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Nutrition after nephrectomy

mike4ncstate's picture
mike4ncstate
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

After having a right, radical nephrectomy on 3/12/12, my doctor has stressed that I need to be very aware of optimal solitary kidney health. All I have been told is to avoid contact sports, tea, spinach, nuts, chocolate and all colas. This list seemed very vague. Any more specific resources, recommendations regarding nutrition (foods to eat and those to avoid) and keeping the one kidney as healthy as possible? At 41 years old, I hope to keep my kidney for a VERY long time. Thanks in advance.

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

Hi Mike,

Welcome to the club, the initiation sucks! As far as diet is concerned low sodium and low protein are preferred and some suggest watching phosphorus as well. I eat almost no beef or pork sticking with chicken, turkey, and fish in small portions due to protein. This is the first I've heard as far as avoiding spinach, chocolate, and colas, you'll probably get some opinions on that. Hydration is perhaps more important than diet, you want to make sure that you drink plenty of water every day, 8 x 8 is a good rule of thumb. All in all there are very few worries and you can live a long and "normal" life with one kidney.

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

Since you've no longer got a spare, your doctor is right to advise you to look after your remaining one. The advice to avoid all colas is just basic good advice which applies to every member of our species.

If the rest of the advice is also his/hers, you don't know how lucky you are to have a doctor who is expert in renal medicine and in sports injuries and in dietetics!

What you need is a normal good diet with an emphasis on plenty of fluids, fruit and vegetables, no processed meats of any kind, not much red meat, instead chicken, turkey and plenty of fish, especially oily fish.

Whoever fed you the crap about tea, spinach, nuts and chocolate probably belongs in the loony bin. If you're contemplating professional wrestling or cage fighting, forget it. Otherwise, don't eschew contact sports just on the outside chance that you might get a freak injury. Nobody would play rugby, American football and a host of other sports if they needed certainty that they would not suffer any head or neck injuries. You're unlikely to choose to do anything that makes damage to your kidney at all likely. Apart from that go on and enjooy a long normal life.

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 860
Joined: Mar 2012

I had my stopwatch set for how long it would take for you to respond to this posting. No spinach!!!!

mike4ncstate's picture
mike4ncstate
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

The spinach had to do with avoiding kidney stones. I have never had stones and I don't think there is too much of a risk for me as I don't eat a lot of it anyway, but then there isthe WHY RISK IT? FACTOR. As a newbie, I am grateful for all advice.

Did you all still feel exhausted at this point, post surgery? I had been feeling run down since Saturday, flu like, went to the doc and all was ok. Good blood work and clear lungs.

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

It's sensible to seek advice but not to accept whatever you're told without trying to assess its accuracy. There's a lot of good advice to be found about diet but there's a lot of the other kind too. The oxalate argument about kidney stones might have some merit IF you're bent on eating excessive amounts of animal protein, large amounts of salt and refined sugars and not drinking enough liquids. Anyway, as you've said, Mike, it's an irrelevancy for you.

Were you told why to avoid tea (and what type of tea would that be)? What was it suggested that you should eat?

People vary greatly in their response to surgery but procedures also vary greatly. What does your path report look like Mike and was it a lap procedure or open surgery? I don't think you should be exhausted at this point.

You've asked about our personal experiences and i have to say I've felt very sore immediately after returning home but not exhausted at all after major open surgery in December for a 9cm. tumour. I had a second open op. on Friday and got home late yesterday evening. I got up at 6 a.m. I've been fairly active all day today, it's getting on for midnight now and I'm not tired, let alone exhausted.

My guess is that you're young, fit and active and you've been trying to do too much too soon. If your doc says you're not ill, that's great and you probably just need to ease back a bit and not push yourself too hard. We've had a few crack athletes on here who got very tired purely as a result of pushing too hard too soon. So, give your body enough of a chance to recover from what was a very major piece of surgery.

mike4ncstate's picture
mike4ncstate
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2012

Thanks again. I do think I have pushed myself too far. I am 41 and quite active. Path report was 4cm tumor, RCC. The surgery was an open surgery as well. It was supposed to have been a partial nephrectomy, but I began bleeding severely and they took the entire kidney rather than opt for more blood loss and a definite blood transfusion.

As for the nutrition part, I was just told "tea", no specifics and I love tea, green tea and black tea especially. I haven't been given a "what to eat" or true specifics as to what not to eat, only the vagueness stated earlier in this thread. That's my dilemma...truly consistent resources are non-existent unless anyone knows of some.

If i may ask, why did you have two open surgeries? Pardon my ignorance, I am new to this.

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

The outlook for you looks good Mike. Just take it a bit easier until you've healed up for a few more weeks. Your doctor was just being cautious, counselling a sensible life-style to protect your remaining kidney. If you eat a normal sort of diet along the general lines we've indicated, you don't really need to worry about your nutrition.

I needed a second op because I'm stage 4, grade 4 with sarcomatoid change, meaning a now very aggressive form of cancer. By the time of my first op the tumour was no longer contained and I had an immediate recurrence in the renal bed - a new tumour which they removed on Friday. I now have the dreaded wait to see whether that's it or whether it's spread further. If so, it will be another bridge to cross.

JackieP125's picture
JackieP125
Posts: 55
Joined: Jan 2012

I lost my right kidney 3 months ago. Your surgery sounds a lot like mine. I was not told what not to eat just what over the counter drugs to stay away from. However, I googled "living with one kidney" and found that we can eat what we want in moderation. I still drink a couple of beers here and there. Once in awhile I will have tea or soda but not too often. Of course my two cups of coffee in the morning is a must. Sorry to meet you on this website but it sounds like you are doing well. Take care.

j_rod
Posts: 125
Joined: Mar 2012

You will find information on diet and exercise here and throughout the internet. If you have questions about the diet the doctor prescribed for you, ask him/her next time you see him. My doctor didn't recommend anything except lots of water. I, too, have to have one or two cups of coffee in the a.m. Other than that, i'm flexible. PS Jackie, what OTC meds were you told to avoid? I need to know because - in season - I take OTC allergy meds when the sneezing and itching kick in to high gear. Thanks

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