My husband had a left lower lobectomy... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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My husband had a left lower lobectomy a few weeks ago he was in hospital for 12 days at home he seems tired all the time but not sleeping pr

Canabeans profile image

Any help is this normal

17 Replies

I'm sure others more knowledgeable will reply soon....I'm guessing that a few weeks is a short time to recover from such an operation. It takes months just to get over pneumonia. P

2greys profile image
2greys in reply to peege

Yes, it is the cause of a major trauma to ones body and recovery can take months, his pain management also needs to be effective, as poor quality sleep will obviously lead to fatigue.

Your husband should have been given an information pack about the surgery and recovery, what to expect etc. If you are unable to locate and read this perhaps make contact with the Macmillan cancer support. They have a helpline and an online community:

Either that or contact your husbands oncologist directly to discuss his symptoms and best ways forward for recovery. ( the number should be on the letter from the hospital)

US based Cleveland Clinic information:

Also information on Lobectomy from the American Lung Association:

Helpful if you are living in the USA

Wishing your husband a good recovery.

Canabeans profile image
Canabeans in reply to Bkin

We did have an information pack but it's very basic and almost only applies to people who are younger or fitter I know it's going to take time , it doesn't help that his eyesight is poor as he has a cataract in both of them , need help motivating him to do more but I think he feels vulnerable.

Bkin profile image
Bkin in reply to Canabeans

I would chat with the Macmillan nurses to see what they may suggest, telephone their helpline from the link above or scroll down to "How we can Help" from the below link of other ways you can chat with them

or as I previously suggested talk directly with the oncologist.

Hope you get some help and peace of mind soon.

In addition you could also chat with the nurses on the BLF helpline for further advice and support.

It can take a minimum of 6-8 weeks to start feeling better after a full lobectomy,dependant and how the procedure was performed albeit open chest or laparoscopicaly.Initialy pain management is the most difficult part alongside associated breathlessnes and fatigue.

Please ensure if your partner is still on any morhine based pain relief that he is aware of the dangers of constipation and he may need a gentle laxative to relieve that.

Movement is key to recovery and avoiding complications and a gentle physio routine and some walking is to be encouraged and contunued until the rest of the lungs compensate for the missing lobe.

Best wishes for a gentle recovery

Ski's and Scruff's

Canabeans profile image
Canabeans in reply to skischool

It was open surgery

skischool profile image
skischool in reply to Canabeans

That timescale of 6-8 weeks would apply then as with keyhole removal which is less seldom done the recovery process is a bit quicker.Movement is to avoid blood clotting potential and also to exercise the existing lung so is strongly recommended and laying about in bed will delay recovery progress.

Slowly but gently are the key messages i believe?

I'm no expert, so can only send good wishes. Gentle exercise seems to be recommended for just about every problem. There are various sitting exercises on the internet, whish would be one way of keeping the circulation going.

A friend of mine who was about 35 without lung disease but had pneumonia a few times had half a lung removed a few years ago. She said it was about 6 weeks before she had less pain and started feeling better. Your husband is a lot older and not as fit so it will take longer for him to recover. He will though as long as he takes it easy. Patience is the key.

The good news is my friend felt so much better afterwards and said she had never had so much energy. She was very pleased she had it done.

I had upper right lung lobectomy 4 years ago, 68 at the time, I was a good couple of months recovering, had some nerve pain for which I was given appropriate medication which helped. This is a major operation and the body needs time to recover. Have you tried contacting either your GP or consultant if there is any pain that is not under control? As many of us on here have learned the older we get the longer we take to heal. Time gentle exercise and rest. I was given exercise targets to do each day when I was discharged from hospital. Best wishes xx

Hi Canabeans: 1) It will take a number of months 2) some of the quirks of nerve pain will likely never totally go away. 3) if he has any ribs broken or severely strained they will quite possibly never heal completely. 4) He must get up and about a bit , the more walking the better, 5) ensure the Dr prescribed an Aerobika or other lung exerciser device offering gentle respiratory resistance to build up breathing capacity, and then religiously use it. The more he uses it , the better. With a concerted effort the middle lobe will actually ‘enlarge’ it’s capacity slightly into the area where the lower lobe was. I used my Aerobika while watching TV or on my iPad , and 6) sleep is critical. I have not laid flat on my back on a bed in the nine years since my open chest lobectomy. I have a nice Lay-Z-Boy recliner that is my daytime chair and nighttime bed ( with the legs raised and the seat back tilted back at about a 45 degree angle ). And I will also note that a positive ‘can do ‘ is essential ! Best Wishes to you both! , judg69

I had my right lung taken out 25 years ago. It took me a whole year to get over it. You need good pain management. But you will get there in time.

I had same op 1981 even then it took me 6months to steadily recover take your time it does get easier,take care

I had an upper right lobectomy at the age of 67 (11 years ago). On my first night at home I was totally convinced I was going to die that night! I found that I could lay down or I could breathe, but not do both together, so for the next 4 months I too slept in my "Lazyboy" chair in an almost upright position. I had been given what turned out to be an excellent pain management plan, but the acute discomfort carried on for several weeks. When you stop to think what they did to you it is hardly surprising! Time is a great healer and gradually I began to feel better until after about a month I plucked up the courage to try a little walk up the road. This was really hard for me but I persevered and over the following months I increased the walking until I could feel myself regaining strength. Now, 11 years on, I walk and exercise regularly but I am under no illusions that I am no longer the man I used to be. Keep moving, stay positive and follow the advice of your healthcare professionals - you may never be fully the same again but you can have a perfectly fulfilling life. Good luck!

I had my lower left lobe removed 50 years ago, took me 6 months to recover with a lot of pain, I was young but back then pain management was not very good. I’m pleased I had it done because I did improve. Look after your husband, he is lucky you are there for him.

I'm 46 and had my lower left lobe removed in oct of 2019. I walked a lot to recover. I didnt have issues sleeping because I was as active as possible and therefore I was tired. I also took the pain meds prescribed. Good luck! Recovery takes time.