Life with one lung? How bad/good is it?

We will find out tomorrow if husband is a candidate for surgery. Don't even know what type of surgery but most likely not VATS or RFA. Just wondering how many "one lung" folks are out there & what life is like afterwards.
Primary tumor showing slight progression, (lymph nodes on opposite side completely resolved, that's why he might be considered for surgery)
If for some reason, they say "no" to surgery-what is the alternative? Doc says more chemo or meds, but then it would just be "treating" & obviously "cure" would no longer be possible.
Would love to hear from "one lungers" out there....and I want the truth.

UPDATE: 02/01/12--Found out he IS a good candidate for Surgery--now to convince him that he should. He is so worried about this, doesn't want to say goodbye to a lung, but it's not a good lung, so........????

Edited February 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm

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My husband had left lung removed one year ago this week, non-VATS. He has been NED ever since. Although we've had a rough time bouncing back from the subsequent chemo, I found the lung removal itself to go smoothly, and to have few, if any, long-lasting effects.

It is major surgery, and the immedite recovery period is tough, but a year out, I do not see any dimished capacity in what what my husband is able to do. He's got neuropathy from the chemo, but his breathing is good and he only experiences shortness of breath when he does something really taxing like a long flight of stairs (but a long flight of stairs caused him shortness of breath before the surgery, so I can't really attribute it to surgery.)

I hope your husband is a candidate for surgery. You'll be in my thoughts, tomorrow. It is very uplifting to know that the cancer is removed/ out of there. One-lungers might not be able to run marathons, but as far as everyday activites, we've found one lung to be more than adequate.

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HARCIR-Thanks for your reply & the truthful info. Hope your husband continues to do very well! Thanks for the thoughts-

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I'm sorry I have no experience with surgery but I'd like to offer my support and well wishes. : )

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My husband had his left lung removed 2 years ago this coming May at the age of 63. Unfortunatly they found 3 tumors in his right lung 3 1/2 months later. Had chemo and is doing very well. Recovery from surgery was pretty easy for him (traditional surgery). He was going up the stairs to bed the 2nd day home(7 days in hospital). He does pretty much everything he did before but in moderation.
From all I have read here I think recovery is easier with whole lung removal (just my opinion). Usually no tubes to drain like there is with just a lobe. Don't get me wrong, it is major surgery and everyone is different. My husband was one of the lucky ones.
Best of luck.

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Hi
I had a lung removed in may of 2006.
You know I have to agree with most people.
The surgery was bad but with the epidural, shoot ya just lay there an be happy.
Of course when they took it out I told them please put that back..
An I hope they remove the whole lung less chance of spreading to the other lobes.
In six weeks I was walking a mile.
Every day I would go just a little further next thing I was walking two miles.

THEN THEY DID PREVENTIVE CHEMO.
Every one does things different and things turn out different but Chemo sucks and if it is for preventive measure .
Well it does prevent you from having a normal life.
But that's me.
You have to do a lot of soul searching And a lot of praying.
I cant run marathons but I am 70 years old so my brain says run but my body says to heck with you I aint doing that.
Do the surgery .
Dont do the chemo if ya can get out of it.
God bless you and your family.
Greg

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Greg-Thank You for your response & the humor! God Bless You-70 yrs old & goin' strong! Hats off to you!
Best of Luck-

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JE1964-Thanks for your reply! Continued Best of Luck to your husband! I really appreciate the info-it helps alot!

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muchcamom-Thanks so much for the well-wishes, my friend!

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Hi, I had NSCLC in my left lung and it was removed on 12/17/09. I have been cancer free for 2 years now, not on oxygen either. First I was evaluated by the pulmonologist he did a bronchoscopy which determined the type of cancer and a PET Scan. Then before I had any treatments I had an evaluation by my oncologist, needed a port. Saw a surgeon, had that arranged, got a sinus infection so surgery is postponed a week. I started radiation and chemo to shrink the tumors. The tumors were the size of two large dandelions connected together, I could see the shape on the screen above me when I got the raadiation treatments. How do I know this I asked the radiation tech ! The last 3 days of my radiation I saw the size of the tumors were the size of a large lima bean. I had to wait a few weeks before I had the mylobectomy because of scar tssue. I had breathing test to see if I was still a good candidate for the surgery. Four days after the surgery I was sent home, no visitors due to the H1N1 flu going around. I did not have the shot for that but I did have the pneumonia shot. I use the breathing instrument they gave me in the hospital yet today and register 98 in my doctors office. At home I noticed how weak my body and my voice was. I wouldn't let my husband leave the room while I was awake or go anywhere till he said we needed groceries. As time went by I got stronger. I slept alot, it helped me heal. I still need to go for follow ups. Still breathing on my own no oxygen. I feel bad for my friends who have COPD, that is worse than what I had.

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I had a bilobectomy a year and a half ago so I have one and a third lung left and do ok with it.I work part time,walk and play a little golf.It takes a long time to adjust to the soreness from surgery but its not to bad.I did do preventitive chemo and radiation afterward
and that only caught up with me on the final treatment.(chemo that is)
You guys look in good shape so you'll be fine.
good luck

Jay

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My entire right lung was removed in Jan. 2002, I am now 10 years NED. I had no chemo or radiation as they did all sorts of biopsies and tests after the surgery and found nothing.
Now bout living with 1 lung.....first 3 years was fine, I continued to work as an Engineer and as time went on it started to get a little harder to walk to all the meetings, and travel to all the sites. So after 3 years my home boss and work boss convinced me to 'retire'.
I retired and physically have slowed down some....steps and inlines are still difficult but manageable.
I hope your hubby gets the surgery and that it will work for him.

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Bm,

Give Karen a nudge, she only has one lung. Peyz sumthin, sumthin. I can tell you it hasn't inhibited her ability to talk & talk & talk.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

G

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My husband has one lung all together now. He had the RUL removed Jan 2011 and the LLL removed March 2011. Previous to the surgery he had 6 cycles of chemo. We did chemo first as the first surgeon said surgery was a no go because there was a positive lymph node. Did chemo was going to radiation next when that doc sent us back to a different surgeon who said he could take out the tumors in each lung. First surgery was a thoracotomy-startedwith VATS but because it ended up more complicated. 5 days in and up and walking the second day. He did have an epidural for pain control and it was great. He also was on oxycodone for pain control when we came home. Make sure you take the stool softeners they give you as the pain meds can be very constipating and you don't want to be straining after surgery. Found sleeping with a pillow on his side and slightly elevating the head of the bed helped-just a little half inch block under each side at the top helped him rest better at night.
Second surgery a little more complicated because of tumor location and then he had a tear in the lung, which they had to go in and repair. 3 week stay the second time.They took lymph nodes out in both surgeries. Up and walking almost every day in the hospital. Walked everyday when we returned home. A year later, and NED, his energy and breathing continues to get better and better as a matter of fact he just walked in from the gym.. As he says I'm not doing bad for a one lung man! As the doc said you probably won't run a marathon after this, but you weren't planning on running one anyway.
I hope all goes well for both you. Also don't forget to rest and take of yourself it is a long haul. Best Wishes
Tracy

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My left lung was removed September 2010 and I had chemo as a precaution. To tell you the truth the Chemo was harder on me than the surgery to remove my lung. I am one year and four months from surgery to remove my lung and one year past the end of chemo.

I work full time and live a normal life for the most part, I just have to pace myself.

God Bless and Good Luck, let us know how it goes.

Teresa

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I wish that I could THANK EACH of YOU PERSONALLY for all of your help, replies, info, good ideas & support! You folks are what make Inspire so important to me. I will check back & update when we find out.
Again--Thank You ALL so much.

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Hi Left lung removed almost 4 years ago........Best outcome as my tumor was the size of an orange. Cant run a mile but so happy to have cancer outa my body. Surgery was not as bad as it seems. Am a personal trainer, work out every day, and honestly u can survive and have a productive life. My best ..K

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I had 2 lobes of myleft lung (a pneumonectomy) removed on the 19th of January and yesterday I walked 6 miles in just over 3 hours. I also live alone and do't know anyone around my community (I am new), so I di not get any help at home post op. I also found I really did not need help because I was determined enough to do everything I needed to do. Yes, it did hurt, and I was a bit short of breath, but my chances of survival are way better than radiation and chemo alone. Chemo only kills the new cells, but extensive surgery takes out cancer. I can't say I was smooth sailing. I did get an infection, I hemorraged, my right lungs collapsed, and my chest filled up with blood and I coded post op two days later. I am going to get better everyday. This weekend I will be 49. I have the lung function of someone twice that age. And not a smoker, either, just really unlucky. But in the end, its the thing to discuss whats your best option with your oncologist. And then you choose......

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My father had a lung removed in 1975 and lived 18 years with one lung, unfortunately a different kind of cancer came in the other lung and he died in 1992.

I just had a right upper lobectomy Dec 5, 2011 and I had it done vats. There was no too much pain. When I came home from the hospital I took tylenol for the pain and am doing pretty good. It has been 8 weeks now. I take it one day at a time, do what I can tolerate and I feel pretty good.

You too, will do alright. Remember that God is bigger than all this and he will take care of you and see you through. If I can help or support in any way, do not hesitate to ask.

God Bless and good luck,
Cathy

Keep us posted.

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they was going to take my top left lobe out with 2.5cmm tumer and lymp nod same side .they say thay cant do surgry cuz i have a lymp node in the center of my chest they cant take out and dont wont to do surgy on the lung and leave cancer in there so chemo and radg.is it i guess anyone know about this/

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I'm sorry Penny. Keep your hopes up. Targeted therapy is getting better and better these days. Better chemos, more accurate radiation. Don't lose hope. There's more than one road to get to the same place!!!

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