Refrigerate, I hope your surgery will go/went well. You were my target audience when I decided to post on this site. After my surgery, everything I read was so discouraging. I was in pain and the internet only left me feeling hopeless. I am a "glass 1/2 full" person, but after hours of reading and re-reading about the after effects of a thoracotomy, I was beginning to think my life would be worth very little post surgery. To date, I am 10 months post surgery. I currently see a pain management specialist who combines nerve injections (periodically) with 600 mg daily of Grilease. This is the time released gabapentin. I live a very normal life now. I do have pain everyday, but it is minimal. It is not debilitating nor does it stop me from doing the things I want to do. I know my limitations and respect them. I am weaker on my surgery side and have a diminished range of motion in my right shoulder (I'm probably at about 85%). Damp weather seems to increase the pain and like I mentioned earlier, I personally notice a difference when I consume caffeine or sugar. I work full time in a children's hospital, workout 3 times a week, am active in my church (never doubt the power of hundreds of prayers on your behalf), and spend numerous hours running and playing with my 3 year old grandson. I travel and enjoy all the things I enjoyed before my surgery. I may take things a little slower and tire a little more easily, but I'm okay with that. I'm alive and healthy! The first 3 months are definitely the hardest and you will have days that you want to give up. Just remind yourself that it will get better and there will be really bad times, before the good days start coming. It seemed like each new week brought some new pain for at least the first 8 weeks. It was around the 9th week that I realized I was going to be okay. One of the physicians I work with had been through the surgery 10 years before and was a huge encouragement to me. She also sees a pain management specialist and is doing remarkably well. Like I said previously, I think there are a lot of success stories out there, but it's very easy to forget these boards if you are able to return to a normal or close to normal life. Please let me know how you're doing. If you would like to email me and ask specific questions or would just like some encouragement/suggestions, just let me know and I'll give you my email address. I wish you the best!View Thread
I would never want to minimize anyone's pain and I did not mean to imply that. I know people who are living with chronic pain, so I try hard not to complain about anything I've been through. My wish was to offer some hope to those like myself. People having this surgery for whatever reason. Like I stated previously, I craved information, some kind of timeline for healing. I know now that I may have this nerve pain for a year or more. I know that Neurontin for me is a good option. I know when I have caffeine or sugar I feel like those nerves are on fire. I'm thankful it's not worse than that. I guess I just want someone to be able to google thoracotomy and not read all the terrifying things I read. Sometimes I think there are good endings, but because people feel better, they never return to a message board to tell their success story.View Thread
I had a thoracotomy almost 4 months ago to remove a mass on my esophagus. I am taking 300 mg of Neurontin 4 times a day. I have found by cutting out caffeine and refined sugar, my pain is reduced to mostly discomfort. I also seem to do better when I drink more water. I still have a significant amount of numbness and shooting pain, but nothing like I had after surgery. I remember thinking even at 8 weeks post op, I would never get my life back. I was off work for 3 months. I've been back at work full time (working in a children's hospital) for 3 weeks now. Other than being extremely tired at night, I've been able to resume my normal activities. I plan to run/walk a 5K in 3 weeks. It may be a lofty goal, but I'm going to give it my best try. I was told it would take my body a year to fully recover, and I absolutely believe that. My lung still feels "strange", my back aches at the incision site and I have that tightness at the bottom of my ribs from the chest tube. While I may never be pain free, I'm so much farther than I was before all this started and miles from where I was weeks post surgery. I craved information about this surgery and recovery. I searched the internet on the many nights I couldn't sleep due to the pain. Everything I read was so discouraging. I think it's important to get the good stories out there along with the unfortunately no so good stories. While I would never minimalize someone's pain, (I've been there) I would like to give hope to those either preparing for this surgery or just recovering that in some cases, you can get your life back.View Thread
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