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How soon back to work?

DanKCMO's picture
DanKCMO
Posts: 42
Joined: Apr 2010

Just hoping that some of you could give me your input on when I can get back to work after my June 1st da Vinci prostate removal operation-assuming (and hoping for) a typical recovery process

I work from my home and can scale back my work to really just be using a computer (sitting at a desk), going up and down stairs several times a day and answering the phone. I have 2 employees who can do any lifting. Since I am at home, I can lay down and rest if necessary whenever there is the urge

I don't want to push things to the detriment of my health, but want to get back as soon as possible. Not only do I have 2 employees to keep employed (when I don't work, they don't work), I am in the middle of my busiest time of year and don't want to close down unnecessarily long.

My operation is the 1st of June , with planned release from the hospital on the 2nd. I was thinking of taking the 3rd off and starting back on the 4th.

Is this realistic?
Is working 8 hours realistic or are most people fatigued easily for a while?
Is it possible to sit at a desk a few hours at a time 2 or 3 days after the operation?

I just want to try and plan ahead and give my employees an idea of what may happen-I told them I would give them two days off paid, but after that the days off would not be paid. They also know that even though I will estimate when I will be back in the swing of things, it ultimately depends on my condition and not on a date I set beforehand.

Dan

chitown
Posts: 90
Joined: Mar 2010

Dan - I have same work profile as you and had the same, and detailed discussion, with my doc. His explanation was convincing and based on past experience. I went thru sepsis post bipsy and 1 week ICU and tried a early work start after that..mistake. Even if you feel better the doc suggestion is not to do it..your mind, emotion and body need total rest and recovery in 2 weeks. Health is more important than work..now more than ever.Those are my docs word. He is a close personal friend too.

Good luck on the surgery. Mine is 6/15. So will want to learn from your experience

bdhilton
Posts: 759
Joined: Jan 2010

As Trew says here we are “all snowflakes” and recovery is no exception to this …However, the longer the better...Health is more important than work...If you are back in 2 weeks you will need resting periods during the day but you MUST walk, walk, walk, cannot stress that enough...again walk, walk, walk.... I am at week 9 and I am just about back to pre surgery shape...at the end of week 3 I did 50 miles that week...I believe that the walking, diet, kegel, kegel, kegel (pre and post) and faith has put me ahead of the healing curve...For example-urologist removed all restrictions at week 6, I was having intercourse week 3 (with penile injections), I have been dry since the cath was removed on day 12...

Here it is week 9 (actually yesterday) and I have just about regained my pre surgery upper body strength.... From my perspective (as it happened to me) your life changed when you heard you have cancer... My life has changed for the better so make the most of it with diet changes, exercise,, faith in a higher power and embrace you family and friends (and get rid of the negative people in your life in your life)...

As far as ED therapy I believe (just like my surgeon William Catalona and my Urologist) that the most effective rehab program in the use of Tri/Bi Mix injections performed 2-3X per week beginning no later than 4 weeks after surgery (I was 3 weeks) plus a daily dose of Cialis …The injections are not forever first 3 months then they will advise me again…

Anyway peace be with you

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1007
Joined: May 2009

I don't think 3 days is realistic to go back to work, but everyone is different. I was very wiped out from it and tired quickly. Usually was in bed by 6-7pm each night. I was 54 when I had my surgery last august and lost 55 pounds via exercise before surgery so was in good shape over all. I still had effects from Anesthesia for several days. Let your body heal and it will heal fast. Have you talked to your doc about your plans?

Larry

DanKCMO's picture
DanKCMO
Posts: 42
Joined: Apr 2010

"Have you talked to your doc about your plans?"

Both my diagnosing urologist and surgeon, both more or less said if I felt like it, doing emails, working at computer, occasional stairs would be no problem medically a day or two after I get home, assuming no complications. But that I need to base decision on how I feel (amount of pain, fatigue, etc).

I just don't want to set everything in motion to take a week or 10 days off and be ready to work a bit in 3 days. I like to work and sitting around relaxing and recuperating may stress me out more than working

For me there is relatively little stress when I work. But what is more stressful for me is getting behind on things and worrying about getting caught up.

Dan

bdhilton
Posts: 759
Joined: Jan 2010

my 2 cents is this is a time when you need to take care of yourself first and make some changes in your life for the positive...just my 2 cents...

NM
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Dan, I went back to work in 6 weeks(had 6 weeks disability). I work in a sawmill and do some heavy lifting. I could have gone back in 4 weeks but am glad I let my body heal.As far as sitting at a desk sitting was in fact a bother for about 4 weeks. Hope this helps and good luck....Nick

DanKCMO's picture
DanKCMO
Posts: 42
Joined: Apr 2010

Thanks for the input, it is nice hearing what other people have experienced

Dan

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

Dan,

I was in the hospital several days extra, as I could not do the amount of walking they needed to see without severe nausea before discharging me. Pain was a given.
That aside, I was able to work a few hours a day online the following week, and within a couple of weeks was back to long days at the computer (with a couple of walking breaks a day). It was actually easier with the catheter, as I could sit and not worry about draining.
Get one of the foam doughnut cushions - that made the sitting possible - without it I was in yet more pain.
The big "work" question is pain meds. If you have to take them (I did in the evening - just could not go beyond 6 / 7 pm), you SHOULD NOT write emails, make calls, or be posting much. Mine were heavy duty enough that I said what I thought, which would have been a very bad thing to do "at work".
Once the catheter was out, my time sitting at one stretch was very limited. I was in free-flow mode for weeks after the cath was removed, so an unbroken hour phone call was just not possible.
Stairs were hard - allow lots of time, and perhaps have a cane to balance with. It took a week to be able to manage them without expecting a fall.

Also, was not allowed to drive for 3 weeks after I got home -

(DaVinci 10/09)

DanKCMO's picture
DanKCMO
Posts: 42
Joined: Apr 2010

142 thanks for the info.

Is not being able to drive for 3 weeks typical advice from doctors?

Mine said not to drive for as long as I have the catheter (one week assuming no complications), then it is OK to drive as long as I am not on pain meds strong enough to impair driving. I work at home so driving is not a pressing issue, I was just curious.

Another question. My wife says she wants to take 5 days off of work to stay home with me and help me. Although I appreciate this, do I really need assistance? I was thinking of asking her to take off work the day I come home and the next day, but thought I could be alone after that. I may just happily agree to her offer of helping me for 5 days but it would be more for her well-being than mine (this whole thing has her in a very fragile state).

Dan

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

At least at the practice I used, it seemed the standard is to tag your file as no driving for three weeks. There were two "real" medical reasons they gave - in some states, any serious pain killers (like what they gave me, that stay in the system 8-12 hours in trace amounts) in your bloodstream consitute DUI, and that wouldn't be pleasant if there were an accident regardless of fault; second was that if you had an emergency stop (hard braking, stress on your abdomen) all sorts of sutures could be pulled out. Last real reason (I suspect) is legal liability if you were to be in an accident - they officially warned you.

They also tell you not to cook while taking the pain killers - you could literally hurt youself or start a fire and not realize it.

I'm single, so my mom came for the week after the surgery, but it was as much for her to know I wasn't collapsed on the floor. I was well enough prepared (I had almost two months between decision and surgery) that I had arranged everything to be in reach. You will not be able to bend over to pick anything up for a few days.

I would say the day you come home will be the worst (getting settled in with things you forgot to plan for), and if they send you home the day after surgery, you may need more help for 2-3 days. I was in for four days, so had the nurses around. If she can do part days that might help but not burn her vacation. By day 4, you should be good to move around.

About 7 days out you will probably have some really brutal swelling - scared the life out of me because no one had mentioned it. Felt like I had two grapefruit down there.

The biggest challenge at home will be the catheter, sorting out how to empty it without a mess, and not get the tube snagged on furniture or walk off without picking it up (you'll only do that once).

Have to close now, but I'll post a book I think you should read - Man to Man by Michael Korda. A little dated, but a good read.

fathersson's picture
fathersson
Posts: 121
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi, I am at day 6 post op and could not imagine going back to work in the near future. I would guestimate 2-3 weeks more.

Best

Frank

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I didn't want to mislead you - those long days at the computer were still from home.

I would say an easy 6 weeks before going back into a public workplace environment. My doctor told me to arrange for 5-7 weeks off, but I did not need to do that because of the ability to work remotely.

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

also, walk walk walk when you can. It helps. I know that sounds contradictory to resting, but your body will tell you when to quit. Pay attention to it.

And let your wife help you. You are going to need help and she is going to need to help you. It'll be good for the two of you to start your recovery working together. Don't be embarrassed or shocked by her having to help you with the cath at first or with a shower. Let me tell you, taking a shower with the cath tube the first time is a freaky thing. At least it was for me.....

Don't be surprised if you hit some depression along the way also. REcognize it, talk about it, don't hide it. Talk ahead of time about what your expectations are for post surgery life.. sexually, continence-wise. Get you and your wife used to talking about these things now. And then get ready to have the scheduled PSAs and living with that anticipation.

Learn to let people help you. It's good for you and it's good for them!

Evagirl's picture
Evagirl
Posts: 60
Joined: Mar 2010

Oh my Dan...

I cannot imagine going back that soon , just because of the extra work of taking care of the cath, making sure you take your meds at the right times...eating nutriciously...resting ...etc..

that being said...everyone is different...and if you can balance all of the above and be pain free and not tire too much...well you are the only one who knows if you can do this...

Best to you ....

Den/Eva

Sortie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2010

Trust me your body will let you know, if you are honest and listen.

My husband had the radical surgery two weeks ago today. (April 27). He is up daily, working on the computer, having friends in for a visit and lunch, AND then he has to rest in the afternoon. He has been disappointed that he is so tired. I remind him and I will share with you....YOU HAVE HAD MAJOR surgery....please be kind to your body and heal.
You will also, have a catheter and that will slow you down.
Please be kind to yourself, this is a journey you have never taken before. It is unlike any other surgery both physically and mentally.
Go slowly in the beginning so you do not have a set back. A set back would be unplanned and cause you more harm than patience in the beginning.

Sortie

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

Dan,

First off, prayers for your daVinci to go well! I work at a desk job in a bank and was told I needed to take four weeks off. I ended up taking two weeks fulltime and two weeks part time. The first few days back part time kicked my butt. I was 45 at the time, in good shape and couldn't understand that just a few small cuts in my abdomen would take me down so hard. I recovered pretty quickly after that, but the first few weeks I had very little energy 'reserve' in my gas tank. I did end up doing a backpack trip four months after the procedure and did pretty well on it, but I could tell I wasn't up to my usual levels. You have an advantage in that you don't have to get up, get out and drive to work, etc. Working from home could shorten your time out, but don't put yourself at risk for something short term.

All the advise you're hearing here is good: take the time to take care of yourself. Let your body, and your mind recover and then be ready to ramp up when you go back. Don't expect to be 100% for a little while.

randy_in_indy's picture
randy_in_indy
Posts: 493
Joined: Oct 2009

I had my surgery on Tues and was at my desk for about 6 hours the following Monday...working out of my home office from a lazyboy very soft chair. It was not bad...but on day 4 I doubt you are back to work more than an hour or three because of the low energy you will experience. This is major surgery and it will have an energy level effect on you. Take the pain meds so you can sleep better and that will quicken your recovery in my opinion.

Randy

DanKCMO's picture
DanKCMO
Posts: 42
Joined: Apr 2010

Thanks for the advice everybody.

I have a better idea of what to expect.

Fortunately, I don't have to work or can work as much or as little as my condition warrants.

Dan

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