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A question about the catheter and its removal

Green Lantern
Posts: 11
Joined: Dec 2008

Hello.

I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer two days before Thanksgiving, 2008.

My Gleason score is 3+3 (6), my PSA is 3.3, and cancer was found in 3 of my 12 biopsy samples (5%, 5% and 10%). I am 55, and in good health (all things considered). I have opted for a robotic prostatectomy.

I would like to know about the catheter that they put in you.

How difficult is it to move around with the catheter? How easy is it to lie down and get up? How painful/uncomfortable is it when you are sitting down, or walking, or bending down to pick up something from the floor? How difficult/awkward is it to have the collection bag tied to your leg? How painful is it when they pull the catheter out?

Thanks for your experiences and insights.

Here's wishing us all a Happy New Year!

acslife
Posts: 12
Joined: Dec 2008

I too was diagnosed and had similar surgery at 55, in 2007. PSA 2.9. This is the best treatment in my opinion. Ironically, my test results were similar as well. I am fine. No more cancer. My doctor was Dr. Scott Miller at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. A geniuis.
- Mobility was not the best, but not the worse either. You could actually go shopping if you wish, but prudence should be excercised.
- Getting down and lying down is challenging as you will need to secure the bag properly as you get positioned. Try limiting movements. I took short daily walks as a diversion, with no discomforts. Keeping the bag well secured was challenging for the straps were not well designed.
- Take the prescribed medications to avoid pain and do not wait for pain to step in for it will take awhile to subside. Most of my discomfort was the last three days as my body seemed to want to reject the foreign object. Uncomfortable, yes, painful a bit at times.
- Extraction is a piece of cake. No pain whatsoever. You'll feel liberated.
In summary, it is not the best situation, but can be managed.
Best of luck.

tpelle
Posts: 154
Joined: Aug 2003

Your questions, my answers --

How difficult is it to move around with the catheter? Not at all difficult in my case. The catheter was in for 21 days.

How easy is it to lie down and get up? Almost as if there was no catheter in place.

How painful/uncomfortable is it when you are sitting down, or walking, or bending down to pick up something from the floor? Not painful or uncomfortable. If you're in a recliner, be sure the leg bag is lower than the penis to keep the urine flowing.

How difficult/awkward is it to have the collection bag tied to your leg? Somewhat awkward, but quite manageable. The night bag drain port was not properly closed one night and a bit of urine leaked onto the liquid-proof floor pad. Thereafter, I kept the night bag in the hospital-provided plastic pan.

How painful is it when they pull the catheter out? After sitting on the exam table, the nurse said "lay back". Before I got settled on my back, she said "the catheter is out"; no pain whatsoever. Per the nurse's earlier instructions, I had taken a vicodin and tranquilizer an hour or so before the catheter removal appointment.

The only pain worth mentioning -- During the third week of the catheter I did experience bladder spasms for about fifteen minutes several times per day. This caused pain in the penis and testicles. Vicodin didn't help much. No further spasms once the catheter was removed.

whubbs
Posts: 77
Joined: Sep 2008

Hello.
My numbers were roughly the same as yours, though I am 42.
I opted for robotic as well, now 7 weeks from the surgery.
See my thread at: http://csn.cancer.org/node/163769

Regarding your questions:
How difficult is it to move around with the catheter? I found it difficult, as the inner lining of the penis is ultra-sensitive to movements of the tube. I made sure the tube was secured well on the leg strap.

How easy is it to lie down and get up? Not too bad, try to position yourself with tube under your body while laying down. You won't be able to lie on your belly at all.

How painful/uncomfortable is it when you are sitting down, or walking, or bending down to pick up something from the floor? Sitting down- As long as it doesnt move to much, not bad.
Walking was tough for me,it became very over-sensitized, the novacaine cream will help.

How difficult/awkward is it to have the collection bag tied to your leg? I used the bigger bag that I draped off the couch. The leg back I only used for walking outside and going out. Either one is about the same.

How painful is it when they pull the catheter out? Not at all. They deflate the water filled balloon inside, which feels like a little cramp and the whoosh its out.

One thing I had issues with were the bladder spasms, which are painful, but they do have medication for them. Also, leaking while passing a bowel movement was a very uncomfortable and messy situation. It's a tough week for sure, for some its a breeze, for me it wasn't.
Either way, when I look back on it, it wasnt all that bad.

shipjim's picture
shipjim
Posts: 130
Joined: Apr 2006

Just stand there, the Doc. will do the rest. Bring some pads or depends to wear until you're used to controlling on your own. The good part of the cath is that you can sit thru a whole movie. I used the big bag that hangs on the bed, just hung it inside my zip off pant legs.

I did the robotic and was up walking in 3-4 hours and kept it going. Havn't had any luck with the sex side of life (4 yrs) but everything else is fine, no restrictions of any kind.

Good luck and enjoy the movie.

larry59
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2008

My situation was a bit different in that I ignored warning signs for years and my introduction to the world of prostate cancer was an ER visit caused by total urinary (bladder) blockage. Catheter put in right away and was sent immediately to a urologist. A few tests, biopsy and bone scans later and I was on the incurable pca list with metastasis to bones. Hormone therapy was started to try to slow or even shrink the cancer in the prostate and elsewhere, with hopes prostate might shrink enough to allow removal of the catheter.
By the way those are called Foley catheters and my last name is Foley. Some of the nurses thought that was a hoot. (Not me)
The only bad experience I had was severe bladder spasms after placement of each one. I did voiding trials every 6 weeks or so, they'd removed it and see if I could go on my own. When I couldn't I got a brand new catheter. I went through 5 or 6, plus 2 busted leg bags.
Doctor finally gave up on that and did TURP surgery (he called it the 'ream-out' surgery) on Oct. 31. Five days later catheter was finally removed with painful complications of course.
When it was removed I was 8 days shy of six months wearing a catheter. Doing fine now but hope to never need another catheter even though overall it was not a terrible experience.

g8rb8's picture
g8rb8
Posts: 18
Joined: Dec 2008

Your story is very similar to mine except I'm 45 and had slightly lower PSA and got my diagnosis two days before Christmas. I'm having Davinci sugery done in a couple of weeks. One thing I learned from talking to the docs and PAs is that they can prescribe Detrol LA to help stop the spasms. I had a cath for 24 hours after the biopsy and I was more uncomfortable with it than it hurt. Except for the spasms, they hurt. I wish I had known about the Detrol then, so I'd say ask your doc about that.

The removal was a cinch. No drugs or anything ahead of time, the nurse said "take a breath and blow it out" and she was done. Now, having said that it was only in 24 hours, not a week to ten days!

ismetals's picture
ismetals
Posts: 70
Joined: Feb 2009

up and out of the hospital in two days. Only mild discomfort. The catheter was no problem as far as mobility or sleeping was concerned. The problem I had with it was some blood discharge at the end of my penis. The blood would dry on the catheter and with movement irritade the end of my penis. The catheter was removed after 11 days and I have been fortunate with having very little trouble with contenece. Now I am completely dry. The situation with the irritation persisted for about 2 weeks and finally cleared up. At this time (5 months since robo-surgery) i am still hoping for a full erection the pump works fine but is quite a show and doesn't help in the spntineity department.
Good luck

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