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What should I expect after Davinci surgery

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

56 yrs old. Never been sick a day in my life. Diagnosed with prostate cancer July 09. Cancer found in 4 of 12 biopsy samples, all from the same area, left side of prostate. PSA 4.9. Gleason score ‘weak’ 6. MRI & Bone Scan came back clean. Urologist says I’m ‘lucky’ because it’s a slow growing, non-aggressive type of cancer. Davinci surgery scheduled with Dr. Colberg on Friday, 18-Sept, at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT. Have never had surgery before. Have not had pre-surgery physical yet. Can someone pls adv what I can really expect when I wake up from surgery, and on day +1, day +2, etc. Trying to keep the fear factor in check for the sake of my family. Thanks.

nb's picture
nb
Posts: 12
Joined: May 2009

I just posted my expereince from August 18th today. Hope this helps and if you have more questions I'd be glad to share more.

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

I just read your posting. You were very detailed & the information was very helpful. I can see the experience differs for just about everyone & no two surgeries or recovery periods are alike. You have eased my mind a bit as to what to expect after all is said & done. I hope my post surgery recovery goes as well as yours did. I know it won't be 'fun', but it is something we all have to go through. I'm making a list of things I can do (or try to do) while I'm home recuperating. I know that I'm being simplistic, but I hope & pray that surgery takes care of all of our prostate cancer issues, and that ALL of us can get on with our lives once again. The best of luck to you now, and for many, many cancer free years in the future.

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1004
Joined: May 2009

I'm 54 and Had my robotic on Aug. 12. Every man is 100% Different. I had lots of severe pain on day 1 that was treated with morphine. Day 1 no liquids were allowed which surprised me.
They gave me a sponge to wet my mouth with. Make sure and WALK. I had my first walk about 9 hours post surgery with assistance. Very short walk.

Day 2 They finally gave me fluids to drink and a small liquid b'fast. I walked every 1.5 hrs and each walk was better. Several people checked on me Day 2. Was given cath care instructions and then discharged about 26-28 hours post surgery.

Day 3+ Each day gets better and better. Walk and drink fluids. Watch your urine bag and you will see clumps of blood and pieces of crud. All normal. I tried to get my urine color as clean as possible by drinking, drinking, drinking. Make sure and WALK at home as much as possible. I needed help getting in and out of bed or chairs for several days.

Today is 17 days post surgery, Still have some pain in deep now and incisions itch. I get tired very easy and am usually ready for bed anywhere from 7-9pm. The first week post surgery If I made it to 7pm I was doing good.

It is amazing how fast your body will heal. Many men have almost no pain so I hope you will be in that category.

Larry

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Larry, thanks for the posting. It seems that you had a difficult go of it for awhile there. I hope the worse is behind you & that each & every day is better than the last one. I have my surgery on a Friday, and my surgeon ‘anticipates’ I’ll be going home on Saturday, but he said Yale-New Haven will keep me there for as long as ‘necessary’. From reading the many posts here, I can see that everyone has a different experience and that no two are alike. Thanks for the info concerning what to expect with my urine bag. I’m assuming the nurses will advise me of that after my surgery, but it’s nice to be informed about it ahead of time. Also thanks for the tip about walking & drinking plenty of fluids. That seems to be a common thread in getting back to ‘normal’ in a timely fashion. Getting a ‘good’ nights rest is also important. That should be interesting the 1st week. I advised my employer that I will be out of work for at least 2 weeks & possibly 3. Looks like that is par for the course with this type of surgery. Also looks like I will have to stay off the martinis for awhile & concentrate on water & Gatorade. I guess my wife will be mowing the yard for a while too. Thanks again for the info. All the best to you in your recovery. May it be speedy and complete.

Marshall

WHW's picture
WHW
Posts: 189
Joined: Jul 2009

MWA,

There is a lot of info out there about after surgery. I know I have been looking for all of it. My surgery is scheduled for Sept. 17th.

This link is to a website for a Dr. in Texas. It seems to contain a good helping of most of the stuff I have read over the last 6-8 weeks; http://www.prostatecenterofaustin.com/postoperative.php

It is just a starting point. The individual experiences of the guys who have been there already will be helpful from a personal perspective. Keep in mind as lewvino put it so well. We are all individuals and each of us will respond to things in different ways. Remember you may experience some, all or none of the things you learn about.

Keep the faith. As all of the guys I have met here who are undergoing this journey, your name has been added to the prayer lists of my wife and I. We are strong believers in the power of prayer and pray for you and your family for successful outcomes, peace and patience.

Sonny

shubbysr's picture
shubbysr
Posts: 87
Joined: Jun 2009

Sometimes I think too much information can be harmful. We all had some level of fear going into surgery. I trusted what the medical staff told me. I can always wonder why certain things did or did not happen if I knew evereyone's experience beforehand.
No matter, as a survivor I am sending good thoughts and prayers to all with pending surgeries. You will do GREAT! and before you know it "back in the saddle".

jim (shubbysr)

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Jim,

I’m beginning to agree with you. Too much info can be, well, too much. I have not met with the surgical staff yet for my pre-surgical physical, but I’m sure they will try to put my mind at ease. I guess it’s always the fear of the unknown that gets you. As a former forecast analyst, it was my job to predict future outcomes. Doesn’t work in this case. My ‘inner self’ says things will be ok. I just have to learn to listen. Thanks again. I truly appreciate everyone’s thoughts & comments.

Marshall

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Sonny,

Thanks for the reply & the website info. I will certainly go through ALL the info listed there. It seems the more I read, the more I want to know, & the more questions I have for the surgeon. My family physician said don’t do too much research because I’ll drive myself, and my family nuts. I like to be informed as much as possible so I know what questions to ask during my doctor visits and what to expect before & after each procedure.

I know I’m a bit ‘anal’ with all the data, but I guess that comes from 23 years as a forecast analyst & inventory planner. Your post, along with the others here has certainly helped to ease my fear & level of stress. The one thing I have learned is you don’t know what to expect. It can be a range, from one extreme to the other. I have posted some information on my ‘About Me’ page regarding my experiences since my annual physical in April, which started this whole unfortunate chain of events. I’ll keep the posting info as long as I think it may be of benefit to someone. I was going to blog it, but I didn’t think it would reach the ‘intended’ audience.

I truly appreciate all your thoughts, comments, and prayers. I am also a strong believer in the power of prayer & maintaining a positive outlook on life. Of course, that is easier said than done. It is one thing reading about cancer, but something else entirely when you hear 1st hand from the people who have gone through it (or soon will). Good luck on the 17th. You will be in my thoughts & prayers.

Marshall

novaguy
Posts: 76
Joined: Jul 2009

For what it's worth, I had da vinci 3 1/2 weeks ago and I just got back from the golf range. I'm fully continent as well. My doctor tells me not to spread this around too much, because he thinks I'm the poster child for good recovery, but it goes to show that this surgery is not that bad if done by a good surgeon. It's not all good, I'm still waiting for erections to return but it's still way early.

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

That’s great news! From reading all these postings, I can see why your doctor said that. I hope my surgery & subsequent recovery go ½ as well as yours did. Continence is my main concern. I’m not sure how my surgeon is rated in the general scheme of things. I hear he has done hundreds of these surgeries and works at one of the best hospitals in CT, but I’m just going by my urologists recommendations. He is a good surgeon too, but works out of a hospital with no Davinci robot. He still does things the ‘old fashion’ way. I guess I'll just have to wait & see and pray that I made a wise choice. Time will tell. After my surgery, I will try to post all the daily results & any subsequent ‘issues’ on my ‘About Me’ page on this website.

Thanks again for the info. There is always hope.

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1004
Joined: May 2009

Good luck on your upcoming surgery! I have been 100% Dry since getting the cath out. Tomorrow is 21 days post surgery for me. If your surgeon has done Hundreds with the davinci you should be OK. I watched an interview with my Doctor and he stated that in his opinion it took about 200 before he felt a Doctor was over the learning curve.

We look forward to hearing your good results post surgery.

Larry

Bill_4's picture
Bill_4
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2009

I am just 5 weeks out from Davinci surgery and although it feels longer, I am doing well. I have a couple of update posts you can read including July 29. At five weeks, the healing incision pains are all but gone. I have been fully continent since the catheter was removed (although I had to keep the catheter in longer as I was "hyper-continent" - couldn't pee). I have been walking twice a day and now do about 4-5 miles. Will get my first PSA at 3 months. We are all pulling for you.

Bill, age 60

novaguy
Posts: 76
Joined: Jul 2009

Bill be careful about your walking. It's great that you can do 4-5 miles but keep in mind that your legs were inactive for a long time. I really developed a bad case of knee tendinitis from walking too much too soon. And I only built up gradually to 2.5 miles. I think what did it was the hills, would probably have been OK on flat ground. Glad your hypercontinence issues are resolved!

Bill_4's picture
Bill_4
Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2009

Thanks for your advice. I worked up to this distance slowly and am walking on flat ground. I think it helps that I was in very good shape before surgery (weights, core classes, hiking and yoga). My body asks for a nap every afternoon and I honor that!
Bill

wxman
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2009

I just finished my robotic surgery at Vanderbilt. I must say everyone on the staff that we met had a great attitude and were very polite.

On the day of surgery I went in at 6:00 am. My surgery was just under four hours long. There was some scar tissure and it took Dr. Smith a little extra time to complete the surgery. I was in recovery for about two hours and don't remember very much about it other than doctors and nurses trying to wake me up. The first day you are not allowed to eat or drink anything. They give you a sponge on a stick to keep your mouth moist. I took my first walk at about 10 pm.

The next morning at 5:30 am you are able to get water. The resident and other doctors start coming in at around 6-8:30 am to see how you are feeling. They bring breakfast at about 8:30 am. The first day you are on a liquid diet. If your bowels get moving you can have a modified liquid diet - not too much different. Roxie came in to brief us about the post op stuff and drain removal. I was feeling pretty good and opted to leave - a little before 2 pm.

My trip of 3:45 turned into a trip of 5 hours with the stopping. You need to stop at least every 1 1/2 hours and walk. I needed to get back the first day and would run into childcare issues if we didn't get back. I would have stayed the extra day if I could have. Still, the trip was tiring, but not painful.

That first night that I got home I ran a low grade fever for a few hours. I didn't take the pain medication until then. I would suggest especially on the first several days not to skip the pain medication. Having said that - my surgery was not that painful. I have had kidney stones and a double hernia operation. This wasn't even close in regards to pain. So far, I haven't had that much.

I just took a couple of short walks up and down my street today. Try to walk, but not too far the first few days. I would say several short walks is best.

OK. That's it for me so far after the first few days. I was a bit nervous going into the surgery, but had a lot of people praying for me. I wouldn't worry if you're nervous.

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1004
Joined: May 2009

So glad you did great with the surgery! Each day is better then the day before. Keep up the walking and drink the water. I drank and drank trying to keep the stuff in the cath bag as clear and clean as I could. Did Dr. Smith give you any indication on the amount of nerves he was able to spare? You should get your path report in about 1 weeks time post surgery. At least that was when Dr. Smiths staff called me.

Larry

wxman
Posts: 19
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Larry,
thanks for all of the encouragement! I remember him saying something about sparing nerves but don't recall giving a percent. My report is due in one week also. I'll give a progress report in a few days.

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi wxman,

Thanks for the info. I know everyone reacts to surgery differently and a lot depends on your level of physical fitness and the skill of your surgeon. My surgery is currently scheduled for around 1:30 PM on Friday, 18-Sept. My surgeon described the 'routine' as just about what you went through. I should be there about a day & a half. I should be coming out of recovery around 6:30 PM. My 1st walk should be sometime Saturday AM. My 1st meal may be lunch on Saturday. Depending on how I'm doing, I may get to leave either Saturday evening or Sunday AM. My personal goal will be to leave sometime Saturday. I know there are a lot of variables that have to come together for that to happen. We only live about 60 min away so I hope to make it home in a timely fashion.

Thanks for the note about the pain medication. I tend to avoid meds & try to tolerate the pain. This time I will take the meds, especially at night, to try & get some sleep. Short walks are a definite for the 1st few days.

I really appreciate your post. It has helped ease my mind to realize that everything I'm feeling is normal and that, as FDR said, "the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself". All the best to you & your recovery. I truly hope & pray that everyone here will be cancer free, now & well into the future. Thanks again.

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the note. I'm very happy to hear that you are doing so well. It seems that walking, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting a good nights sleep are several of the keys to getting back on the road to recovery sooner rather than later. I also love to hike, but only manage about 10 miles or so on the weekends. It depends on how often I stop to take some picts. I guess I will have to leave the cliffs & ledges alone for awhile and concentrate on hiking the flatlands. I had my pre-op physical today & all of the nurses I met with were quite nice & very informative. They know this is my 1st surgery & tried to ease my tensions by explaining in detail every aspect of my upcoming 'visit' and that I will come out of this procedure just fine. They were very good at putting a positive spin on everything and I left feeling better about my date with da-vinci next Friday. Good luck on your first post-op PSA test! I wish you all the very best & truly hope & pray things will continue to go well for you.

NM
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi MWA my name is Nick and I had the davinci thursday. I have noticed 1 thing and thats every doctor and hospital is a little different. I was out of recovery and in my room at around 9pm thursday. I asked what I could eat and the nurse said whatever i wanted. I had a tv dinner and juice, walked across the room and would have slept fairly well but every 1/2 hour or so someone wanted my vital signs temp ect. My wife had a harder time than me with the actual surgery as i slept through it lol, seriously though its harder on the spouses than us until after the surgery so please encourage her to be patient and not worry(no chance of that). My surgery took about 4 hours. I have had no major pain other than that damn gas and was advised this would last around 2 days and the surgeon was spot on on that. Sorry for rambling and my prayers will be with you. Good luck and bless you ........Nick

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Nick,

It sounds like you had a quick recovery. Everything must have gone perfect for you to get up & about so fast, along with having dinner! That is great news. That would be great if I could get just a few hours of sleep the 1st night. I know it will be hard on my wife. We have been married over 32 years & this is the 1st major 'crisis' we have faced together. She will have our daughter, our son, & his fiancee waiting with her while I'm having a nice 'nap'. I have charged my son & his fiancee to keep mom's mind off things by going over details of their upcoming wedding next May. I had my pre-surgery physical today & one of the nurses mentioned that the IV will be the most painful thing that I may experience. I think she was trying to put my mind at rest there. She did also say that I will experience some discomfort for a couple days as the gas works its way out of my system. We shall see. Thanks again & all the best to you. I hope & pray that you have a long & happy life.

injuredbyDaVinci
Posts: 35
Joined: Aug 2009

Dear NWA1028,
I sure hope you have better luck than I did. I'm not going to repeat my self too much. You can read all my posts at injured during surgery. My post name should really be, injured by doctor using the DaVinci robot. Good luck to you again, I hope no one out there has to go through what I had to and I still have a long way to go. I saw a small artical in my Popular Mechanics mag. that I just recieved yesterday about the next generation of the DaVinci robot.

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