My mom, age 50, was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and even though we spent many sleepless nights until biopsy results came and confirmed that mom is candidate for surgery, at that point only one lobe of her left lung was removed. She went for three weeks of chemo after the surgery, and even though all of this took its toll on her, she did start to recover. Things were relatively good until her latest follow up. The cancer is not again present in the remaining part of the left lobe, but hasn’t spread to lymph nodes or anywhere else. So now they want to completely remove her left lung and I’m not sure what we can expect her life to look like after that. Will she need oxygen all the time or will she eventually be able to live with one lung?
I’m sure you’ll get much more detailed info on what to expect after the surgery, but if hopefully everything goes well, your mom should be able to breathe on her own after two-three weeks of recovery. This of course can be bit slower or quicker for different people, but what’s the most important thing – people are capable of living with one lung. The remaining lung partially tries to sort of ‘make up’ for the lost part by extending and working more, so generally after some time a person can do normal daily activities. Shortness of breath is something that will happen occasionally, most of the time post-op and during any more demanding activity. Depending on your mom’s immune system, she might be more prone to infections and that’s the most important thing to watch out for.
Wish you and your mom all the best,