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open partial nephrectomy

amkimball's picture
amkimball
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi, I'm new to this site and have been looking for some advice.  I am 48 and I was diagnosed with RCC ( 2.5cm tumor, left lower kidney) mid-December 2012 and I am due for a open partial nephrectomy on 1/17/2013.  Can anyone give me some sound advice on what to expect for the surgery and what to expect when I come home.  Also, what type of meds will I need to take after surgery, with the exception of pain meds.  Thank you.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1559
Joined: Jan 2010

Welcome to the club. The surgery is no picnic, but we all go thru it. I can give you some generalizations about what to expect. A couple days  in the hospital. A week to 10 days on the couch. Starting at about 2 weeks do normal things for a couple hours a day and going back to a full time schedule a month or 2 after that. No medication other than for pain the first few days. At 2.5cm from the surgery aalone you should have a full recovery, just take it easy at first.

 

Icemantoo

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

That's a good quick rundown by iceman. 

You shouldn't need any kind of extra medication but do take take pain meds for as long as you need them because you'll heal faster if you're not in pain.  

Make sure you get plenty of fluid intake and, as soon as you're up to it, get into regular walking.

You have a tiny tumour and it's in the best location - bottom end and left kidney so the op is just about certain to cure you completely so that you'll join the ranks of those who've had cancer but no longer have it.

You've said "I've learned that my life could be cut short" but it's very unlikely indeed that it will be cut short by kidney cancer.

 

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

Hi Am,

NICE SNAKE!!  In a few short weeks you are likely to be going about the business of living the next 50 years without ever having to worry about RCC again.  Other than follow up tests for a few yaers and a nice scar (great conversation piece btw) to remind you, nothing need change.  You've got a couple weeks, my advice is start exercising now if you haven't already, it will help a great deal with recovery.  Hydration is also important, drinking plenty of water now and after surgery will help your body heal.  Walking early and often following surgery as Tex mentioned is key.  Keep us posted and we'll help you through it any way we can.

Good luck and Godspeed,

Gary

amkimball's picture
amkimball
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

Thank you all for the support that you have given me.  It puts me at a little more ease.  I will follow up with everything.  Thank you again.

Rocklady62
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2012

I am female, age 62. Had a radical on Right kidney in 2004. Had a partial on left kidney in 2009. About a 6 " scar on left side. You'll be sore for a few weeks but if you go slow, you'll do fine. Slept in my lazy boy for a few weeks, because it was too painful to lay down. But that will go away. I ate a lot of fruit and drank a lot of Gatorade. Even if your're not thirsty, drink. The only feeling that was weird is that it feels like your stomach muscles are not working. My doctor let me wear a binder, like a back belt. It helped keep my stomach tighter when I would get up and down. But you have to ask your doctor first.  Just try to sit on chairs that aren't real low making it harder to get out. Never took anything but Tylenol. No other drugs. You'll do fine. Just take it easy and let your family help you. I'm used to doing everything myself and the hardest part was asking for help. As soon as I came home, after being in  the hospital 3 days,I wrapped my stomach in Saran wrap and took a shower. My husband went to work and the kids weren't home. They were mad when they found out, but oh well. Just get up and deal with the pain and you'll do better. If you stay inactive you will do much worse. Good luck. Popsicles and fudgesicles are good too!!  Debbie

 

amkimball's picture
amkimball
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2013

Great advice, my surgery is on the 17th of this month (the anxiety is starting up)....I'm heading out today or tomorrow to purchase a new recliner.  I will get back to everyone once I get home.  Thanks all, for the great advice.  Smile

Maisie49
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2012

Hello everyone - I am new to this site.    I had my surgery on Nov. 26 and just wanted to let the other "newbee" know that everything is good on the other side.   Mine was clear renal cell - 5 cm and encapsulated in the kidney.   It was a grade 3 on the Fuhrman scale.   My doctor told me that I am cured but that we will be friends for life.   Her office called today to schedule the next set of tests and follow up visit.   I must admit it "shook my world" but I have decided to be positive.  We have a saying "Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you!".    I have read tons of posts and found lots of encouragement here.   Thank you everybody.

 

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1923
Joined: Oct 2011

Welcome to your new life. No longer can you take your health for granted. Stay aware. Keep your appts. Enjoy every day and love your family. Your lives have changed. Just stay well informed so future decisions are educated. And pease share your experience and advice with others. Fox.

todd121
Posts: 593
Joined: Dec 2012

I had a radical on my right kidney, but it was done by laproscopy. On the other hand, they had to make a 6-7 inch incision to get the kidney out, so I'd say it was sort of a combo.

I had stairs in my house, so I got a small fridge and a microwave and put it in my upstairs bedroom so I didn't have to do stairs the first few days. However, I think I could have managed the stairs. I came home on day 3. I am sensitive to pain meds. The morphine and other similar drugs made me really nauseous (and the anti-nausea medicine didn't help). I found out tramadal was something I could take that didn't make me nauseous. I only took the tramadal the first day or two I got home, then stopped.

One of the most frustrating things was the constipation following the surgery. It's common. When I got home I made sure to eat fruits, oatmeal, and drank prune juice and took a mild laxative (I used senna which is a very mild laxative with a stool softener). I kept at this until things started working. For me, I went home on a Wednesday (surgery on Monday), but didn't have a bowel movement until Friday night.

I was able to take a shower right away. They put some kind of glue over my incisions. You better ask about that. I had no stitches. It was all glue. They said no baths for a few weeks.

I made sure to drink lots of water also. It's something I have to make myself do.

Do the breathing exercises. Cough when you need to. Hold a pillow against your stomach.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. In the hospital, push the button if you need something. If they don't come, push it again. It's something I had a hard time with (asking for help). Walk as soon as you can. I found walking a lot at home helped. It felt better to be upright. Sitting for me was the hardest position after my surgery.

You'll be fine.

Todd

P.S. I asked for a prescription of a low dose of Xanax. I use it sparingly to help me sleep after I went home from surgery. You might want something like that. That's the only thing I took after 1-2 days of pain meds when I got home.

one putt
Posts: 72
Joined: Sep 2012

I had a radical nephrectomy 11-1-12 laproscopically plus an incision 6-7 in. below my navel (needed for removal of kidney and tumor). I spent 1 night in the hospital and came home on 11-2. the only meds I needed was tylenol with codeine I took for a day or two for shoulder pain.The doc told me this is where gas settles typically after this type of surgery. On 11-7 my wife took me out to dinner with no problems. On 11-10 I appeared in court (I'm a lawyer) to represent a client for a guity plea. This involved a 50 min. drive each way (I drove myself). Other than being totally exhausted when I got home I had no problems whatsoever. I walked everyday from the day I came home. many others on this site have recommended walking and drinking lots of water. I heartily concur with this recommendation. I had ,and continue to have , fatique issues. I attribute my lack of problems to being in reasonably good shape (at the time I was nearly 63) and the skill of my urologist/surgeon Hopkins, Dr. Allaf, who happens to be one of the busiest robotic surgeons in the world. I often refer to my surgery and subsequent recovery as " a piece of cake." Based  on info I've gleaned from others on this site, I had it easier than most. My only other advice would be stay ahead of the pain while in the hospital. Don't be afraid to press the button to stay ahead of the pain and walk as much as you can while you're in the hospital. Best of luck and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1559
Joined: Jan 2010

One Putt,

 

Congradulations on the quick recovery. Now that 2 months have passed you should be doing eveything  except for what is really strenuos.  The fatigue I believe is pretty much there initially all the time and than pretty much absent after a month or two. You show what can be accomplished in a short time. However the recovery is not an endurance test. Members  on this board have had second thoughs going to Vegas 2 weeks after surgery and going on a roller coaster after 90 days. Do what you can do when you can do it without pushing yourself.

 

Icemantoo

todd121
Posts: 593
Joined: Dec 2012

I failed to report back on my Vegas trip, but it turned out just fine! It was 16 days after the surgery. We had to drive 7 hours to get there because the traffic was awful (usually takes 4 hours). I drove half the way in one hour shifts, though. We stayed 3 nights. To be sure, I drank lots of water, got 8-9 hours sleep each night and went to bed on time, didn't drink alcohol, didn't hang out in smoke-filled rooms (meaning I didn't gamble), but I did have a pretty good time. I was exhausted at times, and I was glad to get home. I went to see a show. That was a bit difficult because sitting for longer than an hour was painful and the show was 1 1/2 hours. On the drive we stopped every hour so we could stretch our legs.

Not that I'm advising others to do it!

It'll be 4 weeks since my surgery on Monday. I still have sudden onset of exhaustion at times, but am much, much better. I went into the office for a couple of hours today, spent the day going through the mail that piled up and paying bills, cooked a meal, had lunch out with a former colleague, and went for a 30-minutes brisk walk.

There is still some pain, but mainly when I'm turning over in the bed or getting in/out of bed. The incisions have all healed from the outside at least.

Todd

 

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

Doesn't it show how different we all are.  John (one putt) and I were/are (?) both stage 4 grade 4 sarcomatoid cases.  I'm a bit older than John but we were both in good shape when we were diagnosed, at the same time, and operated on at about the same time.

We're both now on Votrient and John also on nivolumab.  I seem to be having a much easier time than John at present (as witness the most important test for the two of us -  I'm still playing golf and John isn't back to it yet).

I had a second op very soon after the first (for an immediate recurrence) from which I bounced back very quickly, but the nephrectomy was so very different from John's.

He was discharged after one day and was walking straight away, needed minor pain meds for only a couple of days and was driving distances and representing a client in court a mere nine days after surgery. 

I, on the other hand (generally considered to be a fairly tough guy), was on morphine plus other drugs for a month.  On the first day after op my Wife thought I looked as if I wouldn't survive the following night.  For the first two days, whereas John was at home and walking about and out to dinner with the lovely Alice a few days later, I was barely able to move in bed. I was becoming highly anxious - I was terrified to cough because of the extreme pain (continuing on a morphine pump, max dose level and acetominaphen also) and my breathing became so shallow I thought I might die.   It was days before I could get out of bed and I was in hospital for 6 nights.  The odds, per the "calculators", indicate that I should probably have been dead awhile ago and that I can't have much longer.  However, I'm currently leading a life close to what it was before my dx and have no intention of making my quietus in the foreseeable future.

You never know with this disease, do you?

 

 

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1559
Joined: Jan 2010

One Putt,

 

Congradulations on the quick recovery. Now that 2 months have passed you should be doing eveything  except for what is really strenuos.  The fatigue I believe is pretty much there initially all the time and than pretty much absent after a month or two. You show what can be accomplished in a short time. However the recovery is not an endurance test. Members  on this board have had second thoughs going to Vegas 2 weeks after surgery and going on a roller coaster after 90 days. Do what you can do when you can do it without pushing yourself.

 

Icemantoo

one putt
Posts: 72
Joined: Sep 2012

Iceman you must have misread my post. I'm Alice's husband, John. I'm 14 months post surgery and completely doing my normal activities except,unfortunately, for golf.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1559
Joined: Jan 2010

One Putt,

 

At first when I read your post I thought I had partsheimers. But than you said your aurgery was on 11.1.12 which sounds more like 2 months ago than 12 months ago.

 

Icemantoo

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

No wonder computer programs get into problems with dates (particularly a bugbear for banking IT) - you made it 2 months iceman (November 1st 2012)  John said he meant it as 14 months (1st December 2011 would only be 13 months, so I suppose it was a typo for 11.1.11) , not as you said 12 months, but for me in the UK it does read as 12 months (11th January 2012) !!

By the way, I'd never heard of "partsheimers" before - when did that joke begin - is it an old one in the States?

glad2balive
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi, This is my first posting on the site. I had my partical open nephrectomy on December 14, 2012. If you can get an epidural, take it. I refused it and regretted that. Use your morphine pump as much as you need it. Don't be a hero. Get your needs met. I'm a nurse advocate for others but, it wasn't until I was pushed to the max by just one nurse that I decided to advocate for myself. All other staff were WONDERFUL!!!  Don't expect to go dancing after surgery. Just relax and let others wait on you. I'm four weeks post-op today. I left my daughter's house last week, where I spent a lovely Christmas and New Year's EVE/Day but, am glad to be in my own bed. Initially, whenever I moved I had pain. I was sent home on Oxycodone. I was going to be brave but, my family encouraged me to take it because the pain made me an old grouch. So, I took the meds and it made a big difference. I'm off all pain meds now. I get an occasional "twinge" of pain but, it is very bearable. The only thing that is bugging me is that I have extreme fatigue. I want to do things and I just can't find the energy. I taught a three hour class on Monday, and came home and took a five hour nap. Despite having "brain fog", I was able to teach my class without a hitch. I'm just glad that my tumors were found "incidentally" when they were looking for gallstones. The biggest of my tumors was attached to my renal vein so, that had to be restructured. But, all in all, life is good. I wish you the best!

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1559
Joined: Jan 2010

glad2balive,

 

Glad2cu made it thru the initiation. Sounds like a normal recovery. If you add a little about your tumor size we can make a more appropriate comments to address your situation.

 

Icemantoo

rochetkak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

I had a open nephrectomy on 1/3/13. I am a 47 year female and had a 11cm mass contained inside my right kidney. Everything went well the biggest issue will be

pain.  When you wake up you will be on oxygen and have a cathater so you dont have to get out of bed and the nurses will measure your urine.  I wasn't allowed to

eat for 4 days only ice chips.  The sooner u get up and walk after surgery the faster you will heal.  I spent five days in the hospital and since being home I get up as

often as I can.  Each day gets easier and I take my pain meds as directed b/c if u dont the pain is awful.  I have 45 stitches from my diaphram down towards my appendix

area and i lost a rib b/c it was in the way.  Just follow all your doctor's instructions and everything should be fine :)

rochetkak
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2013

I had a open nephrectomy on 1/3/13. I am a 47 year female and had a 11cm mass contained inside my right kidney. Everything went well the biggest issue will be

pain.  When you wake up you will be on oxygen and have a cathater so you dont have to get out of bed and the nurses will measure your urine.  I wasn't allowed to

eat for 4 days only ice chips.  The sooner u get up and walk after surgery the faster you will heal.  I spent five days in the hospital and since being home I get up as

often as I can.  Each day gets easier and I take my pain meds as directed b/c if u dont the pain is awful.  I have 45 stitches from my diaphram down towards my appendix

area and i lost a rib b/c it was in the way.  Just follow all your doctor's instructions and everything should be fine :) I sit in my recliner a lot and lay on the other side of my

body in bed.  The only meds they prescribed me was pain meds and stool softners.

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