing exercises, stretching, etc.)
Nicky01
216 Posts
KMS‍ and Thumper‍ Sorry for the reason that brings you to this site that everybody would rather not have to join....here you are amongst friends. I know how you’re feeling right now because I went trough a right upper lung lobectomy last September. I had the VAT surgery which is less invasive than the regular lobectomy surgery. I had my surgery in the morning and by the end of the afternoon I had already walked one km. I was in the hospital for 3 days and already climbing stairs and walking 3 km a day. I was amazed by how well I was doing it was definitely not what I was expecting and even though I developed a lung hernia 2 weeks after my surgery which is very rare and was caused by a very bad cough my recovery went well and I am 68 years old. I was back doing light house work, cooking.....no vacuuming as soon has I got home even working in my greenhouse and by November I was raking leaves. This winter I was even removing snow from the top of the house, today I don’t even notice that part of my lung is missing and this past week I have been shovelling dirt outside with no problems whatsoever. I can’t stress enough though the importance of doing a lot of light exercises at first increasing a little bit more everyday and doing the breathing exercises with the spirometer which I myself still do to make sure both my lungs stay strong. Wishing you the best with your surgery and try not to worry too much you’ve got this and if you feel up to it please keep us updated on how you’re doing!

Resilience...today is a brand new day and I will make the most of it!

Nicky
LC2021
6 Posts
Hi KMS,

I thought I would reply to your post re: your upcoming lobectomy, as I just had a lobectomy done March 15 2021. Right upper lobe. I had the VATS procedure so a less invasive procedure (to get at the lung), but then still the invasive part of removing the lobe. I don't want to deflate you or scare you, but i do want to share my lessons learned, as I under estimated EVERYTHING about my surgery. I thought I'd be in hospital for 5 -7 days (which for me translated to "5"). I intended to come home immediately and be on my own. I figured that the surgery was the end of my cancer journey. What I learned was having 'hard' expectations is just a set up for disappointment. I was in hospital for 9 days. It took a while for the lung to be able to hold air (it was leaking). For a day or 2, every day after day 5 was so very upsetting. I went to my sisters directly after which was a GOOD thing. After having nurses checking on you every couple of hours, it is daunting to come home. My husband has alzheimers so I knew I could not come home to business as usual and be his caregiver as well as my own. The emotional 'trauma' for me was significant. I was a mess for a good couple of weeks. I'm now almost a month post op, and I am still sore, and have weird radiating nerve pain. The nights are the worst. My body is grabbing a LOT of sleep, I guess part of the healing process. So i guess my advice is to kick your expectations right out the door, as you can't control how this will unfold. You will be able to go back to work when your body and mind are READY, and not before. As I mentioned, I had VATS so the external wound healing was minimal, but the internal healing the same. The emotional roller coaster takes a huge toll as well.

I wish you all the best of luck and quick healing.
@all the folks in this thread!

This is the changing lung cancer world! A few years ago this discussion wasn't happening. Lung cancer patients ran and hid. We didn't tell anyone due to the stigma that we felt. That in a few hours a patient here got good solid information and shared experience shows the growing strength of the #LungCancer . And it brings tears to my eyes. This is what the #TWRP (#TheWhiteRibbonProject) is all about. (https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewtopic/68/67690 )

Thanks for stepping up and sharing your experience.

Angus
elle29
284 Posts

Is this your first lung surgery and removal ? All I can say is 2 people I know had one lung removed , one went to work by subway to Public major store known then .
The other my BF worked in a bank retired just takes good care of herself since staying mostky inside avoiding public contact with people's cold germs etc . Both smoked , quit, stopped , in fact spouse smoked but went outside .
Has taken my BF couple of years at first if the renaming lung gets congested or easily infected . Doing fine now with home massage cupping technique to keep it clear . Lives in a condo in city now with big windows of warmth from sun . Only stays in her bubble of family avoids public spaces no public socials . Neither needed to go on oxygen and both married . One had family boys carried on as usual cooking enjoying meals , home addition too carefully but resting in evening after working . Hope this helps .
My prayers being sent your way to keep strong and spirited as u are challenged to know more to be and feel calm preplanning this adjustment . We r with you Angus ! 🦦

Hope99
16 Posts
I had a left upper lobectomy back in February of 2015 at the age of 67. But I am retired so there was no 'push' to get back to work. I did have a lot of cardiac complications (arrhythmia) as well as other complications post surgery, so my experience wouldn't necessarily be the same as yours. But IF I had still been working, I don't think I would have been returning for about 3 months.
robegree71
48 Posts
How are you doing post op ? I like the aggressive part.
I wish I had got a second opinion and over 50% of us don’t ! It is an emotional roller coaster to say the least and just be prepared to go with what comes along. I know it is difficult but don’t put expectations on yourself and stay positive. Your body will let you know when it is ready for the next move, just listen to it.
I always took control of things in my life and was use to planning ahead and made things happen. It was hard for me to not try to fix things going through journey but I have learned to focus on a good diet, exercise and stress management. The things I have control over and let the rest happen. Less stressful 😃😃
Good luck.
robegree71
48 Posts
I had mine in April 2020 and I am also on an American site called Lungcancer.com
Just read and interesting article there listing 5 of the most common side effects of a lobectomy. They don’t say how long they last for. I am still experiencing them one year post op !
1. Shortness of breath
2. Coughing up phlegm
3. Pain at drainage tube incision.
4. Dry cough
5. Fatigue. Not a lot now but some days.
Anyone have information from Canadian sources or the medical profession. I am less stressed after having read that. Every pain brought on terror of ‘ it’s back ! ‘
Thumper
16 Posts
Just wanted to give an update on my lobectomy.

I woke up to find out that the surgeon had decided to remove the middle lobe as well as the upper because of the position of the tumour and the damage from radiation therapy. I am okay with that decision but I wish it had come up as a possibility in our discussions. It may be something to ask your surgeon.

Because of this, my hospital stay was 9 days instead of 5, and probably could have been longer if I wasn't so insistent on getting out as early as possible! There were no complications, just a lot of healing to do. I used the incentive spirometer (a breathing tool/exerciser) religiously and walked as much as possible (somedays that was just to the window and back).

I'm almost three weeks post-operative and able to manage the pain with extra-strength Tylenol. I have quite a lot of numbness/tingling around my right breast, which is more uncomfortable than painful. I can go for 20 minute walks as long as I don't try to talk too much while doing so! I also have frequent bouts of sadness, but I just get myself a treat and cry it out.

It's slower going than I hoped, but like other posters have said, you have to throw those expectations out the window and take it one day at a time.
Cynthia Mac
3194 Posts
Thumper‍ It’s so good to read your update. Even though you think things are going slower than they should, things are actually going at the pace they are supposed to for you.

You’re doing great!
Keep at it!
LC2021
6 Posts
Hi @Thumper,

I read your update and just wanted to ping you to share that I had my lobectomy mid March, and I did not feel I had turned the corner (both physically and emotionally) until mid April. It was a real emotional roller coaster for me, and physically I too had lots of weird nerve 'pain' / more like sensations. Those are much less now, but I still have a weird hard area below my right rib cage. The surgeon said it happens sometimes, and is muscle tissue not yet firing properly due to nerves being 'disturbed'.

Emotionally, I am even more relieved to be feeling better. For a while, I was crying at the drop of a hat (or a car commercial), and one of the things that bothered me the most is that I had a really tough time practicing GRATITUDE.

I think what I realize now, is that I had a real fear of dieing. Before the surgery, and after. Now I am in a better space (I saw a counsellor I had seen previously). Have done some great work on gratitude, and also working on "what did I learn through this". A big one being letting go of some expectations.

So anyway, I just wanted to say "HI", and let you know that if your path is similar at all to mine, May will be a month of positive change for you. I sure hope it is.

Take care !
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