Pain after robotic assisted lobectomy: How long does it last?

Posted by pat3017a @pat3017a, Nov 27, 2021

I had a robotic assisted lobectomy about 5 weeks ago and still experiencing pain. Seems like there has been very little improvement in past couple of weeks although incisions look great. The pain is mostly when I am moving and at night when trying to get comfortable in bed. Just wondering how long others had pain after this type of surgery? I feel bad even asking this as so many people have went through so much more in their cancer journey than I have. I know I should feel fortunate.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Lung Cancer group.

Hi @pat3017a, welcome to the Lung Cancer group. Five weeks after a major surgery like a lobectomy. Allow me to tag others like @merpreb @stanleykent @redman4466 @marshall8318 who have also had a lobectomy for lung cancer to share their recovery experiences.

Pat, may I ask, what type of lung cancer do you have? What are you taking to help you manage the pain?

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Hi Colleen,

Thanks for your reply. I have NSCLC, stage 1A. I was fortunate it was caught before I had any symptoms.

I know it has only been 5 weeks, just seems I was really doing well in my recovery the first few weeks and now, very little difference in the pain level the last couple weeks.

Always great to hear others experiences.

Thank you,
Patti

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@colleenyoung

Hi @pat3017a, welcome to the Lung Cancer group. Five weeks after a major surgery like a lobectomy. Allow me to tag others like @merpreb @stanleykent @redman4466 @marshall8318 who have also had a lobectomy for lung cancer to share their recovery experiences.

Pat, may I ask, what type of lung cancer do you have? What are you taking to help you manage the pain?

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Colleen-

I forgot to add that presently I am just taking Tylenol as I ran out of the prescription pain medication a week or so ago.

Patti

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Hi Patti:

I had open chest lobectomy in April of 2020. I remember feeling discouraged around 5 or 6 weeks from surgery as I had hoped I would be feeling better than I did. For some reason I thought I would be back to my old self in 5 or 6 weeks and when I wasn’t I got discouraged. I could not sleep laying down and slept in a recliner for several months. You will slowly keep recovering. I did the physical therapy they had me start at the hospital faithfully everyday but when my primary doctor recommended I try going to a physical therapist that made a huge difference for me. If you are not going to one I highly recommend it. It helped me a lot. Be patient with yourself. You will keep improving, your body just needs a little more time. I’m so happy to hear they caught your cancer early! That is good news 😊

Take care,
Juliette

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Hi Juliette-
Thanks for your response. I am so used to being so active and get frustrated when I am not up to doing something. Just have to be more patient. I wasn’t given any exercises to do when I left hospital but I do walk daily. I am going to ask about PT.

I hope you are doing well.

Thanks,
Patti

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Patti @pat3017a

Sounds like me. I was doing group training 4 times a week prior to my diagnosis and even worked out all through chemo and radiation. I ran 2 miles the day before surgery. I had never had a major surgery before and thought when the doctor said 4-6 week recovery that meant back to normal 😂 That is great your walking daily, so important. PT helped my range of motion in my shoulder and upper back pain. Hope it helps you too.

Reach out anytime, I’ll be thinking of you.

Juliette

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Thanks so much!

Hope you have a good day!

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@pat3017a

Hi Juliette-
Thanks for your response. I am so used to being so active and get frustrated when I am not up to doing something. Just have to be more patient. I wasn’t given any exercises to do when I left hospital but I do walk daily. I am going to ask about PT.

I hope you are doing well.

Thanks,
Patti

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Patti, My lobectomy was the upper right and was a Video assisted (VATS) procedure and you said your surgery was robotic. With respect to trauma to the body and recovery, I do not know if one procedure differs from the other. And also wonder if one particular lobe removed is more or less traumatic than another. I do know that one of my three incisions was much larger than the other two and hurt for a much longer period of time. I did have a shallow cough for a couple months and coughing hurts. But overall, recovery and pain is a slow and gradual process. I don't believe I will ever be my old self. This is my new normal. After two years I still have a tiny bit of chest discomfort when taking in a real deep breath and the nerves around the incisions are still tingling and a bit oversensitive. (But those now are totally overshadowed by the surgery I had on Monday. )
I do think I should have exercised more and kept my heart in shape. After a year, I seemed to be short of breath. And yes, I had less lung capacity, but cardiac testing showed my heart was fine but was in need of a better exercise routine. Hope this helps and best wishes to your continued recovery. . Thanks

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@stanleykent

Patti, My lobectomy was the upper right and was a Video assisted (VATS) procedure and you said your surgery was robotic. With respect to trauma to the body and recovery, I do not know if one procedure differs from the other. And also wonder if one particular lobe removed is more or less traumatic than another. I do know that one of my three incisions was much larger than the other two and hurt for a much longer period of time. I did have a shallow cough for a couple months and coughing hurts. But overall, recovery and pain is a slow and gradual process. I don't believe I will ever be my old self. This is my new normal. After two years I still have a tiny bit of chest discomfort when taking in a real deep breath and the nerves around the incisions are still tingling and a bit oversensitive. (But those now are totally overshadowed by the surgery I had on Monday. )
I do think I should have exercised more and kept my heart in shape. After a year, I seemed to be short of breath. And yes, I had less lung capacity, but cardiac testing showed my heart was fine but was in need of a better exercise routine. Hope this helps and best wishes to your continued recovery. . Thanks

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Thanks so much for your reply. I definitely am trying to get exercise in, mostly walking at this point. To date, I haven’t felt shortness of breath but I really haven’t done much other than walk yet. So will know better about that once I get back to other activity that is more strenuous. Just going to try to be more patient with the pain as it really has only been 5 weeks. I am returning to work tomorrow (office job) so maybe, that will help keep my focus on something else.

Not sure what surgery you just had but wishing you a good recovery.

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Ask your surgeon.

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I had a robotic assisted lobe to my in September of 2019, it still causes me discomfort just below the left side of my rib cage from the removal of the chest tube…

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@charle1945

I had a robotic assisted lobe to my in September of 2019, it still causes me discomfort just below the left side of my rib cage from the removal of the chest tube…

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Wow, that is a long while to still have pain. I am hoping this will fade over time.

Have a good day!

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