Free to Breathe

3 weeks post op

I was diagnosed in June of this year with right upper lobe stage 1 cancer. I was extremely lucky to have found it so early. My husband had a heart attack and as a result gave me a heart scan for Christmas. Long story short, CT showed a mass and now it's gone via a lobectomy 3 weeks ago. My question to all who have proceeded me, how long does the pain and shortness of breath last? They want you to breath deep to build up lung capacity but it's hard to do when it hurts. Thanks for listening.

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Welcome iamndf2 to this community. You were truly fortunate, as we're many of us, to have our cancers caught accidentally and at a relatively early stage. It depends on your age, physical condition, type of surgery (vat or traditional thoracotomy) and where the incision was made, how long recovery and the pain lasts. Because of the number of nerves that are cut and the necessity to displace ribs during the procedure, the pain from this surgery is more severe and long lasting than from most surgeries. I had my vat June 1, 2015 and was 73 years old at the time and in relatively good health. The pain took several months to subside and even now I have some pain in the incision site and where the chest tube was placed. It is very manageable with Tylenol or naproxen. Originally, though, I stayed on the narcotic pain meds until the pain was able to be relieved with non narcotics. It was 3 - 4 weeks after the surgery before I was able to wean myself off them

Your recovery will take time. Do deep breathe even though it hurts. It's easier to do about an hour after taking a pain med. Do walk as much as you are able. And most importantly, be patient with yourself.

I hope this helps and wish you a speedy and uneventful recovery.

Jean

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Thank you Jean

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Iam, no matter what else you do , get up and walk, every day, slowly increasing your daily distance. Secondly, get a flutter device and use it throughout the day, every day. I have had great benefit from the Aerobika device , which your Dr can prescribe. Lastly, a great attitude and sense of gratitude helps a whole lot! Best Wishes, judg69

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Thanks Judg69 but not sure what a flutter device is?

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Welcome! You will find that we are a great group with a lot of experience and knowledge. I have not had lung surgery, but can tell you from other surgeries that the pain can last quite awhile after surgery. Please follow your doctor's instructions and deep breathe even though it hurts - the more you do it, the less it will hurt. Depend on the narcotics for now - you will be able to figure out how long it takes for them to kick in, and when they do that is the best time for you to do the exercises. If you feel it is too much, talk to your doctor about it. Some of us have a high tolerance for pain and some of us don't, and your doctor can help. I wish you the best on your road to recovery!!

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I was also a 1B, and it will be almost 4 years. I still get shortness of breath when I do something strenuous and have determined it is my new norm. I followed their directions started out walking immediately upon returning home and continue to walk about 1 an hour each day and do a spin class 2 times a week. Give yourself time to heal and keep walking.

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Being able to do a spin class!!! You are my hero

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Thank you so much.

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I had 2 lobes removed on right side and it took a little while for pain to ease off. However the nerve pain continued longer and still have numbness under right arm and breast. Shortness of breath for me continues when I exert much. I have 63% lung capacity so that makes sense. So glad yours was caught early. Thankfulness your hubby gave you such a great present. I wish you continued recovery.

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Thanks Debby1125

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Hi iamjdf2, I had my lobectomy one year ago, and like you I was very lucky mine was caught very early. The pain takes several months, as there are a lot of nerves in there. As far as your breathing, take short walks. Eventually your shortness of breath goes away. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

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Thanks!

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