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Old 05-13-2008, 08:55 AM   #1
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New here -- facing lung surgery soon

I am new to this board but it seems to have lots of good information. I have a 12mm x 14mm nodule in my upper right lung that my thoracic surgeon thinks looks "suspicious". I will be scheduled for surgery probably mid-June to have either a wedge or lobectomy depending on the pathology of the nodule when we are in the OR. I am a non-smoker, but both of my parents died of lung cancer and I was exposed to second hand smoke for the first 17 years of my life. This is really scary stuff for me because I have no symptoms (nodule was found by accident on a chest x-ray). Have already had a bronchoscopy and mediastinoscopy which I am waiting for results, but surgeon said everything in that area looked fine. Have also had CT and PET scans. PET showed some faint activity in the nodule. Head CT was clear (thank God). Anyone else have encouraging words for me about recovering from the lobectomy?

Johanna

 
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Old 05-29-2008, 05:55 AM   #2
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Re: New here -- facing lung surgery soon

Johanna,

I was scheduled for a upper right lobectomy in November of last year due to a situation VERY simular to yours. I had two nodules one in each lung the largest one being 6mm. Like you, I had NO symptoms either. It was found during a pre-op x-ray for a unrelated surgery. I had follow-up CT scans every 3 months. On the 6th month scan the nodule in my right lung had tripled in size, and became "spiculated" in shape. Had PET scan and that showed "hypermedobolic uptake" which also indicated cancer. I had a "staging procedure" biopsing lymph nodes in my chest, which all were benign. Appt with the surgeon before surgery, he told me this was the "classic case" of cancer given the shape and size. So was scheduled for surgery. By the way, I'm a single Mom and 43, so your fear, I totaly understand.
I had surgery Novemeber 30th of last year. By the time I had surgery this nodule had grown to 3 cm in size, and had began attatching to my chest wall.
By the Grace of God this mass turned out NOT to be cancer! It was a rare form of infection which presented LIKE cancer. Once the "frozen sections" were discovered to be benign, they ended up doing a "wedge" rather than a lobectomy.
I'm not sure what procedure they are doing on you, I had the "open thorocotmy" which they made approx. a 10" incision sort of following the line of my shoulder blade toward my underarm. They do have a procedure called the "VATS", which is done using several smaller incisions where they use a scope to see with which I understand is quicker recovery time. I was told because I had a new "micro nodule" right in the area where the upper and middle lobe met they wouldnt get a good enough look at that, and wanted to make sure they got it all so thats why they did the "open" with me.
I won't lie to you, its a pretty painful procedure, BUT while in the hospital the first few days I had an epidural, so the pain was very well controled. I was in the hospital for 5 days.
I was put on perecept for pain once I was home, which did help with the pain. But because I also have sleep apnea my lung would particaly collaps at night while sleeping. So when morning came it became very painful and difficult to breath. Because I didnt know what was happening, I went a few days with this pain thinking it would pass, plus I started having "nerve" pain which the pain meds wouldnt touch. So I went to my Primary care, and thats when I found out WHY It hurt to breath. She said it was a good think I came in, that I would have been in the hospital by the next day. She prescribed "neurotin" for the nerve pain, and told me I HAD to use my spirometer(used for breathing exercises) to get my lung back up. I wasnt faithful with doing these prior to going to my primary, so MAKE SURE YOU do these exercises when you get home from the hospital, as you can see, its VERY important. It was EXTREAMLY painful to do them to get my lung to re-inflate, it felt as though someone was punching me from the inside out, when it would finally come back up, but the very next breath was SO MUCH better. So do yourself a favor to avoid this situation and do those exercises faithfully. For me the nerve pain was the worse which is due to the fact they cut all the nerves to your chest for the surgery. so even though the incision is in your back(IF you have the open procedure) the nerve pain is in your chest. The neurotin did take away that nerve pain, but its a tough medication with sideffects, so I only tollerated it for about a week and stopped taking it, BUT it was enough to take the edge off the pain so I could tollerate it.
So at this point its been approx 6 months since surgery, I still have some numbness in my chest, and twinges of nerve pain, BUT very tollerable. My "pulmonary function" is still VERY GOOD and within normal limits. For me that was a major concern prior to having the surgery, was would I be able to breath ok after, and thank God the answer is yes! So my guess is if you have no symptoms NOW and are in fairly good shape, then you should be fine after as well. Now If I over due, lifting something heavy, or working in a bent over position and lifting, I will get out of breath, BUT I do also have a muscle disease and couldnt run to save my life, so for me that is a factor. As I said for you, If your ok now, I think you will be fine after as well. Just my opinion of course.
Anyway, I hope this answers some of your questions and I do wish you the best, and will certiantly say a prayer for you that your recovery goes well so you can get back on your feet in no time!

Take care, stay strong,
and GOd bless.
Annette

 
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:17 AM   #3
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Re: New here -- facing lung surgery soon

I had a right middle lobectomy 2 years ago. I am also a non-smoker and had no symptoms. The lung mass was found by accident when I was having a CT to check out my prostate for possible cancer which was neg. It was 7 X 5.5cm. A brain CT, PET scan and lymph node biopsies showed it hadn't spread. With a lobectomy they have to cut ribs and the nerve bundles behind them.The surgery went fine though the surgeon wasn't able to remove as much nearby tissue as he wanted to in order to provide a more safe margin. He said if it hadn't been discovered for another couple months I would have lost the entire lung. I was on a spinal tap pain machine at first and then a morphine drip. I had healed really well in 3 or 4 days but had to stay 8 days because there was still to much fluid coming from the drain tubes. As the last poster said its important to use the spirometer as often as you can while recovering to get your lungs to re-expand. I was on morphine pills for 2 weeks and then mostly over the counter stuff after that. I got 3 bleeding ulcers from all the NSAIDS and I can no longer take them because my stomach is now hypersensitive to them. I walked 3 miles the day I was released from the hospital and kept walking 3-5 miles a day after that. I was in excruciating for about a month due to all the cut nerves. I had to sleep in a recliner the first month as laying on the bed was to painful.
Now 2 years later the cancer has so far stayed away. I've been requesting MRI instead of CT for my followups due to the massive radiation you are exposed to with CT and PET scans. I still have some numbness and "phantom" pain due to some nerves not reconnecting properly. The surgeon said if they haven't reconnected by now they probably never will and he said its normal for some people to have some discomforts from nerves after a lobectomy for the rest of your life. Its not really bad, just annoying at times. The worst thing is that every new pain makes you worry if its come back. There have also been a couple of scares when chemical marker tests came back positive for cancer again but turned out the tests were botched and were fine when redone again. The surgeon told me if it doesn't come back after 10-12 years then it probably never will. My lung function still tests perfectly nornal even without the middle lobe as the other lobes expand and make up somewhat for it. The tumor in my case was blocking the bronchial tree so before the surgery I was really only functioning on just one lung and my lung functions tested normal even then.
I hope yours turns out to be nothing and not real cancer. Its small enough they should have no trouble getting it all and the fact it hasn't spread means you will hopefully never have to deal with it again.

Dave

 
Old 05-29-2008, 08:49 AM   #4
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Re: New here -- facing lung surgery soon

Johanna,

With my surgery they didnt have to cut ribs. They used a rib spreader to spread them for the surgery.

Dave,

Congrates on being cancer free, it truely is amazing what they can do today! Your mass was quite large, you are certiantly blessed!
I now have 2 new nodular areas in the line where they resected the mass, and my pulmonologist "thinks" these too are benign, given the fact the main mass was. But for ME, I hate that word "think", I would rather know for sure. They are keeping a close eye on these and will re-scan in July. The muscle disease I have can be associated with malignancy so it will continue to be a risk for me. I understand the feeling you have when you get those new pains ect... you mentioned, because just before I had my surgery I had started having just these "twinges" of pain in my chest. Nothing that was concerning to me, but I did notice them. The doctors felt that may have been because the mass was attatching itself to my chest wall.
I will certiantly pray for you that you contiue to be cancer FREE!
Take care, stay strong,
and God bless.
Annette

 
Old 06-02-2008, 12:56 PM   #5
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jkwrabbit HB User
Re: New here -- facing lung surgery soon

Thanks so much for your replies. I am scheduled for the surgery 6/11. They are going to do the surgery with the VATS technique. Hopefully I will bounce back pretty quick from it this way. I suppose there is an outside chance if they have to remove the entire lobe, they may do the larger incision. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Johanna

 
Old 06-27-2008, 10:29 PM   #6
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lindyglo HB User
Thumbs up Re: New here -- facing lung surgery soon

Johanna,
Hope your surgery went well and you are quickly recovering. I had a bilobectomy Oct. 07. I had a large carcinoid tumor in my right bronchus. I'm 51, non-smoker and in pretty good shape. By January 2008 I was baclk to running on the treadmil and by March I was doing my spinning classes.
Best advice...do your breathing exercises as much as possible. I hope you are well and have people helping you. Take care.

 
Old 07-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #7
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Smile Re: New here -- facing lung surgery soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkwrabbit View Post
I am new to this board but it seems to have lots of good information. I have a 12mm x 14mm nodule in my upper right lung that my thoracic surgeon thinks looks "suspicious". I will be scheduled for surgery probably mid-June to have either a wedge or lobectomy depending on the pathology of the nodule when we are in the OR. I am a non-smoker, but both of my parents died of lung cancer and I was exposed to second hand smoke for the first 17 years of my life. This is really scary stuff for me because I have no symptoms (nodule was found by accident on a chest x-ray). Have already had a bronchoscopy and mediastinoscopy which I am waiting for results, but surgeon said everything in that area looked fine. Have also had CT and PET scans. PET showed some faint activity in the nodule. Head CT was clear (thank God). Anyone else have encouraging words for me about recovering from the lobectomy?

Johanna

 
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