When Carol Thomas learned she needed surgery to treat her lung cancer, she imagined the surgery would involve major incisions across her chest and a very difficult recovery period. But thanks to minimally invasive robotically assisted surgery, the 50-year old Bowie woman was left with just five two-inch incision scars. Two weeks after surgery she returned to work, and within three months, she was swimming half a mile twice a week and planning her next triathlon.
Carol’s cancer was found just days after she completed a triathlon in North Carolina, and she was surprised at how fast she was able to return to her active lifestyle.
Her thoracic surgeon, Avedis Meneshian, MD, removed the middle and lower lobes of her right lung using a technique in which surgical tools are inserted through small incisions along with a tiny video camera. With the video to guide him, Dr. Meneshian can operate without opening a patient’s chest. Although, it has been proven to improve patient outcomes, only about one third of surgeons in the country who treat lung cancer offer a this Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) approach.
“I am so glad that Dr. Meneshian was able to do that type of surgery for me rather than the old way,” Carol says. “I know it’s made a drastic difference in where I am in my life right now.”
“My friends that I run and bike with bought me a t-shirt that says “lungless,” Carol laughs. “They’re 20 years younger and they’re worried a lungless 50-year-old woman will beat them.”