Pain after VATS lobectomy

I am six weeks after LLL lobectomy VATS, and I am surprised at how much pain I still have. I have tried just using ibuprofen but find I still need oxycontin and/or vicodin for mid left back pain and a weird "nerve" pain on my upper left abdomen tummy area. WHEN can I expect the pain to lessen? I want to enjoy life, drive, and do normal things again. I know, sounds like a pity party.... :-) Thanks!

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url removed oct 08, have faith it will get better some people faster than others, I relied on the pain meds for a good 8 weeks. I too was vats, I am 9 months out and I really am starting to live a normal life again. Mentally and physically it just takes time, prayer, mindfulness and excercise. the pain and weird nerve pain is all things I had. Keep your chin up and know you will live your life again good luck.
vlh

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It does take awhile to recover from it. It took me a good 2 1/2 months where I was not feeling some kind of pain all the time. The numbness/nerve pain does go away in time but that takes a lot longer after the surgery than the pain from the surgery. It does get better, so hang in there. You will get back to normal things again soon.
Maribeth

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Well Teacher,
I had the old fashioned rib spreader, and let me tell ya I cried crocidile tears for a few weeks.

Pain is Pain and if you have it, stay on your meds. Of course you could check with your surgeon to see if he wants to do a scan, but the nerves they cut even with VATS are very painful.

Before my surgery, my hubby told my surgeon he had triple bypass surgery. My surgeon looked at him and said, "Well, the incision you had does not have one tenth the nerves in it that we will need to cut through to remove your wife's tumor."

It is a very painful surgery, so don't rush yourself. I wanted to come down off of the hard stuff too so my doctor gave me an RX for Darvocette. That worked better than Ibuprofin and easier on the stomach.

Say, are you really a school teacher? School's out, have a great summer. You will be in fine shape when the bell rings after Labor Day.
Much Love,
Marylou

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Marylou, thank you for your encouragement. I read your "bio" and am inspired by you, thrilled for your NED, and grateful for the information you posted. Yes, I am a teacher but retiring this year rather than next due to the adventures of breast cancer AND lung cancer. (never even tried a cigarette) It is time to enjoy my grandkids, sweet husband, friends, and thank God each day for a new day. There are lots of great new teachers to take my place. :-) Prayers and hugs,
n

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Hi! On 9/7/05 I had VATS - ULL. Took a while for the pain to subside. It felt at first that the pain would never end - but it did! Yours will too. ( How long is an individual thing.) I got to the point where I was able to alternate the Oxycontin with the Ibuprofen. It took a while though. At first I was apprehensive about alternating the two, but as the healing progressed, I was able to alternate and then just use the Ibuprofen. Take care and know that you're heading toward healing all the time. Blessings! Brooklynda

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Hi, I am 6 months post op LLL (vats), in fact have my 6 month check up in the morning and my nerves are getting the best of me. But it has only been about 1 month since I have finally started feeling somewhat normal and went back to work. Did have few problems after surgery. but didn't think it would last so long. I started pulmanary rehab few weeks ago and that seems to have helped. Also what helped me was laying on the side of my surgery, which my heart doc told me to do 6 weeks ago. He said becuz of that lobe removed, something has to fill up that space and it is better to lay on the side of surgery. In time you will start to feel much better, I made sure I took meds when needed. My surgeon said I didn't need anything stronger than tylenol bout 2 months after so I had my regular doc give me script for pain. My prayers are with you for speedy recovery.

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Yep I am going on 3 years an a month give or take a day .
And Marylou has it right you were in a knife fight an you did not have a knife to fight back .
I went to the doctors the other day for my back Like Marylou said they did that rib split thing on me an I don't know how many nerves they cut.But the doc gave me a shocking thing you put it where your surgery was an turn up the volts. Sounds kinda dumb but it seems to be putting some of my nerves back together.
You might also ask your Doctor about a dose of noratriptyline.
It is a heck of a fight but ya gotta fight back.
You an your family are in my prayers.
Greg

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That is a wired feeling when your plura starts to fill up with fluid.
I don't know but I think unless you have had a complete lung removed you wont have to worry about that.
But shortly after my surgery, I kept hearing this sloshing sound when I rolled over.
For some reason I went to ER an they did a Ex ray and he showed me. Guess like your Doc said ya have have something to take the place of that lung or all your innards would flop over to the left or right side .
God had a plan .
Greg

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Dear TeacherN,

Hang in there -- you will feel better!

I had my VATS lower left lobectomy on 3/27 to remove a tumor. I was, and continue to be seven weeks post op, amazed at the PAIN. I consulted with my surgeon several times b/c I thought I'd be getting OFF Vicodin about now instead of just starting it. I've been on Dilauded and 600mg ibuprofin 3x daily w/ food since my surgery to control the pain. Without the Dilauded I contract w/ pain and go to bed on my heating pad. W/o the Dilauded I can barely move, breathe, eat let alone work. With the meds I walk an hour each morning, cook, back at work part time and feel like I have a life coming back to me. Just today my surgeon referred me to a Kaiser pain clinic to see if they can offer additional treatment. You may want to look into adjunctive treatment. My doc says my pain WILL go away but cannot say WHEN. He also told me that my level of pain is within the "expected pain response".
So, hang in there and breathe.

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I had the old fashioned surgery like Mary Lou and still have pain and discomfort 9 months post op esp. under the right breast/abdomen. I had a few other surgeries and this is a winner by a long shot in the pain and recovery dept. Time, patience, meds as needed. I also recommend massaging the incision/area with vitamin e oil/cream. Walking and stretching also help. Sitting for long periods was torture for me the first few months. And.. how about those bras!! Hated them before but now more than ever!

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Thank you, munker, for the info about your surgery/pain. I think I may never wear a bra again. :-) Our nodules, slow/no growth, and staging seem like parallel stories. Best to you and thank you for all the encouragement you give to so many of us here on this website! n

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teacherN,

As I have posted quite a few times on different sites my husband had vats for upper left lobe on Oct 28, 2008. After having tubes removed he kept showing me a circle of pain in the abdominal area under the breast like munker said. Everytime we went to the Dr for followup he said it was normal and would probably go away in time, certainly lessen. He said some people have some pain always....but at his last checkup (6 months) in April he told the Dr it was finally so much less that he didn't even notice it. It was a long haul. They would not give him anything for pain very long at all. When we went in Feb he said to start taking ibuprofen regularly to get it built up in your system. This Dr was very strict on pain meds...always afraid someone is going to get hooked on vicoden. He asked our regular Dr and he said he would need to go through the surgeon. So...he just pretty much quit taking anything...anyway so when he stopped complaining was about 6 months after. Glad you're getting the answers you need. Sure wish I had read all of this when he was so discouraged and of course thought something was wrong no matter what the Dr said. Hang in! Kathy

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Kathy, thank you! Yup, it is that weird little circle of pain on the abdomen/rib area under the breast. Welllll, at 7 weeks post op, it is sort of under control. I just can't drive yet cuz of the once a day oxycontin. Oh, well, at least I can stand it now! :-) Thank you! n

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I had the old fashioned cut also on 4/24/09.Altho I am doing fairly well with pain,the numbness left on the Rt shoulder where my cut started.I find that I also hurt on the right breast at the same time.If I take extra Stregth tylenol right away and lay down to stop moving on my right side for an hour or more it goes away most of the time.However I had 3 wisdom teeth removed in which I only used Extra Stregth.You probably should use the pain med that works for you but I think the short rest could help.My upper Rt. lobe was removed.I don't know why the front hurts.I was cut from high on the shoulder to Rt mid-side.Pain is so individual.Good luck and I hope it goes soon.Andi B

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Thank you, Andi. I am trying just ibuprofen today and doing ok, but I soooooo need a nap after seeing our little granddaughter. Read a book by the pool and then snooze! Blessings to you.
n

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Yes, the bras! What a pain! I am three months beyond the VATS and still experience slight discomfort in that area! I had to but the next size up and a Bali to figure out how to maintain some comfort while at work!?!
The pain from this procedure did take a long time to go away. I needed to get off the hydrocodone in order to drive myself to my appt. 45 minutes away! So, I toughed it out and eventually with Origins products, ice packs, comfortable blankets and a whole lot of prayers, the pain finally started to ease up. Of course going right into adjuvent chemotherapy helped me forget that pain and brought new issues to bear!
Anyway, time does heal with a whole lot of patience and fortitude.

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hello teacher, was wondering at the beginning how large was your nodule and was it non calcified? thanx
mary

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Not sure about calcified.... It was about 1x1x1.4 cm with spiculated (jagged) edges. It was discovered in Sept 08 on a CT, and I was advised by my breast surgeon to have it removed. I had an inconclusive bronchoscopy and a CT guided needle biopsy that said "atypia." But my lung surgeon and a 2nd opinion surgeon both thought it was benign as it did not grow or change in 6-8 months. But since I needed a hysterectomy due to BRCA gene, the lung surgeon removed it. BAC stage 1a. It was a surprise since it had not grown at all. I have many BC friends who have smooth lung nodules, but their doctors are just watching them with 6 month and 12 month CTs. I guess the spiculated edge was the clue to LC. 'Wish I'd known that BAC often is PET negative, and I'd have had it out last fall. But we really all thought it was benign... I am a never smoker. :-) Was this TMI? :-)

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Hi,
I had the same operation and it took me around six to seven months before the pain stopped. I was on 10 Vicodin a day for three months. Have you asked your DR. to prescribe the Litocayne (spelling?) patches to put on your stomach and incision area? They really helped me when I returned to work at three months. Everything you are feeling is normal. I would ask your DR. for more pain medicine. My surgeon let me have pain medicine for three months. Hope you find pain relief very soon. Linda

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I had VATS of right upper lobe in January and I too was on pain meds for a little longer than I anticipated. I did, however, resume normal activities within 10 weeks. I was an avid exerciser beforehand which made it easier. I lift weights, ride my bike (although winded at times), walk the threadmill. Only thing I cannot do step classes yet, but feel in a few more months I will be able to. I still have some back and under the arm pain. Dr. said that they go through the nerves during a VATS procedure and most pain should go away by 12 months, but in some cases will never go away. Just keep walking daily and stretch. The speeds up recovery. I know at the time the pain seemed unbearable, but soon will be a distant memory. Good luck.

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