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Recovery

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 732
Joined: Jul 2010

I am having a radical nephrectomy monday on my right kidney because of suspected renal cell cancer. How painful is the recovery and how long til you can drive? My dr I suspect is downplaying the pain after the surgery and I just would like to know what to expect.
Thanks
Colleen

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1452
Joined: Jan 2010

In 2002 I had a left radical nephreectomy that was done laproscopically. I was 59 then. Two days in the hospital, another week on the couch. I started driving after that and for a few weeks limited my actinities to a couple hours a day. Wore shorts for a few weeks as pants were too hard to get on. Six weeks after surgery flew to see family in Seattle and walked to the bottom and back up Snoquamie Falls. Went waterskiing 11 months later for my 60th birthday gathering. Does it hurt? Yes. Will you get over it? Yes. Is it better than the alternative? Yes. Welcome to our club.

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 732
Joined: Jul 2010

Thanks it doesn't sound too bad although I can't have it done laproscpically due to the size of the tumor. I do have a high pain tolerance and usually heal well so I guess thats' as good as it gets. It is for sure better than the alternative lol !
Colleen

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1452
Joined: Jan 2010

The alternatine to surgery fon RCC is not to have the surgery. Than it spreads and the prognosis becomes worse. I do not know if I can sugar coat those words any better. As for not having laproscopic surgery add a few days to your hospital stay. Just remenber when you show the scars in the future that it is like a fish story, they grow every year.

amurillo63
Posts: 29
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi Cafewoman53,
I had a radical neph. on Oct. 6th. It is a big difference from a laproscopic surgery my scar is around 16 inches starting about 5" below my belly button goes 3" over my belly button and curves right under my right breast. I also had to have about an inch of rib resected. My tumor was 17 cm. Although it was a tough surgery to go through overall it wasn't as bad as I expected. Hopefully yours will go as well as mine did. I will be praying for you... Stay positive ;-)
Anna

blackbelt's picture
blackbelt
Posts: 32
Joined: Apr 2006

Hi Cafewoman53: I will not sugar coat the experience of having a open partial nephrectomy and a open laparotomy(major abdominal surgery) hopefully you will have no complications after surgery, yes there is a possibility they might have to break a rib to remove the tumor, Yes you are going to hurt, yes you're going to be in severe pain, yes you're going to have a big scar. Believe me every day it will get better. Suggest start walking immediately after surgery while you're in the hospital, suggest when you get home from the hospital start "slowly" with doing daily activities such as dressing, showering, drive etc. I was driving the day after I got home from the hospital, just be careful. With any surgery it will take 4 to 6 week to heal, first 4 to 6 weeks start with no heavy lifting, I was in the gym the day after i got out of the hospital and just started walking, my philosophy is you're going to be in severe pain at home or the gym the quicker you get up and move around the quicker you heal, I waited until incision to heal before riding my mountain bike, I was riding stationary bike second week, started walking in a pool to build up abdominal stabilizer muscles while holding a 8lb medicine ball third week, elliptical machine second week, practicing my martial arts at 4 weeks, depending on your fitness level before surgery 3 to 6 months is all you need to get back to normal, remember normal will be different now, yes you will have abdominal pain and possible fatigue and feeling tired, that is all part of the process of healing, remember abdominal surgery is no different than having major knee surgery it takes 4 to 6 weeks for the surgery to heal, then it's up to you to keep your core abdominal stabilizer muscles strong, feel free to e-mail for any questions/physical therapy exercises following your surgery.
GOD BLESS

Cafewoman53's picture
Cafewoman53
Posts: 732
Joined: Jul 2010

I'm not sure how he is going to cut me as he wants to stay away from the front of my abdomin as six months ago I had major surgery for ovarian cancer. Thanks for all the info I know if you guys got thru it so will I. I just finished my chemo at the end of Nov and I'm a little worried that I won't bounce back as fast as I usually would. Don't mean to sound so depressing it's not really as drastic as it sounds. Thanks for the good advice !
Colleen

amurillo63
Posts: 29
Joined: Sep 2010

Just remember everyone is different so don't compare your recovery to anyone else because that can get discouraging. All I can say is give yourself time to heal and Listen to your body. No One will know your limits like you... I wish you all the best!!

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Jamie1.3cm
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

Hey, Cafewoman, my urologist plans to get in through my back, because of previous surgeries complicating going through the front.

lbinmsp's picture
lbinmsp
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2006

I had a radical nephrectomy too - and I will be honest. It's going to hurt! BUT they will give you pain medication to keep you comfortable and by the time you go home from the hospital it will be tolerable and you'll also be given pain meds to use at home. Also, and this applies to most major surgery, you'll feel pretty good the day after surgery. However, day two will be bad! I think it's because the general anesthetic has finally gotten out of your system (which helps with pain management the first 24-36 hours). But be assured! The pain management they will provide in the hospital will do the trick!
Good luck to you!

swijak
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2011

I had my radical nephrectomy three weeks ago today. My surgery was about three hours long complicated by the fact I am about 75lbs overweight. According to my doctor there was a lot of extra “tugging and pulling” he had to do to get the kidney out.

That said the good news is I’m back at work, driving and feeling pretty good other than a little tired. Time is a great healer!

The worst pain was the first couple of days; major gas pains and severe pains in my shoulders and chest from what the doctor said was air bubbles trapped inside my body. Walking *significantly* reduced the pain. My nurse and wife had to help me out of bed but whenever the pain got bad I walked. I got to know the hospital halls very well!

Day by day the pain got better and by the third day it was very manageable.

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Jamie1.3cm
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

I think driving limitations depend on your comfort and your pain meds.

My recovery time after major abdominal surgery (slice, not laproscopic) has always been longer than what most people report here. I wanted to be the tough guy and bounce right back up after surgery, but it just didn't turn out that way. The standard is "6-12 weeks recovery after major abdominal surgery." I certainly took the entire 12 weeks before I was coompletely mobile, and was on pain meds for almost 6 weeks, though functional by then. Moving around is painful. You'll learn to time your pain meds: take a pain med, wait 20 minutes, then you might be able to stand up long enough to take a shower. Better yet, put a shower chair in the shower.

It's a hard recovery, and everyone is different. And as a long-distance bicycle rider myself, my fitness before surgery was not a prediction of recovery time. Give your body whatever time it needs. If you push too hard too soon, you may push yourself into a hernia situation. Ugh.

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