The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Surgery next week

Hi all my dad is having surgery next week. He’s having upper right lobe removed and part of the middle lobe. Any advice on how to help him when he gets home. Anything that people found useful or anything that you wish you’d known? His surgeon is hopeful that it can be totally removed. I want to look after my dad and help him recover as quickly as possible. Also my dad is a big golfer so any ideas of how long it might take him to get back to a gentle round of golf? Thank all in advance.

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Your Dad having the same op as I had nearly 10years ago. I am right handed & find making beds & hoovering etc bring on muscle pain. Something I can live with as I survived. I must admit I was hanging washing on the line the day after leaving hospital where I was for 2 weeks. Think your Dad should have a go at his golf very gently, putting rather than teeing off. Good luck to him he will still be scared for a while. At 70 I am still working, Big hugs forboth of you the best medicine ever. xxxx

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Hi, I'm due to have a mediastenoscopy very soon as the tumor is behind my right shoulder blade and difficult to biopsy in the normal way it seems. You sound like a very strong lady, I haven't read anything as upbeat as your message since I've been on this site, it has given me hope for a good outcome if they proceed to surgery. Thank you and continued good health to you. X

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Hi OliD Thank you, I am not that strong. At the beginning had loads of tears & was scared stiff. I was very lucky with all the medical peeps who looked after me. I am going to look up mediastenoscopy as my treatment was here in France so not sure if I had that. I will get back to you as my tumour was in the same place. Hugs Anne x

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Thank you so much Anne, I would be very interested to hear your experience. I am very scared too but trying to bear up as best I can, had a few meltdowns but it doesn't help anything, it's the waiting for scans and now the biopsy before anything can be done that is very hard to bear not to mention the knock on effect for my family. X

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Thanks he’s a fighter and his cancer is small and no spread so just wanting Wednesday to be over so we can start the recovery process thanks for your very helpful reply. 10 years that’s fantastic so encouraging to hear that😀

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What stage were you???

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i had a right lower lobe lobectomy in july 2016. I was 46 and never smoked so pretty healthy to start with. Tell him to try to get going as soon as he can after surgery. The physios on the ward will encourage and advise as well but I found getting active with walking was most important thing. Golf may be tricky with swing but even if he can start walking the course soon after but listen to his body and not overdo it! My exercise tolerance has reduced a bit but not massively. I'm back working fulltime and doing hilly walks 3 times a week and swimming. Try not to molly coddle him too much. Best to avoid lifting after but getting walking really important

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Thanks I’m actually a gynae cancer nurse and not liking being on the other side!! As a nurse there will be no molly coddling and he will be up and moving as soon as possible. I have loads of knowledge but it’s all a bit useless when it’s my dad! He’s 77 but really fit and we will get through this just dreading the coming week trying to have a quiet restful weekend before the chaos begins!! Thanks again for the very helpful reply

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I found sleeping in a recliner for several weeks after returning home very helpful. Short, frequent walks helped keep everything moving. His appetite will not be great, so easily digested foods he enjoys will keep him nourished. And finally, pain medications will make moving around much easier. Depending on where the incision is made, he might benefit from gabapentin for nerve pain. Since the upper torso has many nerve endings which they cut during the surgery, he might have strange, tight sensations afterwards.

I hope everything goes well and your dad has a smooth, uneventful recovery.

Jean

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Thanks so much this is really helpful. My dad is so well currently his cancer was an incidental finding just want Wednesday to be over then we can get on with recovery and life.

Thank you again for your reply

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It's amazing how many lung cancers are found by accident. A very lucky accident if the cancer is found early.

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Hi JeanE41 Yep I went to Oldham hospital on 30/12/17 with chest infection which was bad pneumonia. Kept in blood transfusion etc. Was told shadow on left lung is the thing on 02/01/18/.

had lots of scans etc. and appointment with brains this weds to be told treatment plan. Apparently 40 % of diagnoses is found from a unrelated incident. pchad.

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Hi Pchad. Also many of us have no symptoms, so it is very lucky that it is found. Good luck with your treatment. Keep us informed.

Jean

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Hi there York, I wish you and your dad all the best. I had my whole right lung removed back in 2012. I needed a couple of months to get my strength back, but if your dad takes it steady he should be fine. :) x

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Thanks I’ve found everyone’s replies really helpful and such a support thank you

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Hi York, I had left upper lobectomy in December 2010 prior to diagnosis in Jan 2011. I was a regular swimmer and 52, never smoker, full time worker at the time. I hadn't had surgery since I was 4 so had no expectations one way or another but tried to 'normalise' life as much as possible by getting up each day, showering and attempting a short walk to the local postbox (usually takes 5 minutes each way but the first time took an hour with several stops!). Increasing walking developed into a walk around the park near where I live most days for weeks after surgery. It is important to get up and move about (risk of clots following lung surgery) but not overdo it. I think we all fall in this trap of feeling better mentally and then knowing we've overdone it. It can be exhausting but his body will slow him down if he does this. I also tried to stop taking pain medication too soon as I don't like taking any meds but was advised by a nurse to 'not be a hero'. Recovery time will depend whether he has open thoracatomy or VATs/RATS (less invasive so less risk of infection). As I'd overdone my physio and showered each day, my wound started to open up (nobody told me not to shower each day so thought this ok) so had to be 'packed' so didn't return to swimming until next follow up in the March. When the surgeon asked me how my swimming was going, I told him I hadn't gone back due to wound opening experience. He told me it would be painful as the muscles would have shortened (after being cut and lack of exercise) but to return and increase gradually. He explained that the remaining part of the lung would reinflate and could develop in size (its surface would be thinner like a balloon) if I regained my fitness. So I returned to swimming and swam further (980 miles one year, 989 miles the next - 360 x 25m lengths in one session) than I ever did prior to surgery and returned to work and travel. I now know that so few patients have the opportunity of surgery (for all sorts of reasons) and am eternally thankful that I had this best hope of 'curative intent' treatment.

Immediate tips - sleep propped up with pillows, sit propped up with pillows, don't be frightened at the breathlessness post surgery and pain when sneezing/coughing/laughing, this is normal and will improve. Take the painkillers but be aware that many cause constipation that personally I found more painful than the surgery! Wear the surgical socks! Don't be surprised at pain twinges for some time after recovery - nerves are damaged during the surgery and take time to settle down. There is life after surgery! Make the most of life! There is some detailed information on Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation website about 'lung surgery' and what to expect to do/when and explanatory information for the patient and family members. Good luck.

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I am so grateful for your detailed reply Iam hoping to be the most prepared daughter ever and get my dad back to full health at his pace but your experience and knowledge will I’m sure be really helpful to us all. Thanks again

He’s such a great dad and grandad my turn now to take care of him for a bit!!

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Hi I had an upper lobectomy 2015,the most important stuff is to get strong painkillers so that he can keep moving ,a short walk everyday really helped and doing breathing exercises .A short walk can be around the block not far to start with it really is challenging build up gradually .Also make sure your Dad has stuff to help keep his bowels moving otherwise this just causes hugh problems in itself.Tell him it gets easier as time passes everyday small improvements and then you start to pick up and feel better a.Good luck to your Dad .

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Thanks for that really appreciate it. I warned him about his bowels !!!

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Hello York03,

as you can see from the previous responses this is a friendly site where many people who have been on similar journeys are willing to share their experience and give advice. Wishing your dad a speedy recovery and hopefully back on the golf course soon. If you wish to speak with anyone please give us a call on the nurse led helpline freephone 0800 358 7200

kind regards

Roy Castle Helpline

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I had the same surgery Dec of 2017 and I had url and Mrl removed, no pain meds needed, Motrin and night and no problems sleeping, the surgery was a lot less painful then I was told, only thing is the first 3 days after surgery, the chest tubes for drainage, so painful but once they are removed what a relief, the first 3 days try and walk little by little and you will sleep on your back. Good luck and everything will be great

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Hi York. Sorry I live in France & the stage was never mentioned only that they would cure me. Even when a little tumour was found in my other lung, I asked will I die. My lovely consultant did not reply just gave me the look that I was in safe hands & leave it us. I do know that my first one was 5cm & attached to a rib of which a piece was removed but the other was tiny. Only had the op for that one going in through the ribs. For anyone worried about delays in ct scans & biopsies etc it does take a while, for the results to come through.

My operation took from March to September to happen. I went to my GP on Friday & was in hospital on Monday morning Radiotheraphy takes place before op. So with that & all the bike riding hooked up to heart monitors, weird heart X rays & loads of different lung function machines, biopsies cat scans etc it took 6 months. The first words from my surgeon while I was in IT was 'You are fixed' & in English. I had another scare last year when nodules were found on my Thyroid, loads of tests that did not give a 100% clear. So yet again September reared its head once more & another op. The dodgy bit taken out & sent to the lab to see if it was cancer or not, it came back clear so the rest was left in. Surgeon at my bedside when I came to telling me I was ok.

Sorry to waffle on but I feel so blessed to be alive nearly 10 years after first diagnosis. I am so thankful for my Lung specialist, Oncologist & amazing surgeon (he was gorgeous) They were in 3 different hospitals but did conference calls to discuss. Only thing I did not have was a nurse I could talk to. Not really needed as the Docs were all lovely & family & friends. My GP also used to stop by my house to make sure I was coping. It was my poor husband that suffered as he had to cope with my occasional meltdowns. He does not cope with illness very well.

I wish everyone well, keep your chins up & hopefully very soon there will be a cure for everyone & every cancer

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Hello York, I waffled for so long & did not ask how your dear Dad was doing. Hope all is going well & all the advice others have given will help with his recovery. I had forgotten half of the things like constipation!!! The worst thing of all.

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