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Could VATS really be that bad? Non-horrible stories?
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Catherine Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:09 am    Post subject: Discharged 3 days after op
 
I've had two 100 percent pneumothoraces in the last three months. I'm female, 51 years old with no previous history. I walked around with the first one for 10 weeks thinking I had a rib injury which had caused the breathlessness. I was riding and playing tennis and wondering why my breathing wasn't recovering. It was a shock to see my right lung so completely deflated. I had a chest drain and responded well. I thought that was the end of the story but unfortunately it recurred 4 weeks later. Because both collapses had been so complete they didn't want to risk me leaving the hospital without the surgery so i had a very boring 8 days with a small chest drain waiting for an operating slot

4 days ago I had a VATs pleurectomy with a partial pleurodesis. One incision for the chest drain and, I think, a smaller one, but I can't really feel that. I did not find this too bad. It may be hugely dependent on your surgeon and the kind of anaesthesia and pain management. I was advised to have an epidural which they planned to keep in until the chest drain was removed. This means that you have more tubes - catheter etc - for the first part but absolutely no pain. I came off the epidural after 24 hours as I was doing well. Switched to self-administered pain button which was effective but unfortunately made me sick even though I didn't used it much according the consultant. I switched to Oxycodon which meant that most of the tubes could come out apart from the drain and I could move out of ICU in to the ward. Night 3 on the ward was the worst as the pain from the drain was intense and the nurse not very proactive at giving me the drug. At this point I really regretted doing the surgery - I was imagining that it was all a terrible mistake and that this would be my life from now on. Normal in the circumstances. However, I had the chest drain removed in the morning and I'm now at home 3 days after the operation. I forgot to take any pain killers last night and slept fine.


I would say the pain once the drain is out is very manageable as it's more like bruising and stiffness in my ribs where the drain was. I can walk around, up and down stairs with no weakness or breathessness.

I do wonder whether it's a a lot to do with the skill of the surgeon. I was at Hammersmith Hospital which has one of the leading cardio-thoracic teams in the country. I have private health care but chose to do this on the NHS as I would have chosen the same surgeon in either circumstance. I was advised that the after-care was better on the NHS as the nurses are specialists in this area. Of course, I missed out on the private room but really the wards were very comfortable.

Please feel free to pm me as most of the stories on here are frightening and I wanted to offer a different perspective for those considering doing this surgery.

Catherine
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swede Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:05 pm    Post subject:
 
Thanks for your story Catherine, and congratulations the surgery went so well and you now have it all behind you!
I envy you, big time Wink

Cool that epidural can be so powerful, but for some reason it's not enough for everyone it seems.

Did they just do two holes into your body, a 2-port VATS pleurectomy?
Advanced hospital then I guess, since almost all others, even big and real advanced ones, like to tear up 3 holes to maximise the probability of us getting horrible nervedamages Twisted Evil
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Catherine Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:02 am    Post subject:
 
Hello Swede

Yes I had a two port VATS pleurectomy. I do have numbness from my armpit across to my sternum and down to the 6th rib where the incision for the chest drain is. However, this is easing every day. My skin felt hyper-sensitive too but that is improving.

As for pain, I do think it's very dependent on the individual and I understand that some people have more pain receptors than others. I've always had a high pain threshold. I've also done many years of meditation which helps me attribute any sensation to the healing process rather than something going wrong. Anxiety is a killer.

I'm finding acupuncture supportive and I also do a method of neuro-muscular re-education called Feldenkrais which is fantastic for restoring lost function (needed for recovering suppleness in the ribs and intercostals).

Having said all that, I'm a strong believer that if you can avoid surgery then do. There's no doubt in my mind that it's traumatic on all levels - physicallly, emotionally and psychologically.
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farahat80 Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:06 pm    Post subject:
 
I had may VATS surgery on the left lung after my first diagnosed collapse 70% on Sept 2013, The only pain i felt was the couple of hours after the surgery and the first night, starting the next day pain was not that bad, and it happen with movements and not being able to sleep on my side as i always do, i stopped taking any pain killers from the second day although they gave me morphine to use when needed, but i didn't as the pain was not that intense, after 5 days in hospital they pulled the chest tube they put during the surgery, and i was waiting for that moment as i heard horrible stories about this, but honestly, this was 5 seconds of pain, and its gone before your mind realize whats going on.

The real advice i would say to anyone going to this surgery, which doctors don't tell you about is that you will take some time to feel yourself again, i was left without any info of post-surgery period, and had to go experience everything on my own, my pain was mainly physiological rather than physical.


so i will try to summarize what to expect for some time after surgery
-Numbness on your operated side will take almost 2 weeks
-Nagging and pins pain on the site of entry will take sometime
-you will feel tired for sometime - be patient and don't panic
-nerve pain is not very bad - its more uncomfortable feeling and a sense of tense muscles, this is the longest thing, BUT it will go gradually over time, i can barely have it lately
-don't stress about anything, for me i was very stressed over any kind of sensation and freak that it collapsed again.

its been 2 years now and everything is good on my left lung and i have been living normally for the last 2 years

unfortunately it seems now is the time for my right lung, which is currently 20% collapsed, advised to leave it to heal, but anyway i have blebs there and if i am given the option to go for a right side VAT i will go for it, i will be more prepared this time, i know its not that horrible and i know what to expect and how long its going to take.

Finally, if you really given the option for surgery go for it, its worse it.[/list]
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swede Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:46 pm    Post subject:
 
farahat80 wrote:
I had may VATS surgery on the left lung...

Thanks for your story, we all need more like these Smile
Please update if you do it on the other side later on, to compare the two.

Do you know how many ports they made into your body?
Like 1, 2, 3, or 4?
Did they perform abration or pleurectomy?
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farahat80 Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:26 am    Post subject:
 
Hi Swede,
I really dont understand what a port is Smile, if that is counted by holes they did in me then i had one hole that they used to enter with this Thoracosope, the other one had a chest tube

What i understood that the surgeon removed the bleb that burst, and stapled the others that didnt, then they sprayed this Talc on it, its been almost 3 years now, all the nerve pains and scare tissue things are almost gone.

My current right lung collapse is very small, may be 15% or less , the doctor dont want to do anything about it not even needle aspiration, although its annoying me for 2 months now but he say since i am functioning normally, dont have any breathing problem so we should give it more time to absorb on its own since its stable and not getting worse as the xrays show, so i am waiting Confused , to be honest if it didnt go completely for another month i will go for a surgery and get this over with
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swede Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:59 pm    Post subject:
 
farahat80 wrote:
Hi Swede,
I really dont understand what a port is Smile, if that is counted by holes they did in me then i had one hole that they used to enter with this Thoracosope, the other one had a chest tube

What i understood that the surgeon removed the bleb that burst, and stapled the others that didnt, then they sprayed this Talc on it, its been almost 3 years now, all the nerve pains and scare tissue things are almost gone.

My current right lung collapse is very small, may be 15% or less , the doctor dont want to do anything about it not even needle aspiration, although its annoying me for 2 months now but he say since i am functioning normally, dont have any breathing problem so we should give it more time to absorb on its own since its stable and not getting worse as the xrays show, so i am waiting Confused , to be honest if it didnt go completely for another month i will go for a surgery and get this over with

Yeah the number of holes they make.
Lucky ones in this thread who get 2-port surgery.
Sadly in Sweden where I live there are still only 3-port options :/

Good luck with the current smaller pneumo Smile
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Catherine Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject:
 
The surgeon who operated on me does two ports for a pleurectomy/partial abrasion and one port for a talc pleurodesis. Maybe you should move to the UK Swede!!
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Anonymous Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:24 am    Post subject:
 
It is good to see such post. I don't like negative character and horrible picture
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swede Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:26 pm    Post subject:
 
Catherine wrote:
The surgeon who operated on me does two ports for a pleurectomy/partial abrasion and one port for a talc pleurodesis. Maybe you should move to the UK Swede!!

Yeah, or you could bring your hospitals over here Wink
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itzjoolz Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:36 pm    Post subject:
 
Im in the UK and had bullectomy and pleurectomy on both lungs at the same time. I got 3 holes each side. plus previous holes from chest drains, feeling rather like a colander Wink
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Stilton Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:58 am    Post subject:
 
VATS is the -only- thing that worked for me in the end..


I got sent from my local hospital to the closest Cardio-thoracic-centre (chest specialists i guess?)

Doctors had already tried aspiration with needles and chest drains.

When i got to the CTC, they tried bigger chest drains.. and some kind of antibiotic? or glue? that they tried to use to glue my lungs to my back i assume...

Considering the VATS was an actual 'permanent' solution.. I'm so glad they used it.

What are these 'horror stories' you speak of.. ?


Because i had, what i assume is/was, nerve damage on my ribs and a lot of scars but like the man said...
horrific post-op pain, when they turned off my morphine the rib pain was something i've never experienced nor would want to again.

Still, like the man said: ...Pain heals, chicks dig scars and breathing is underrated.


..oh no wait scratch the last bit it should be 'glory never fades' - still mine seems more appropriate for this audience Laughing
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