Most people can relax and recover best at home. It can be daunting going back home, let us know if you are worried.
It is important that you continue with walking and every day activities like washing yourself, dressing and cooking. Build up your fitness gradually with gentle walking, and stair climbing, which are safe and are encouraged.
How much social and emotional support you need is very individual but many people find the support of friends, family and charities to be invaluable. For example, having a cup of tea with someone and talking about your normal shared interests. The provide support groups across the UK.
Support from your family and friends will help you to recover quicker. If you live alone or do not have someone who can give you support, please tell us as soon as possible. You may need some help at home immediately after your operation, we can help organise this.
You may feel quite well after 6 weeks but allow 3-6 months for full recovery. You may also have good days and bad days; it can feel like you are taking forward and backward steps. This is normal.
If you have any problems or questions, or are concerned about any aspect of your recovery then you can either:
- Ring your lung cancer nurse specialist (CNS).
- See your GP or practice nurse.
- Speak to your surgeon next time you attend the outpatient department if you do not mind waiting until then.
- In the first few days after discharge the ward you were discharged from may be able to answer simple questions about things such as wound dressings.
It does you no good to be in pain.
The skin takes 2-4 weeks to heal. You can shower or bath but do not rub or soak the wounds until they are fully healed. Avoid having the water too hot, it may make you feel faint. It is a good idea to have someone else in the home when you shower or bath, just in case you feel unwell. Pat the skin dry gently after washing. Avoid talcum powder and lotions until the wound is healed. After this a plain, unscented moisturiser helps keep skin healthy and supple. Keep the scar protected from the sun for 6 months.
If your wound becomes red, painful or starts discharging fluid, then please contact your GP.
It is normal to have numbness, tingling or a pricking feeling around the wounds and at the front of the chest. This should settle over the coming weeks. If it is problematic or does not improve medication targeting nerve pain may help; your GP should be able to discuss this with you, alternatively discuss this at your follow up appointments.
It may take several weeks for you to settle back into your normal sleeping routine. Taking your painkillers at night can help with any soreness.
If you were fit before your operation, after about six weeks try walking two to three miles a day, aiming for distance rather than speed. Check your posture in the mirror make sure your shoulders are level, nicely relaxed and your back is straight. You should maintain this posture when sitting, standing and walking