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One week post surgery-What now?

carlkcs11
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2011

Exactly one week ago at this hour, I was getting in a car with my wife, daughter and sister to head for my DaVinci Surgery. I had a 2.5 cm mass on my left kidney, (found by accident) which turned out to really be close to a 4 cm mass post surgery.
I have gone through most of the post surgical issues I have read on these sites. The pain and discomfort, the intestinal issues, the bouts of crying and "why me" thoughts, The "thank God" it was found and treated thoughts.
I am told by my Dr. that I am essentially cured. But reading these post I see that the condition of "having cancer" doesn't stop once the surgery is over. The fear of re-occurance is a real one.
I guess it is similar to being a recovering alcoholic. You are always aware that you have (had) the disease and that it can come back at anytime. Although with alcoholism there may be more of a sense of control over possible future relapses. With Cancer, all control is lost in a sense. Which is terrifying.

I am wondering now what can I do to get better control. How do I keep this cancer from happening again. I asked my doctor about any preventative measures I can undertake such as diet changes All he said was that I can resume a normal diet. Normal Diet?

I don't smoke, never have. I exercise regularly and can't wait to resume this part of my activity. I am not the best eater, but I need some advise regarding foods to avoid and foods to include, supplements etc. And preparation of foods. Should all vegetables be steamed? Avoid fried foods all together? Someone told me eating shrimps is bad? How much water should I drink? How much is too much. Can I still drink a beer? Wine? Spicy foods, are they good or bad? sushi? Coffee?

So you see I am looking for some direction. If anyone could please recommend a web site, book that is a reliable source for GOOD information I would appreciate it.

How much water should I drink a day? Can I have a beer now and then?

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1509
Joined: Jan 2010

Relax the worst is over. I can relate to your experience. Mine was 2.7cm before surgery and 4.2cm post surgery. Unless something is missing from your post you should be fully recovered from the RCC. The important fact is that you had the surgery while the tumor was relatively small and recurrance has two chances: slim and none wih the slim being very, very low. RCC is not always waiting to come back like other cancers and has a very low recurrance when caught at Stage 1. Mine was 9 years ago.I am just starting to address kidney function issues which was initially addressed by keeping my blood pressure within the 120/80 limits.

Enjoy an occasional beer or wine. The only food you mentioned which is on my no no list is shrimp and that is because I had gout about a year ago. Gout is not related to RCC, but is related to kidney function. I am going to a dietician next week for the first time and I will report back on what I should have been eating the last 9 years. Like you I never smoked.

carlkcs11
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2011

Thanks Iceman. I too have hypertension (0ver 20 years) and take 3 medications to keep it under control. I guess these next few weeks will be the start a new chapter in my life filled with adjustments, education, self reflection, and self control. I have read many of your post and you have help me tremendously.

Thanks

monique53
Posts: 19
Joined: May 2011

Please let me know what the dietician says . my Dr says the same thing just go back to what you did normally.My 3 month check up was great/But i'm still have pain once in a while. When I twist and turn and get on my forklift.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi carikcs11,

I'm 22 months post op and still asking questions, there are many people here that know exactly what you are going through and you'll find a lot of answers on this board but don't be afraid to go to your Dr. with a list as well.

I too had never smoked and was in good physical condition when rcc became my constant companion. We cannot control cancer but we can keep it from controlling us, concentrate on the things you can control/change. You are on an emotional roller coaster right now so take small steps and know that it gets easier in time. Remember this club that you now are a member of, you can come here for answers or if you just need to vent to those that understand, we all support each other.

There is some excellent information here under Diet with one kidney, I moved it to the first page so it would be easier to find. Normal depends upon your physical condition, medical history, height, weight, BP, etc. but basically you can eat "normally" as long as you watch your protein and sodium intake. I stopped eating beef, except on rare, occasions to reduce protein and help with cholesterol, chicken, turkey, and fish are equivalent to beef as far as protein is concerned but I tend to eat smaller portions. Shrimp is ok but high in protein so so smaller portions is a good option. Hydration is very important, 1/2 gallon of water per day is a good rule of thumb. Alcohol is ok in moderation. Returning to your regular exercise routine helps as much mentally as physically but take it slow at first and rest when you feel tired, getting back to "normal" takes a little time. I hope this helps.

Your fellow survivor,

Gary

carlkcs11
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2011

Thanks Gary.

I guess becoming a member is not an option at this point. I reflect back on my eating habits of the past and can kick myself. I had been following a high protein, moderate carb diet for decades. It also was high in fat, low in fruits and vegetables unfortunately. Now, whether this was the cause of my condition, who knows? But i am sure it didn't help. Perhaps it is due to living in NJ (laugh).

The lack of control is most upsetting, along with the loss of the sense of invulnerability. I had never been sick before this. Maybe a bad cold once in a while. But nothing major. I wad diagnosed with hypertension decades ago but that's invisible and I took pills to "fix" this. So being a "Cancer Survivor" is surreal for me. In fact I am in the healthcare field and have treated patients that have been diagnosed with cancer. I have seen how cancer has destroyed their lives and their families. These visions are in my head constantly. Surreal.

But as you said "small steps". I guess one week out from surgery is not enough time to really wrap my psyche around the future.
I will keep on keeping on. Thanks GARY

ams123
Posts: 71
Joined: Aug 2011

The diet of the "normal" American (sorry, assuming you are in the US) is awful, and I can't believe any doctor would recommend that. About three years ago I gave up processed foods - too much sodium and additives. I ate fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, whole grains, etc. When I got my diagnosis this summer I changed my diet again. I read a lot of books and watched a lot of movies and what I read and saw made a lot of sense, but this is just for me, I can't be a proponent of it for anyone else because nothing is proven (so they say). I started a 100% plant based diet, no animal products at all. It started because I wanted to cut back on my protein to protect my kidneys, and the easiest way to do that was to cut out animal products. Now I am continuing to eat this way because I believe what I have read and I believe that it can't hurt me. Diet and exercise is the only thing I have control over in this crazy journey, so I am doing all I can to stay healthy. Let me know if you want book and/or movie recommendations, I have lots of them, but I would never want to push my beliefs on anyone else.

Linda

carlkcs11
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2011

Thanks Linda:

Any recommendation would be appreciated. As you probably can tell I am anxious to get control of this situation. So the more information I can get the better.

Thanks

CARL

ams123
Posts: 71
Joined: Aug 2011

Carl - here are the books and movies I have read and watched. I have switched to a total plant based diet, which I know some might find extreme. You might find the suggestions in these books extreme, but I don't think you have to go all the way with them. Even making a few changes to your diet can be helpful. You might check these out and find they don't resonate with you at all, and that is fine!

And I know that one of the books and one of the movies have the words "weight loss" and "fat" in them, and I am not assuming you need to lose weight. I did not need to lose weight and I still found these helpful, so I hope I don't offend you!

Let me know what you think. I particularly liked "Anticancer", unfortunately the author died this summer, but survived for many years with brain cancer. Hope this helps!

Linda

Books:

Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free
Fuhrman, Joel

What to Eat if You Have Cancer
Chace, Daniella, Maureen Keane

Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition
Servan-Schreiber MD PhD, David

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss
Fuhrman, Joel

Movies:
1. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
2. Forks Over Knives

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

At least, that's how I've felt about things since I wad diagnosed with RCC 10 years ago. I asked my doctors the same question - what can I do to keep it from coming back. The answer from both of my doctors was to keep your immune system healthy. Meaning a more balanced diet (nothing is off limits but decrease sodium, increase fruits and vegetables), drink plenty of water, and keep your stress level down. Stress is a real bugger for your immune system. Beyond that? We all know that RCC is one of those silent, sneaky cancers that no one has any control over. Keep having regular followup and IF IF IF it comes back, hopefully it'll be small and they can get it with surgery.

Keep on posting. We're all ready to circle the wagons on your (and anyone elses') behalf if you need us.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi lbinmsp,

Congrats on the ten years, I know you had a set back about five years back so congrats on that milestone too!! I love the new pic, is that a self portrait? Just kidding.

Gary

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

Yup - self-portrait (haha) - nah - just love dogs! Taking a walk for me is an all morning affair since I stop to pet and play with every fur-baby that's out there! Load pockets with dog 'cookies' - and I come home with lots of dog spit all over me (great kisses!).
Yup - 10 years - whodathunk!

Vagusto's picture
Vagusto
Posts: 86
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Carl

When I was first diagnosed I asked myself why me, I took good care of myself. I quickly came to the conclusion that cancer doesn't discriminate. One of my good friends has always taken good care of herself, eating organic, watching her diet, etc. She's had breast cancer twice.

Live your life to it's fullest. Everything in moderation as they say. I believe that drinking a good amount of water is good for you as it flushes out the kidney(s). I'm not going to live wondering what I did, or should I eat this, or should I eat that. I already drive myself crazy as it is!!!!!!!

The truth is, you didn't do anything to cause your cancer. Take care, and be kind
to yourself. You're a survivor Carl. :)

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