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Lung Cancer Support
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VATS Right lung wedge resection

Hello everyone I’m new I was just looking up VATS because there’s not much reading about post-op. I had a VATS done November 21, 2019 Due to a spontaneous pneumothorax which they still haven’t figured out the cause or my underlining disease my biopsy results were sent to the Mayor clinic in Michigan.

I have pain on my right side of my chest from my collarbone down, nipple pain and my rib cage is sore and tight I also have numbness and swollen abdomen but when I asked the doctor about the swelling they look at me like I’m crazy and I don’t get an answer they just said I’m healing. I was sent to the pain clinic started off with 300 mg of gabapentin three times a day And once a day 75 mg of meloxicam then after two months they upped it to 400mg. The pain is a lot less than it was a month ago but what concerns me is the breathing I have episodes where I can’t breathe and I panic and they always say my lung is stitched up hasn’t collapsed. Has anyone had breathing problems I’m like scared to move it’s been a challenge for me it took me a month to get out my house because I was scared and I still a.m.

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Welcome Looved75. I can't speak to the abdominal swelling, but I can address the chest symptoms you are having. They are normal and will resolve over time. I was short of breath for a number of months after my surgery. So much depends on where they made their incision and how much lung tissue was taken. I had 2/3 of my left lung removed for cancer 4 years ago. I still get short of breath under certain conditions and react to air pollution. There is no getting around it, with less lung tissue to provide oxygen to the body, we are likely to become short of breath.

As to the swelling in your abdomen, there are so many reasons that could be occurring from simple constipation to fluid in you abdomen. This might be a question for your primary physician rather than your thoracic surgery team.

Meanwhile, I hope your recovery continues smoothly and you get the answers you need.

Jean

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Thank you for your reply...I will ask my pcp. Thank you

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You are less than 3 months post op. Recovery from any surgery takes time. You need to give yourself the time it needs to heal. As for the swollen abdomen, I agree with JeanE41, that may be a question for your pcp. My orthopedic surgeon once told me that I would know when I was completely healed inside, because my scars would be white.

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Thank you Katherine for responding, that is good to know about the scar. I’m trying to do normal things like go to work, clean and cook (my husband is doing it all now) and it’s draining me where I only work 3x out the week 8hrs with one day in between and I’m in bed all day tired when I’m off. I get different answers about when I’ll be normal again from 2-3 months then 6m-1yr.

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How long to heal is different for each of us.

If you work 8 hrs and are in bed the next day, it may be your body telling you you're not healed enough yet. I know it's hard, but you have to give yourself time to heal. As for hubby doing all the cooking and cleaning right now, that too will change with time. I am the type who has to do everything myself. I hated sitting on my butt and letting hubby cook dinner and do the dishes. He is a good cook, but when it comes to washing dishes, he puts the dishes in the dish drainer the wrong way. 😑 But I learned to let go and realize that it's okay to let others help. He may not do things the way I do, but they get done and that's what counts. You will eventually get strong enough to do these things again, it just takes time.

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Katherine I am laughing right now because everything that you’re saying is so true about the cleaning yeah I’m just like “ when I get better I need to do a thorough cleaning!” But i love that he is helping. Yes I know I’m at work too early but bills need to be paid but I’m not a credit card person so it’s basically a phone bill and hospital bill and after that’s paid I’m going to take a leave of absence. Thank you Katherine so much and all the others on here and that made me feel welcomed

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It has been 10 months since my last LC surgery and I still can't do a "thorough house cleaning". I find I need to clean in increments, clean the bathtub, take a break, sweep the floor, break, vacuum the living room, break. I have learned to accept that I can't do as much as I used to do.

I was diagnosed with emphysema and squamous cell lung cancer almost 6 years ago. I was not unlike you, had upper left lobe removed and went back to my part time job (the bills have to get paid). I was told by an ER doctor that LC was an automatic disability, she suggested I apply. I applied, but kept working. I retired 2 1/2 years ago (at 59) when it got to be too much stress. Depending on your diagnosis, you can work and collect Social Security Disability as long as your earned income is below a set amount (I think it's currently up to $1,170 a month).

By the way....it still bugs me when hubby does the dishes and puts them in the dish drainer backwards, but I just keep my mouth shut and let him help.

You said once the phone bill and hospital bills are paid you would take a leave of absence, I don't know where you live, or your financial situation, but maybe ask the hospital if they have any kind of financial assistance programs that you could apply for?

Keep in touch, let me know how you are doing.

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Yes a lot of breaks in between cleanings. I am just in your very independent person such as I and we have our way of doing things. I’m glad that you’re OK and I pray you stay OK. Thank you for the financial assistance question I called they have to look into it so we’ll see.

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It took me a few years and going through a lot of crap to get to the point of being willing/able to let go of my very strong need to do everything myself, after all I've been this way for as long as I can remember. Keep on them about the financial assistance, don't let them forget about you. I know it is a pain the butt, especially when you are not feeling your best, but it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

The way it works here is; you have to have limited resources, but not be low enough to qualify for the states medicaid program. The hospital will "cover" your out of pocket expenses, as long as the provider bills through that hospital, the hospital writes it off as a loss. I will be surprised if they don't have anything.

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Thank you so much Katherine I really appreciate you and your feed back continue to stay strong yeah i know “easier said than done”.

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Keep in touch, let me know how you are doing.

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I have used gabapentin several times, for different conditions but the same symptom, nerve pain. For me the medicine worked. As soon as the reason was no longer there, I was able to graduate off the medicine. As for the chest pain and the pain in your abdomen, I am fighting that also. I lost the lower lobe of my right lung in 2017 and then has to do chemo and radiation in 2018 because the cancer returned. I still have not gotten any answers about the abdomen pain.

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Thank you kgie for your response, I hope you are doing well now. I’m glad someone know what I’m feeling. I’m going to try again and this time demand an X-ray or ultrasound because their had to be an answer. I will update you when I go. Take care

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