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Going under the knife Monday morning.

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Hello all my name is Jeremy and I'm a soldier at FT Hood. Im having a complete right radical nephectomy tomorrow morning. My cancer was found by my pain managmet doc via mri while trying to figure out why I was having pain, numbness, and tingling in my lower extremities. They sent me to get a CT to confirm. From what I've been told they caught it very early and it's completely contained. Something I don't understand though is that they are not doing a laparoscopic surgery. They are doing an12 inch incision in my back and going in that way. I've also been told the tumor is only 4.5cm (not a complete measurement I know but that's what they told me). But then in the same breath they say the size of a baseball. 4.5 cm and a baseball are pretty far apart to me, but I'm not the doc so I'm just tryin to go with it. I'm hoping my age (I'm 33) will help me bounce back. I've always been pretty resilient and I'm hoping that will also aid in recovery. But I'm a realist so I'm preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best.

I'd be telling a lie i said that I wasn't scared. I'm flipping petrified of tomorrow, and I've had a roller coaster of emotions over the last two weeks. I am to the point where I just want it all to be over lol.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1568
Joined: Jan 2010

Irishguy1978,

Not fun being told that you have kidney cancer and than major surgery out of the gate. As for this being done laproscopically it has to do with the size and location of the tumor and also the surgeon and whether he has had laproscopic training which is limited to the younger set of surgeons and urologists out there.

Best wishes,

Icemantoo

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Maybe it has to do with the fact it was on the bottom pole of the kidney do you think?

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Jeremy,

First of all, I just want to say thank you for your service to our country. Doesn't seem fair that while you're protecting all of us, you have to go through this, too.

The fact that they caught your cancer early and that it's contained is great news. I'm not going to lie, the first couple of days after surgery are not great, but they just weren't terrible to me. You'll have pain meds to get you through the pain and, depending on the time of your surgery, you'll be up and walking either that day, or the next.

The worst part for me were the days waiting for the surgery and as of tomorrow, your wait will be over. I am 47, so you are a lot younger them me, so you will do fine. I have to preface this by saying that everyone is different, but I was out scrubbing the porch off and preparing for a wedding shower for my son and DIL, at 3 weeks post-op. Now I'm over 7 months post-op. I still have some swelling if I'm on my feet for too long, but nothing I can't live with.

You'll be in my prayers tomorrow and like I said, before you know it, you'll be on the other side of this whole thing. Keep busy today to pass the time quickly. Good luck to you and I'll be thinking of you tomorrow!

Blessings,
Lisa

livealive's picture
livealive
Posts: 127
Joined: Feb 2012

Pre-surgery was a nightmare - recovering was not that difficult, it's been 6 weeks now, some pain if get stressed (family et. al, and I try - believe me)...I had some night sweats and fever for 2 weeks, which got better..
My worry is they put me at stage 3, and not giving me any options..except the warnings of 40% recurrence possibility...but if your thing is contained, you should be fine...
Surgery will go fine, leave your imagination at the door, being in the army - you have seen worst...
Raj

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Thanks for the comments :-) yeah my imagination is going crazy. I've been looking all over the net to try to find video of the surgery so I'll know what they are doing. Idk maybe that's the military in me wanting to know all the info I can so I can plan for a contingency. lol

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Thank you for the prayers and kind words. I was weeks from exiting the army via medical retirement when they found this out. The worst thing about everything is that (and I know this sounds superficial) but I had VIP tickets to see the band Third Day on the 23rd of march. God used their music to keep me out of a lot of valleys and also brought me from the brink of suicide during a really tough deployment to Iraq. I wanted to maybe even shake their hands and tell them that. Now I don't know if I'll be able to or not.

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

I'd be petrified too on the info. you've got. Maybe other folks' baseballs look that small to people in the 2nd largest State in the Union! I hope they can recognise a kidney and can tell your back from your front!

I can't believe this is army humour and someone is just winding you up. If the tumour is really only 4.5cm laparoscopic surgery and a partial nephrectomy would have seemed more appropriate. Perhaps they don't have the high level of expertise needed for that, in which case it makes more sense that they're going open and perhaps the location of the tumour suggests that route in. Can you get a bit more explanation out of your surgeon at this late stage of proceedings?

Anyway, at 33, fit and resilient, with an early stage tumour that's completely contained, you should be fine and fully functional again much more quickly than most of us. You shouldn't need any luck and I won't wish you the luck of the Irish - instead I'll wish you the very best of luck. Now I'm off to watch Ireland play France in the 6 nations rugby tournament and hope to hear from you soon what a laugh it all turned out to be! Again, best of luck.

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

I did some asking the other docs and some research (not sure how reliable) but from what i was told the complete nephrectomy was the best option for me recovery wise and gave the best prognosis. I'm actually not having army doctors doing the cutting. They screwed up a couple other surgeries and i'm having this one done off post. The guy is supposed to be really good and to correct and clarify, the 4.5 number came from the imaging tech and the baseball reference came from the doctor.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1934
Joined: Oct 2011

Don't listen to every one else. It is a well known secret that nephrectomy is a completely painless procedure. Most of us have had it done purely for a rapid weight loss. That and being able to get out of doing yard work for a few days. Get new batteries for your remote and relax. You'll do fine regardless of whatever technique they choose. Our bodies heal amazingly well. Good luck tomorrow.

of course, you know I'm only kidding about the first part.

Fox

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Oh yeah I figured it would be like getting a hangnail removed LMBO. jk. I have a very special lady who will be taking care of me. I'm doing my convalescent leave in OK where all my family is. They can take care of me but they just can't afford to come down here. I welcome leaving this post for awhile. It's getting WAY too crowded and I live on post think could use a break from the green machine. That and I think I will recover being around the positive and spiritual environment of my fam instead of my myself here. The wife left me a little over a year ago after her gastric bypass surgery. So I'd be on my own down here if I didn't make the trip. The doc said I'd be fine, but to just stop ever hour to stretch and move around to keep from getting post surgical thrombosis.

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

LOL @ Fox.

Jeremy, glad you have a "special lady" to take care of you after surgery.

Note to self: Don't ever let hubby get gastric bypass surgery.

LOL JUST kidding He doesn't need it anyway. But still, that's a good note to self, just in case.

Blessings,
Lisa

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

Lucky you added that last bit Fox or you might have suffered an incision yourself - with an ice-pick and it wouldn't have been sugar-coated :)

Jeremy, the doctor may not be a baseball expert but it's good to hear you have an expert surgeon. It occurs to me that your past medical history and less than perfect operations (so much for military precision!) may explain the way this one is going to be carried out. As Fox says, you'll do fine.

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

Jeremy, OK = UK, right? and UK = OK, right on!

By the way, it's way too crowded here too but the company is great. Oh, and here a green machine is a Vitamix.

Ireland trouncing France in Paris as I write - yippee!

Michael6701
Posts: 26
Joined: Sep 2011

My UCSF surgeon is one of the premier laporascopic kidney surgeons in the Northern California (he teaches it as well) but he wouldn't do my partial nephrectomy that way - he said it was too risky. He went in from the flank with about an 8" incision. The CT scan showed my tumor at 4.5cm and it turned out to be 5cm. One would expect that to be done laporascopically; but, my kidney sets a little higher than normal and the tumor was on the top of the upper pole. Just supposition on my part, but it may also have something to do with the make-up of the tumor. My tumor was partially cystic and I think there is a greater risk of spread with those than with a solid mass.

Despite the method, mine went very well and I was off pain meds in less than a week. As for healing I think I did about as well as those with laporascopic surgery. I was walking the 2nd day, functioning fairly normally within 2 weeks, and playing golf in just over a month.

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Waiting to go back I'll post when I can :) #prayers

One Lucky Girl's picture
One Lucky Girl
Posts: 68
Joined: Feb 2012

Hi Irish Guy,

It'll be over with before you know it. We're thinking of you. Just keeping visualizing yourself as strong and healthy on the other side of this surgery doing something you love.

Looking forward to hearing from you in a few days.

ytak28's picture
ytak28
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

Hello- First thank you for protecting our freedom!!! I had my partial open on March 2nd and am not going to lie the first 24 hours were pretty rough, they had a hard time getting my pain under control. My best advise is to stay on top of the nurses if what they are giving you is not helping tell them and make them adjust your meds the only way you are going to heal is by getting sleep and being able to get up and moving which requires your pain to be under control. I was discharged 48 hours after my surgery and am amazed at how well I feel. Don't get me wrong I still have quite a bit of pain put the oral meds are keeping it under control. I am walking around the house as much as possible and even climbed some stairs today. Stay positive and soon this will all be behind you. Stay connected to your friends on here they have been my life line. Please keep us posted when you can. You will be in my thoughts!

Katy

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

Since Lisa missed the opportunity, may I caution you Katy not to give Fox any more ideas with recommendations such as your suggestion: "My best advise is to stay on top of the nurses" . I suppose it's just as well that he's married to a nurse! I don't imagine your advice would lie well, so to speak, with Jeremy right now but hopefully it may not be too long before he's up to it.

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

Bahahahahaaaaaaaa! TX, I nearly spit my water all over the computer screen. LOL!!!

ytak28's picture
ytak28
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

TX you crack me up!!! but i do have to mention I had a few very good looking male nurses, most of the time i asked them to leave and requested a female nurse I didnt want any cutie see me like I looked after surgery lol

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

Katy, before surgery, I had a very young man come into my little pre-surgery waiting room and he had those long compression socks to put on me. I asked if I could do it myself and he said he had to. Here I am laying there in a gown and nothing else and those socks looked like they'd go quite a ways up the leg. I let him start and then said "I'm sorry, but I had to have a female nurse". That young man looked like he was MAYBE 23 years old. Younger then my son! I'm all for equality and all that, but there are just some things I am not subjecting myself to for the sake of equality. LOL

Blessings,
Lisa

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

Still praying for you, Jeremy! You'll probably be waking up pretty soon, now.

karl2012k's picture
karl2012k
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2012

Best of luck 2morrow m8, u will b fine I ha d a radical nephrectomy and was home to watch coronation street no drains no pain med no support from district nurses.
All the irish luck will be with you

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

Karl, "the luck of the Irish" means bad luck so wish him something better. This is an American site - most folks here will never have heard of the British soap Coronation St.

If you were at home watching Corrie on TV six hours after leaving the operating theatre, after a 4 1/2 hour open abdominal surgery, with no pain medication and visiting a gym (which one?) within 2 weeks, I'd love to know what species you belong to.

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

The luck of the Irish means bad luck?? But I'm Irish!! I always thought it was something good. :o/

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

[Lisa, please make my apologies to your computer.]

Many people think of shamrock and leprechauns and what one might wish for and therefore suppose that Irish luck means good luck. However, the origin of the expression is in the discrimination against Irish immigrants who accordingly saw getting the short end of the stick as "the luck of the Irish". Understandably it's the same, very productive, vein of self-deprecatory ironic observation that is a stock-in-trade of Jewish humour. Essentially it's like saying "just my luck!" - a plaintive cry always to be heard on a golf course, as every golfer can attest.

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

So Tiger got kind of a double dose of "The luck of the Irish" at the Honda last weekend...loved every minute of it.

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

Time warps here? According to the time tabs, I answered Lisa's posting before it appeared!

I didn't see any of it Gary - did Tiger feel he had bad luck?

There was a jocular exchange in our House of Commons last Wednesday between Prime Minister David Cameron and Nigel Dodds of the Democratic Unionist Party on a report that N. Ireland has been discovered to be the happiest area of the UK - and that was before our Holywood star hit the top!

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

TX, when you register for the site, there is a Time Zone setting. Because of where you live, the time stamp on the posts will probably always appear to be messed up. It's either that, or you're a mind reader and you knew what I was going to post before I posted it. I'd go with the latter. It sounds more exciting. lol

Blessings,
Lisa

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

TX, that is so interesting. I never knew that. Here I always thought being Irish meant you were lucky. LOL

Blessings,
Lisa

adobe
Posts: 72
Joined: Feb 2012

Hello= we are all waiting to hear how you are doing!

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Things are going as well as can be expected. I stood up a couple of times to the amazement of the nurses, but it was because I couldnt lay still. My mom made it down. It's taking a huge amount of effort just to type this message out.

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

Great to hear from you, Jeremy! I'm so glad your Mom is with you. Every day you'll feel better and better. Any idea when you're getting out of the hospital?

Blessings,
Lisa

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

Now take it easy and do as you're told, you'll be back to your old self before you know it.

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

Put Katy's advice to "stay on top of the nurses" on hold for the time being, especially with your Mom there.

Even though you're a soldier and tough as old boots, don't try to emulate Katy, and now Karl, in setting new records for recovery. Rather 'make haste slowly' , then, as Gary put it "you'll be back to your old self before you know it".

ytak28's picture
ytak28
Posts: 12
Joined: Jan 2012

now now TX you know I didn't mean to stay "on top of the nurses" literally... I just meant my night nurse would not listen to me when I said the pain was not under control- it took multiple calls to her crying before she would listen and finally adjust them after I had the pain under control I was able to get up and move and finally get some sleep which is essential to healing. Hope you are on your feet again soon Jeremy- you will be in my thoughts :)

KT

cww71964's picture
cww71964
Posts: 95
Joined: Dec 2011

Thank you for your service! Great to hear it went well and you are up. For me the difference between the second and third day was like night and day. Today marks 7 weeks for me and I feel good other than a cold I am suffering through at the moment. I was back to work in 3 weeks, pretty much all normal activities at 6. I am 47, so your youth will be an asset.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery,
Wayne

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1934
Joined: Oct 2011

Reminds me of the nurse who went missing over at the boat launch....They found her under the Doc.

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

LOL!!! Now THAT was funny! My husband catches me sitting here laughing til I'm in tears sometimes. I know he thinks we all need help. LOL

LISAinTN's picture
LISAinTN
Posts: 143
Joined: Aug 2011

....but Wayne, I'm 47, too! Aren't we still "youth"? Even though I can't remember anyone's name anymore or my own half the time, for that matter. Even though I run downstairs and hit the bottom step and forget what I was down there for, and a host of other like things, we're still youthful, aren't we?!?! Heck, sometimes I still think I just graduated from high school last week. LOL

Blessings,
Lisa

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1934
Joined: Oct 2011

Despite this journey, I also feel young. I hit the big 6-0 this month, but most of the time I feel like I'm in my late 30s. OK, maybe 40. But thats all. Staying in shape has it's benefits. I am still more active than everyone I know. I run circles around my son who is 35. Maybe I'm just immature. But I like the saying about "Aging is mandatory, but growing up isn't."

j_rod
Posts: 125
Joined: Mar 2012

I am glad you are up and about a little. I hope you recover quickly - keep us posted.

sdjohnson
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2012

Hello Jeremy! Just wanted to tell you i will keep you and my prayers and i understand the fear you are feeling because i have my surgery 03/14/12 and i'm very scared but I know GOD will keep us both safe. Take care

Irishguy1978's picture
Irishguy1978
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2012

Pain wise it very manageable. It mostly feels like u was in one heck of a bar fight and took all body shots. I made myself stand the Tuesday because I had to take pressure off my side. The bad thing was all the nurses were 5'2" or under and had absolutely no upper body strength. That made things interesting. They brought up a guy and a girl from physical therapy which helped me out a lot. Wednesday I was walking down the hallway and stuff the pain being worse when I was laying down than standing up. They kept askinme if i had passed gas. Which i finally did on wednesday. Thursday just before dinner the doc said he was going to cut me loose. I have a follow up to get the staples out on Monday. The only problem I am having is that I cannot go #2 yet, and that's starting to worry me a bit but my doc said it would come in time. Apparently knowing that I can pass gas tells them everything is working ok. But it sure doesn't feel like it lol.

Am i correct in reading that magnesium based laxitives are no-go's for nephrectomy patients? Something about toxic buildup of magnesium sulfate in the good kidney?

rae_rae's picture
rae_rae
Posts: 268
Joined: Oct 2010

And doing better. It takes time after abdominal surgery to get your bowels working again...as long as you are passing gas you are ok. Stool softeners and lots and lots of water will help. Small meals helps too, otherwise you get more gas pain. I wouldn't use a laxative, personally. I think you will find everyone here has experienced slow bowels after surgery.

Beingbless
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi,
I just have a radical laposcopic kidney removed 2.5 weeks ago, my doctor told me I can go back to work at anytime since i work infront the computer. Here, I'm still so sore and in pain here and there, feel tied all the time, I just wasn't sure why he said that. Therefore, I asked for another two weeks leave.

Any one know what is the normal recovery time? And when can be driving?

Thanks

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1934
Joined: Oct 2011

Glad you are home. Senecot is the stool softener used most often to help you go after surgery. It can be bought over the counter. I hope everything works out OK for you!

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1568
Joined: Jan 2010

Beingbless,

At 2 and 1/2 weeks you are probably able to go back to work at a desk job---just not 8 hours a day. More like 2 hours a day at first. Give it a couple more weeks and you will be much stronger and less tired. You also should be able to drive for short distances. If either of these is pushing it pull back for a further week or two.

Icemantoo

j_rod
Posts: 125
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi! I am glad you are released and on the road to recovery. I have not yet had my operation. But I have heard about the irregularity. I have found a couple of food items that have made me run smoother on irregular times. First, there is a cereal called Cracklin Oat Bran. It tastes good and it keeps me regular. I do drink a lot of water when I use it or it could backfire. I only eat a handful or two as a snack with a bottle of water. Followed by more water - which you are probably doing anyway. The second is cauliflower. Steam a head of cauliflower, drain the water off, add a little butter, milk, salt, pepper, and mash it all up like you're making mashed potatoes. It's a miracle worker.Glad you are home and the pain is managable.

Beingbless
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2012

Thanks iceman for your advice.

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