Linking you to resources and support in the lung cancer community!

I underwent a VATS procedure 7 wks ago for a totally collapsed left lung due to an aggressive pneumonia. I found this website after looking up vats procedures+pain. I am a generally healthy very active runner. I do not have lung cancer, but several on this site may be experiencing similar pain.'

I have a tightness, almost like a charlie horse left upper chest (surgical side) that hasn't subsided and is a wear out. I have hydrocodone which doesn't seem to make a lot of difference, neither does Ultram.

Mornings are esp so many of you know after surgery.

Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions or treatments that have worked.

I am a nurse, and am very familiar with lung disease and cancer, so to those out there I wish you the best.



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Hi Donna, I haven't had the vats procedure but i did have a the right lung removed totally. I can only assume that the might have cut a nerve or maybe you are just healing and with that comes a lot of movement. You are always moving just breathing so the healing has to keep trying to compete with that. Its only my opinion. I do wish you well on your recovery.


Hi Donna..........I have not had the VATS procedure.  I did have surgery for lung cancer last Nov.  In January I started having the symptoms that you described.  The tightness was so bad it was hard for me to breath.  I don't know your age or any other health issues you have, but mine turned out to be Compression Fractures in my spine due to severe Osteoporosis.  I was hospitalized for 4 days to get my pain managed.  I am still wearing a back brace and am wearing a Fentanyl pain patch along with taking Vicodin.  It is a long recovery but I am getting there.  Thank you for your wishes and I hope you get taken care of!!

Hi Donna

I had a  VATS and a full thoracotomy 18 months later. I know the discomfort you are experiencing. May I suggest starting a gentle yoga class - find one that has an instructor willing to work with you. Yoga has been proven to help respiratory function and I started 3 weeks post-op my second thoracotomy - I really think it helped. Force yourself to take some deep breaths once in awhile and start walking.

I wish you the very best!

Karen (physician, never smoker, 2X lung cancer fighter)


Thanks for that information. I have become discouraged thinking this band/tightness wont ever go away.

I have bronchiectasis, which resulted in the pneumonia and the rest you know. I am a runner and am anxious to get back to living.....Yoga sounds great, will find a class and get on it.

Do you recall how long it was before you got relief from this??? Also, how long did you take pain meds or did you for this?  Lortab takes the edge off, but doesn't relieve it.

I certainly hope you are doing well, sounds like you have been through some tough health issues.

I have had some accupuncture, using moist heating pad, and probably will be using an ice pack prn.

I also went to Pulm rehab, exercise tolerance and stamina is good.....just this pain/discomfort lingering.

Gonna go back to work Monday.....nurse in a PACU, wish me luck!

I wish you the very best,


Hi Donna

I am happy to tell you that I honestly don't remember how long I had the tightness band like feeling! It just faded - does return occasionally with weather changes and stress - just like any old injury. I should add that a year after my second thoracotomy and after a lot of chemo and radiation I started walking marathons. Eleven months after my final chemo/radiation treatment (14 months after my 2nd surgery) my husband and I walked the Phila. marathon in just under 7 hours. We now can walk a marathon in 6 hrs 28 minutes. Just get back to living - you will have occasional issues with breathing and pain - but, hey it is the price of getting older - beats the alternative!

Good luck in PACU - be careful with lifting - accept help - that is always hard for people like us!

God Bless!



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