How do you handle travel after surgery
I’m a scheduled for surgery on November 7 for lung cancer. I’m either having a wedge resection or possibly a lobectomy. I’m told 2 days in hospital and 2 days at a nearby hotel. I was also told there won’t be an issue flying (I live in NY).
I had a lobectomy in 2020 close to home and it was an extremely painful recovery. I’m so afraid of being unable to come home after surgery. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Hi @daria. That's a very good question. Let me bring in a few fellow lung cancer members to share their experiences with travel after lung surgery, like @ta52 @corgimenow @vic83 @marcia115 @bluelagoon @marshall8318 @stanleykent. I'm sure others will join in as well.
Daria, are you being treated at Mayo Clinic?
Hi Daria, Sorry to hear you had a painful recovery after your lobectomy in 2020. You didn't specify if it was an open chest surgery or a Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery. And what will you do this time? If it is VAT surgery, then that is much easier. I had VAT surgery last December with a wedge resection upper right lobe, and they were ready to let me go after one night, but I stayed two nights as I didn't feel that strong (I was 80 after all!). Then I got in a car and went back home. The second night, I needed oxygen and Mayo arranged for someone to bring a concentrator to my home on New Years' Eve. If you should need oxygen that might be an issue for flying. I only needed it at night for 3 months. I was sore so I was careful moving, and of course they want you to cough but they give you pain killers for that. I stopped pain medications after 5 days. I was driving my car after a week. If you are in Rochester, they are accustomed to dealing with patient needs. The food is good at St. Mary's. Let us know how it goes.
I was the packer and driver after my husband had a lobectomy in June. He stayed at Mayo for 2 nights and then by about 2 the next day we had gotten meds and been discharged. We had a 6 hr drive. I made sure he got out to walk around the car a couple of times on the way home. He was not super uncomfortable but certainly was happy to get to a soft chair and snuggle up with his lung pillow and some blankets. I wish you luck and less pain as you go forward.
I had open chest surgery April 2020 at Mayo in Rochester. I hear VAT is much, much easier. Was your previous surgery VAT or thoracotomy? Like your first surgery, mine was very painful recovery. I was in the hospital 4 days. I had a 4 hour drive home. The car ride home was very uncomfortable and I was very happy to get home. My husband rented an Airbnb in Rochester since it was April 2020 and he couldn’t go in the hospital. It was the same Airbnb I stayed in for 6 weeks for radiation and chemo. I wonder if you are worried about the travel home if you booked an Airbnb for a few extra nights before the flight home? Maybe stay 3 or 4 nights after surgery instead of 2 for peace of mind. Rochester is full of Airbnb’s and the owners are used to accommodating people who are there for treatments, surgery, etc.
I hope this surgery is not as painful as your previous one!
I’m trying to decide if treatment at Mayo is the right choice. Being from Ny I’m concerned with travel after surgery. As far as I know, I won’t have further treatment such as chemo but bay need SBRT for a small ground glass opacity on my opposite lung.
I wish I were snow to drive. I have a 3.5 hr flight to get home,
Thanks so much. We booked the hotel for 3 nights to be on the safe side. I’m sure we can extend the stay if need be.
What’s a lung pillow
I have the Inogen compressor I use for travel….Medicare now covers it as it is pricey. I had to buy my own 6 years ago…caChing but what else to do? I use it for travel. If you are flying you need to clear the machine and batteries with the airline as they want you to have the batteries that will cover 150% of the time you will be in the air and you cannot check them in baggage….on board only. It has been a hassle but at least I can go places when I want.
One deciding factor for me on surgery at Mayo was that they have the pathologist in the surgery room checking margins which you do not get other places.
You definitely need to feel confident and comfortable with your care plan so if you are concerned about the decision maybe message your thoracic surgeon and request a video visit to go over your concerns. Maybe that will help you feel better.