Although surgery remains the most powerful treatment for mesothelioma, recovery can be quite harsh. However, if you know what to expect afterwards, it can help you mentally and physically prepare as much as possible.
Recovery Time After Surgery And What to Expect
Assuming that you already know that you qualify for surgery, it’s important to understand that recovery times after such an aggressive form of treatment will vary from one person to the next. Typically, you can expect recovery time to last anywhere from a month or until up to a year, depending on how your body handles it.
The first day after surgery is usually met with a lot of pain, but you can expect to be given pain medication, along with an oxygen mask to help you with breathing. You’ll more than likely be staying overnight (usually numerous nights) after surgery, but your medical team will devise a pain management plan to assist you while you recover.
Additionally, you’ll probably have several drainage tubes attached to your body to help with fluid drainage, nausea, and pain. A drip is also inserted intravenously to provide you with liquids, but Cancer Research UK states that it will be removed once you can successfully eat and drink again on your own.
After a week or two, if you are recovering successfully, you will be able to go home, but it’s important to continue to rest and avoid any physical activities until you return to the hospital to have your stitches removed.
Once your stitches are removed, typically around the third or fourth week after surgery, slowly work your way into a light exercise regime, but make sure it’s cleared by your physician beforehand. Exercising will help you recover faster and promote better breathing.
Keep in mind, however, that although it’s recommended to get moving and increase your strength, your energy may be low for the next several months after surgery. Keep hydrated as much as possible and avoid any physical activity that’s too strenuous. If you have any pain while doing physical activities, stop right away and contact your physician.
More Post-Surgery Tips
Remember that not only will surgery take a physical toll on your body, but your mental and emotional state may be affected as well. Make certain to surround yourself with an understanding support team. Consider joining a cancer support group during this difficult time, which will help express your emotions around others who are undergoing similar obstacles.
When surgery is combined with other forms of mesothelioma treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, recovery time is generally prolonged.
Additional rest and mental relaxation is recommended in order to have the best recovery times. The American Cancer Society (ACS) states that although some people may be able to resume activities (work, school, etc.) while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, it will greatly depend upon each individual and their own health needs.
If you feel you need to rest while undergoing additional treatments, do so immediately. If you attempt to resume your previous activities too soon, despite how important they may seem, you risk prolonging recovery time even further.
Additional Help for Mesothelioma Patients
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