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Recovery seems stuck in time

Boolea
Posts: 28
Joined: Oct 2012

On Friday I was six weeks out from my partial nephrectomy, done laparscopically.  I did very well just post-op but I'm feeling frustrated as I seem to be pretty much the same every day.  I seem to be ok if I don't do anything, but if I go out food shopping or just try and do a little housework my stomach swells up and I get crampy and tired.  I've been working four hours a day and then I have to come home and rest.  I have no stamina.

I had a hysterectomy three years ago and I recall feeling better at this point, and that was a full incision surgery.  I also have fibromyalgia, so could expect a slower recovery than most, maybe...but just wondering what others' experiences have been.  I have a lot that I want to do and I'm feeling frustrated that I seem to not be improving very quickly.

Happy New Year to all,

Boolea

 

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

We've seen a few here go through this and push too hard, especially when they're feeling very good, and then live to regret it.  By being too impatient they ended up by delaying their recovery.

So, Boo, make haste slowly - stay active but not overdoing it.  Just believe that we're all different, not least in our routes back in recovery, and it will get better in your body's own time, so give it a chance.

 

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1557
Joined: Jan 2010

Boolea,

 

Everybody has a little different recovery based in part on their general heath and past medical history. Take it one day at a time  until YOU feel you are ready no trips to Vegas or roller coaster rides. Nine months from now you should be ready for both. Icemantoo

Boolea
Posts: 28
Joined: Oct 2012

I'm trying to stay as active as I can, and resting when I need to.   I'm being a good patient.  I am only working about 4 hours per day.  We are in the throes of winter here and it has been very cold and snowing, so my walks have been few and far between.  But I do walk a lot at work.

I live alone so there are things that come up that need to be done and I hate calling anybody because they are all busy and live aways from me.  I need to get some ice melt for my front steps and maybe some sand but I can't carry the bags to put them inside my front door.  I can't open my garage door.

These kinds of things are driving me bananas...

This whole experience would be easier with a partner, but that is not the case and I am taking good care of my solo self.

OK, I'm venturing into Venting territory here.  As I look out my window at the snow falling I think:  what a long winter it's going to be.  But I'm also thinking:  thank god I'm here to greet the new year!

Boolea

Bubbs21
Posts: 44
Joined: Jul 2012

I had my partial laprascopic nephrectomy on Nov 7th.  Initial recovery felt like a breeze, minimal pain and swelling, no pain meds., lots of walking.  I returned to work fulltime after 5 weeks.  I have had excrutiating pain in my left flank, the area of my kidney surgery, every day since going back to work.  I followed up with the surgeon last week.  He sent me to ER to get an urgent CT.  Apparently it showed nothing unusual, but there was stranding at the surgical site and around the aorta.  Although they will repeat the CT in 3 months, I was advised to take tylenol , return to work and suck it up.  My pain varies from 3 (after tylenol) to 8. My hyster was also easier. 

My real concern is that the path report did not show clear or negative margins, and the pain is unbearable 50% of the time. I have made an appointment with my GP for this week to investigate further.

Boo, you are fortunate to have the flexibilty of returning to work part-time.  Take care and listen to your body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brea588's picture
brea588
Posts: 114
Joined: Jul 2012

Its beginning to look like a female sort of thing lol.  I had partial neph Aug 28th  and done better as far as recovery  then, than I have since November.  Had to go back on pain meds,  back hurt me so bad where  surgery was,  then Doc put me on muscle relaxers and that helped a little.  Still have pain in my back most all time.  If I stand in one spot for very long I have pain,  such as waiting in line at grocery, washing dishes, etc...  I get tired very easily,  after 3 or 4 hours of being up and doing daily activities  I am ready for a rest.  I have heart problems and lung disease that I am sure plays into this also.  But I make myself get up and move, go out, I work a little part time seeing patients in home health and try to get my stamina back.  Doc said 6 months I should be back to myself and not to push it.  But I understand where you both are coming from.  I want to be better right now!!!!   lol.  Hope you both get to doing better.  Have a wonderful New Year.

rae_rae's picture
rae_rae
Posts: 267
Joined: Oct 2010

I had a radical nephrectomy in 2010. I went back to work after seven weeks and was exhausted and had pain. It took a full year for me to get my stamina back. I did have a few other issues (B12 deficiency, anemia, breathing issues from an incision close to my chest wall and large hematoma that still plagues me) that didn't help, but the recovery from a nephrectomy is tougher than a hysterectomy from my personal experience and what I've read from others. It will get better, just know what you are going through is common for many of us.

 

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1921
Joined: Oct 2011

There is a pretty consistant theme re: nephrectomy recovery. It is amazing to most that the recovery seems to take a year, give or take. It seems that renal surgery changes us permanantly. I think it takes so long to adjust to because it takes a long time for our bodies to identify that it is no longer the same as it was.  With time what is different with us becomes our new normal. There is no short cut. My observation is to learn to influence the adaptations we make as opposed to letting it just happen. We will become different. Make these adjustments based on our ability to create lifestyle changes such as better diet, exercise and attitude. We become the new "us".

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

Well put, as ever, Fox - I'll go with that plan.

Boolea
Posts: 28
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks for your insights, as always.  Three years ago when I had a hysterectomy my doctor said it would be a full year before I wouldn't think about it anymore.  At the time, I was like:  a Year? Are you kidding me? But then I saw what she meant.  It didn't mean I would be miserable and in pain for a year, it just took that long to gradually build up to normal activities and not have any reminder of the surgery at all.

I like your thoughts on a "new normal".  This is my third surgery since 2009, and I'm not young anymore (51).  I'm sure my body is saying: whoa, hang on there, let me figure this all out...:-)

There is that positive side to things.  I have been thinking about diets and getting more exercise, and focusing on positives.  Grabbing some happiness for myself.  I don't want to think that my future years could be limited, but this does cause me to think.  I had wanted to move and get a new job this year, and I may actually stay put, as my health insurance and benefits are really good where I am (I work in a hospital).  And having that understanding boss is a HUGE bennie for me.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Boo

Boolea
Posts: 28
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi Bubbs,

You and I had the same surgery.  I guess I'm thinking since I did not have a kidney removed that I should be recovering more quickly.  But you were able to work full-time at 5 weeks? Wow.  It's now 5 weeks for me and I get exhausted after 4 hours at work.  Plus I'm having trouble sleeping, therefore I can't get up early.

I'm sorry that you are having awful pain.  I think we can expect any and every type of pain and ache in this recovery.  I've had aching, sharp pain, spasm, and even cramping that feels menstrual.  Which, lol, is impossible!  But I hope you can identify what is causing the extreme pain, or that it goes away soon for you.  Was your hysterectomy full-incision or laparascopic?

What is stranding?

Yes, I am fortunate in being able to work shorter hours for an extended time.  My boss is very good about that.  But I want to be back full-time, things are piling up.  I just have to reach in and find some more patience in myself.

The happiest of new years to you, and may you be pain-free and fully back to normal asap!

Boo

rochetkak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi There!! I will be 2 weeks post op a open radical right nephrectomy 1/17/2013.  I was debating when or if I will be returning to work. I also was considering half days for a few weeks. As of right now I am in way too much pain to even think about work.  My stamina is very low i am tired all the time so I know I wont make it working 8 hours a day.  I am still taking too many pain pills to even think about driving. I get my staples out on 1/18/2013 and there is 45 of them. My tumor was contained inside the kidney at was 11cm large. I havent found out yet if it was cancer. 

After reading all the threads for your post I am guessing this surgery is a very slow recovery!! Any suggestions or tiips for a quicker recovery is appreciated :)

Thank you :)

 

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1557
Joined: Jan 2010

roch,

 

At 11 cm and 45  staples you are going to take a little longer than most of us to get back to work. Do what you feel your body lets you do without pushing yourself. You just had major surgery. 11cm is a ;ot to deal with. The chances are that it is Cancer and you are at risk for recurrance if you do not do everything just right.

 

Icemantoo

Islandart's picture
Islandart
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2013

Roch,

 

One of my primary docs said it best this is a recovery that you measure q week at a time. You have weeks of recovery ahead of you. Take the pain meds as needed if you can tough it out with minimal pain meds the better. Remember major surgery also involves some major anesthesia. It also may take weeks to disapate from your sustem completely. I didn't go back to any full time for at least 4 weeks and they were still short days. Consider an abrdiged schedule for now like 4 or 5 hour days but not till you are through the first few weeks rest watch some tube read a book and sleep in the afternoon. Your body will thank you. Be well.

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

Roch,

Water and walking are the two things that seem to aid recovery the most.  Your body needs plenty of water to speed the healing process, it helps all of your bodily functions and flushes all the bad stuff out.  Walking, even short distances several times a day improves circulation and provides a sense of accomplishment as the distance and pace you are able to reach continues to increase.  Start slow and work your way up, when you can walk for an hour without much pain you can start thinking about returning to work part time.  Mine was a lap. neph. (much easier/shorter recovery) and I was back working part time in about two weeks, but I drive a desk, much depends also on what your work is.  Once you've turned the corner things will improve quickly, but don't push it or you'll wind up taking a step backwards.  The tortoise wins this race.

Hang in there,

Gary

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