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Getting tired

msacher63
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2011

Had my left kidney removed Nov 16th (Open surgery). It was a textbook procedure. Home in two days. Back at work in less than three weeks. Even started running and going to the gym again (light stuff). I thought I had this thing beat completely. I started getting tired last week. I have since stopped all activity besides work. I’m sleeping up to 10 hours a night and the fatigue still seems to be getting worse. Physically I feel outstanding. No pain whatsoever and I can do all activities with no limitation. I know it's winter and I have time to get ready for all of next summers fun and games, but I am very impatient with the recovery thing. When I am awake I feel like I can run a marathon. Problem is I just can't stay awake. I'm sure it's my own fault and shouldn’t push, but wanted to know the general consensus on this. Are we talking weeks or months?

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

msacher63,

I never had the problem of getting tired, but I seem to remember that several others here did and found it was due to anemia. Talk to your doc, I think a simple blood test will tell if this is what's going on.

Hope this helps,

Gary

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Gary, that's very interesting. It would certainly partly explain it but I would have thought it unlikely that he would be feeling great all the rest of the time. I wonder what the cause of the anemia would be - can you recall whether any of the others offered a mechanism to explain their anemia?

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

T,

You're probably right about the ups and downs regarding anemia, seems logical. There was also something in one of the threads about vitamin B deficiency causing tiredness I think. I'll do some re-reading and see if I can find them, my memory isn't what is used to be.

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

I found the thread, Anemia after surgery, and moved it to the first page, I don't know if it applies.

msacher63
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2011

Very interesting. I had my post surgery checkup last week and they did take a blood sample. There was no mention of this but I will put in a phone call to ask. In the mean time I'll start boosting my iron intake. Thanks for the input. This board is great.

Mark

jimran
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi msacher63,
I am amazed at your recovery! I had a laproscopic nephrectomy and was in the hospital 8 days and then telecommuted for a couple of weeks and slowly worked into fulltime work over the next couple of weeks. I was sleeping 10 hours a day with 2 hour daily after lunch naps for 4 weeks after surgery. If I didn't take my nap, I would just fall asleep in my chari. I am two months post-surgery and I'm still tired with after activity and in the afternoons. My guess is that so long as the Docs say your blood and scans are OK, you should keep sleeping as much as you can. Let your body heal.
Jim

msacher63
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2011

Wow, that sounds like a tough recovery. I have no clue why I got off so easy and I'm not going to complain. :) Guess I should feel lucky that being tired is all I have to deal with. As stated above, Im going to look into the animia thing a little closer.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

msacher63 - you amazed me with your entry in the "New member of survivor club" thread (where I said you must be 'a freak of nature'). There you counselled "patience" but obviously had a lot of difficulty practising what you were preaching. I identified strongly with you. I"m missing my regular 4 rounds of golf a week (one being in a league where I'm now bottom after missing the last three matches), I can't run, can't lift and, worst of all, am missing rowing which would be keeping my blood pressure down.

However, the way you and I are going about recovery is totally different. We have the makings of a little controlled experiment here. You are undoubtedly in much better condition than I am and more committed to serious competition. I'm guessing you also have a bit of an age advantage over me (I'm 69). That said, we both had radical nephrectomies, yours left and mine right. As garym informed me before my op. the right can be trickier and mine was, with much bleeding and a switch from lap. to open. This, and age perhaps, may explain why I was in hospital for 6 days while you went and startled the horses after not much more than a day from your op.

As we get older we should get wiser, via experience. I have an anecdote that's relevant here. Many (!) years ago, on a Saturday, I paid an early morning trip to a university gym to start getting back into shape after a layoff lasting months. I was going into the weights room for a gentle brief session when I bumped into a friend who had been on the uni's weightlifting team before me (although he's a little younger - undergrad when I was a postgrad). He became Scottish middleweight weightlifting champion around that time (back when the Clean and Press was still one of the Olympic Lifts) and was a very charismatic character who must have modelled himself on Errol Flynn. We always got on like a house on fire and had great fun in each other's company, so .... we did 3 hours of weightlifting training, including experiments with current ideas from the Bulgarian national coach. My pal was a great multi-sports performer and he persuaded me to follow that with 2 hours of trampolining at which he was a star performer and I was a relative novice but enthusiastic. I did the beginners moves while Steve did baranis and sky-high layout back somersaults. Eventually we'd had enough but by that time it had all become irredeemably macho and I can't remember who suggested the swimming. Anyway we then spent an hour swimming in the uni. pool. When we left I felt as though I could run a marathon (I have run a few marathons since then). The next day I felt surprisingly good - I could walk. The second day was a different story and I was scarcely able to move for the next 10 days. Needless to say it was many more weeks before I returned to the weightlifting club and a long while before I got back to the form I should have been in but for that foolhardy episode.

Now, I don't need to hurry. Do you really NEED to hurry? I had a pleasant 1 1/2 mile walk with my Wife today and we'll maybe walk a few miles tomorrow. I'm sure I could have walked ten miles today but I think it unlikely that it would have done me good. When I'm sure I'm ready I'll start to hit the weights and the rowing machine but I'll get there sooner by travelling more slowly.

As things are, you seem to be in great shape but tired all the time. I'm in pretty good shape and don't get tired at all - I'm writing and reading until about 1 a.m. and getting up 6 or so hours later feeling good and don't need any sleep, or even a rest, all day.

I don't have enough knowledge to say whether you've done yourself any harm that has led to all the tiredness. Perhaps all the exercise you're doing is fine so long as you get all the sleep it demands of you. But maybe not.

I'm hoping foxhd will feel able to comment and will put you back on the straight and narrow, if that's what's called for. Anyway, I hope you can shake the tiredness soon and that you'll be back performing the way you'd like to sooner rather than later.

T.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1710
Joined: Oct 2011

Anemia does seem to be a common thing. I was weak and short winded after my surgery.Blood work showed anemia. Never had it before. Began with iron pills and blood work returned to normal. 6 months later ,iron was on the low side, so I am again taking iron pills intermitantly.
Msacher63, You may have been running on adrenalin or instinct. But it may have caught up with you. We are not Rocky ,the Italian stallion.. We can't take a beating and just continue on as if nothing happened. If you need water, you get thirsty. If you are cold, you shiver. If you're hot, you sweat. When your body is cut open, organs removed, blood lost, drugs introduced, hoses and tubes stuck in places they don't belong, believe me, there has to be a reflexive action for self preservation. We have all heard of the fight or flight response to danger. There is a third. It is called laying low. Give yourself some time. Your body needs time and rest. If kidney surgery is all that happened to you, you will return to normal. But not today.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Following on from Fox's advice, I've researched a more conservative schedule for you:
First you'll need to scroll up to the opening message on this thread. Then scroll back down to here. That should be enough for today so now go and rest because we'll make an incremental increase in the workout tomorrow and don't undermine this exercise schedule by sneaking in any extra reps/sets!

Minnesota Girl's picture
Minnesota Girl
Posts: 114
Joined: Jul 2011

I am amazed by you guys who are back at everything so quickly! I had hand assisted lap surgery, was in the hospital 5 days and off work for 7 weeks. I only went back mornings the first two weeks and needed a nap every afternoon.

My energy took a very long, slow time to return. I'm now almost 6 months out and finally feel 100% at least 99% of the time. Along the way my primary doc recommended a B-complex supplement. I'm still taking it and it helps.

I think your body is telling you it needs more time to heal. As my husband reminds me, 'they stirred a lot of stuff around in there.' You're not a weenie if you need more rest. :)

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

First, being discharged from the hospital two DAYS after an open radical(at least I presume it was a radical?) - is phenomenal! Then, back to work in 3 WEEKS? I'm amazed that your doctor approved that.
You truly are a wonder! I'm also amazed that your doctor approved running and the gym so early.

Now, having said that, I think your extreme fatigue is because you ARE fatigued! You've undergone MAJOR surgery and have had a MAJOR organ removed! Your body has undergone a shock and it is struggling to make sense out of it all and 'reconfigure' itself to live life with one kidney. I'm thinking you aren't giving IT a chance to do all that. I realize how difficult it can be for someone as obviously active as you've always been - to 'slow down' a little but this isn't jut a case of hiccups. My surgeon and oncologist both told me that it can take up to a year for the body to adjust and for your energy/stamina levels to return to 'normal'. This isn't weakness on your part or 'giving in' or 'giving up'. You are the same person you were before surgery - but your body is not the same. You will get your energy back and you will do all the things you used to do and more - IF you give yourself the time needed to fully health/repair.

Hope I haven't offended you in any way - I can get on my soap-box occasionally. I hope you and yours have a beautiful holiday!

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I live in Scotland. I discovered and joined this site exactly a month ago after researching UK resources. The UK equivalent is less busy and vibrant than this site. I'd never heard of the American Cancer Society (it's good, isn't it?!). I got here by Googling "recuperation from radical nephrectomy" and promptly found the thread 'Recovering from radical nephrectomy'. Bingo, but that way I started in the middle and had not explored other parts of the ACS site.

I've now started delving into the site a bit more and been surprised to find how much of what we discuss has been well dealt with in other parts of the site. On the topics listed in my 'subject' line, there is superb treatment to be found. To get to this, click on the ACS logo at the top left of this page -> the Home page. Then go to "FIND SUPPORT AND TREATMENT' in the menu at the top of the page. From there, go to the "QUICK FINDER" menu (on the right, in purple) and select "Survivorship, During and After Treatment". The second item from the top is "STAYING ACTIVE' that will take you to "PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND THE CANCER PATIENT" and "HOME CARE FOR THE CANCER PATIENT: EXERCISE" both of which are worth reading.

Maybe, as newbies come on to these threads, we should point them to those articles as starting points after which they can benefit from the sense of community and friendship here, having got off to a fast start by reading those articles. I'm guessing I'm not alone in having found those items only after being on the threads for a while.

T.

msacher63
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks for all the responses. I followed the other thread (anemia) and printed sections of it to follow up on. My doctor wasn’t too keen on my going back to work so quickly and probably would have smacked me if he found out I went back to the gym as early as I did. I have been taking it easy for the last two weeks though. I’m starting to feel like a couch potato, but I’m sticking to the relaxing thing. Giving up any daily activity that is enjoyed will leave a void until you adjust. It’s not a macho thing, just time I put aside for myself. My running is a time for clearing out my head. I continue to walk the dogs and for now that’s it. I started taking Iron pills this week and will continue until I find out for sure from the blood work. I will also look into the B complex as well.

I think things are improving a little. I am definitely zeroing in on my limitations by the “day after lag”. So with the holidays behind us now, the hibernating can begin.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Maybe after you were last there, I posted (a couple of days ago) on the Anaemia thread. At the end I asked if anyone can throw light on the actual mechanism when patients get anaemic after nephrectomy. If you happen to get any info. on this from your doc. or anyone else, please enlighten me.

It's ironic that our 2 posts above crossed each other, with me quoting the ACS advocating exercise just as you're cutting it back. Fortunately, their advice is precisely the approach that foxhd advised you to take. So long as you 'make haste slowly' you'll be back around where you were before you know it.

T.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Mark, are you still taking iron (if so, what sort of preparation? - sulphate and gluconate, for example, seem to have different results for some people) or a B complex supplement? How are you getting on, fatigue-wise?

It's maybe a little soon (given the holiday period intervening) for your blood results but I'm intrigued to know what they reveal. With access to Sloan Kettering, you won't be short of local expertise! Although anaemia seems to be a well-established product of rad. neph. I still have no clue as to what the mechanism is, do you?

msacher63
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2011

I am still taking iron. Not sure exactly what kind. My wife had them and has been putting them in with my lunch every day. The fatique is getting better. I am back to the gym almost every day and my new routin alows 3 mile runs 3 times a week. I'm starting slow and and light and will try to bulk up a bit through the winter months then go hard on the cardio early spring to convert power to strength.

earnric's picture
earnric
Posts: 34
Joined: Jan 2012

Hey msacher63... Texas referred me over here to your thread. I had my partial nephrectomy on 29 Dec. I go in for my post-op 2 week check in 2 days. I feel fine except for some occasional kidney area pain. I stopped pain meds (for the most part) about 4 days ago.

Like you, I wanna get back to training/exercising. Before being diagnosed on 2 Dec, I had just completed IRONMAN AZ -- along with a several other triathlons during the year. The thought of not being able to run for another month or more is kind of depressing (although I shouldn't even mention the word given that it looks like the surgery is - hopefully - all I'll have as a reminder of this episode of my life!).

I guess I should take it uber-slow... But I'm hoping to do some short runs by the middle of next month... Any advice would be appreciated!

Rick

jhsu's picture
jhsu
Posts: 75
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Rick,

Linda is another long distance runner on the RCC list. You may want to check out how she recovered and back to the training on the thread "I can run today!". Page 3?

Jon

earnric's picture
earnric
Posts: 34
Joined: Jan 2012

Hey Jon, thx... I'll check it out right now!

Rick

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Yes, thanks from me too Jon. But Rick, I think the best thing on that thread is the remark by ibinmsp:

"Good for you!
Congratulations! BUT - remember that your body may have different plans."

I think that perfectly captures the message that Fox tries to convey to us. In fact, I'm going to start a new thread that I hope Fox will approve of and where I hope the likes of him, garym, Jamie1.3cm and others you've now encountered will dispense yet more of their wisdom born of experience.

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