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The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Pain following Lobectomy

Hi, I have recently had a left upper lobectomy. I just wanted to know how long I will have the pain. Painkillers keep pain at bay most of the time, but at night I get really sore. Also I have low blood pressure, which is making me really lightheaded and dizzy, is this usual. Thanks.

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Dear Kenzie,

Everyone varies as each of us have different pain thresholds.The nerve endings at the wound site and the underlying tissues get swollen and can cause some discomfort. You should speak to your GP re the night time pain.In particular it is good if you can give your GP as much info as possible,for example: exactly where is the pain;how long have you had it;the intensity on a 0-10 score; can you describe the pain,for example,shooting,stabbing ;does anything make it worse,does it affect your sleep? You haven't said what painkillers you are taking.You should discuss your lightheartedness with your GP.

It is not clear from your post if you have had low blood pressure before your operation.Some medications can cause low blood pressure.Also, a blood test might be needed to check if you are anaemic,this can also cause lightheartedness.In any case best discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

Kind regards,

All the team at the Roy Castle Helpline

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Hi Kenzie, well done on the surgery - not many patients are lucky enough to have that option. The pain and soreness will pass - how are you sleeping? In what position? I found it easier to sleep propped up with pillows (I had an open thoracotomy in Dec 2010 for left upper lobe - very little keyhole surgery was done then.) I came off painkillers too quickly fearing addiction and also not liking the constipation experience but the nurse said this was the wrong thing to do. She told me to take two different families of painkillers - i.e. paracetamol for quicker pain relief and the stronger ones that need to stay in your blood system and are not instant in their relief for them to work. Pain could last a few weeks but you will get through it. There is some really plain information on Roy Castle website under 'how we help,' 'information', 'lung cancer treatments' 'surgery' 'my lung surgery booklet with suggested milestones and clear explanations about what you are likely to experience. good luck with your recovery.

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Hi, thank you for getting back to me, yes I sleep on my back propped up with pillows. I was like you I started to reduce pain meds to my cost, so I am still on MST morning and night, Gabapentin and paracetamol x3 daily. I seem to be not to bad during the day but then at night I get really sore. I also have postural hypotension which is a nightmare, as I'm constantly dizzy. I would be great if I didn't have that x

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Did you have op by vats or full op. I only stayed in morphine for 4 days after that i didnt have anything my choice. I did have back pain for quite a while but i used hot water bottle at night in a cover and tried to lay in it for my back. The pain will eventually disappear. I did plenty exercises so i think that helped. Hope you will soon be out of pain

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Hi, gosh you were lucky, I tried coming off meds, but I was in terrible pain, so had to restart them. Hopefully it will get better soon, thank you for replying to me x

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This message dont seem to like the word on and will insist on putting in lol

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I was in pain and they kept trying to make me take them but i have irritable bowel and they was causing constipation which i just cant put up with, so i refused them especially after having an anenima. I just didnt want to get constipated again..

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Hi, I hope your pain is lessening by now. I stayed on all the painkillers. After one month the pain had gone but then a new pain started which was worrying to me. Luckily I had the appointment for my results around that time. He told me that the new sharp pain was the nerve endings growing back. That was very reassuring! Duration of pain seems to vary a lot. I read lots of different things before my operation which had me concerned but in reality I'm most impressed with the recovery time.

All the best!

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Hi, thanks for replying to me, it's been 3 weeks now, and pain is the same, I know a lot of it is nerve pain. Will be glad when I can get back to normal, but I will just have to be patient ☺️

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