Thursday, January 17, 2013

driving after lung cancer surgery

Driving and independence are intertwined in American culture. Volkswagen’s “fahrvergnügen” (driving pleasure) ad campaigns epitomized that twenty years ago.

Sooo a year after diagnosis of Stage 1 lung cancer, why does it not surprise me that this may be the most frequently asked question about recovery from surgery.

For me it was always about the damn shoulder harness on my seat belt vs my rib cage  In a passenger seat it was less painful because the shoulder harness crosses away from my surgery on the left upper lobe. Sitting in the driver’s seat – whoa nelly!!  

In the passenger seat I built a nest of pillows to reduce the jostling; however one cannot exactly drive safely with a pillow between your chest and seat belt.

faux down vest protecting ribs from shoulder harness of seat belt
Remembering that athletes compete after rib injuries wearing flak jackets I tried using my faux down vest. … In two weeks I was soloing with the vest.

Eat your heart out Volkswagen driving in my personal  “Fahrvergnügen für Überlebende” (driving pleasure for survivors) vest trumps any old merchandise you got! :)

Your surgeon will suggest how soon you specifically should be driving as each surgery is a little bit different. FYI, my surgery is detailed above in my lung cancer timeline.

Also for the rest of us out there on the roads, duh! if you are still taking narcotics for pain after surgery maybe you should wait ‘before operating dangerous machines’.

related: recovering from lung cancer surgery

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

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