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How Long Does it Take?

Sable2900's picture
Sable2900
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 2013

Just wondering how long it takes till you start to feel normal after a partial robotic nephrectomy?  I had my surgery on April 11th and had some setbacks with bleeding and had to have 13 coils put in around my kidney to stop bleeding.  This was about 3 weeks after surgery. 

I still feel as if someone has taken all my insides and tossed them around and they landed wherever.  I do have some days that are better than others but for the most part still feel crumby.

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

You sound like you're pretty close to being within the norms.

My radical hand assist nephrectomy was a little over two weeks ago.  I share your feelings and the intestinal discomfort.  The advice I've gotten is that it will pass with time, but to not try to hurry it. Let your body heal at its own rate.

Crumbly is an apt description.  I can do anything I want for about 15 minutes, then I have to nap for an hour or so to maek up for it.

Hang in!

Michael

 

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

Hi Sable,

With no complications 6 weeks is a common denominator for feeling "normal" again, but for some it has taken up to a year.  My best guess is that you are 6 weeks or so behind the no complications crowd.  I found walking to be themost beneficial in returning to "normal", it was slow going at first, but my stamina and feelings of wellness returned quickly as I pushed it a little further each day.  If you have a favorite pre-surgery activity try focusing on that and getting back to "normal" there, inding something else to occupy your time can help a lot.

It will all be behind you soon,

Gary

brad's battle's picture
brad's battle
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2013

Hello. I underwent my procedure at Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis in November of 2006, and I felt exactly the same way you do. There may even be some days after a few months where you can feel like that off and on still. It really does take the body a few months to really get 'back to normal' after a nephrectomy, for certain. Walking DOES help, but pace yourself for a while and rest a lot. Make sure you do not do any sort of lifting of anything heavier than about 5-10 pounds for a few months either.. My doctor was a stickler about that point.. Praying you feel bettter soon.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1618
Joined: Jan 2010

Sable,

 

When you joined us a few months ago you reated some health concerns and that you were not in perfect physical condition. Unfortunately these are going to slow down your recovery  a little. Give it some extra time and you will be fine.

 

Icemantoo

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2020
Joined: Oct 2011

How active were you before? I've mentioned  that the more athletic one is, the easier it is to feel better. If the only change in your lifestyle was the surgery, and you wait for it to just feel normal, sometimes it won't for a long time.  Others just move on like it is nothing. It is different for all of us. I think that if you were outdoors active, it comes back easier. You tend to perform more reaches, stretches, bends, etc. If you are generally an indoor person, you don't ask for the same extremes of motion. The body awareness focuses on not being pushed. So, things can stay tight, or weak. Recovery is never easy. But make sure you are healed well before pushing any limits.

jknorth's picture
jknorth
Posts: 44
Joined: May 2013

Just 15 days since my partial robotic and sometimes its so easy to forget not to push any limits if your doing normal activity like outdoors. Figured feel ok now so its ok to jump on a motorbike since your not really lifting much but sure enough we got stuck in the rocks riding too close to a beach, had to push both to get out. No damage felt after a 5 hr ride, but I do think if you stay more active it helps recovery faster, and confidence shoots straight up, and you don't think about the surgery as much. Of course waiting for  the results is a whole new thing in the back of the mind.

dhs1963's picture
dhs1963
Posts: 380
Joined: May 2012

I can not tell you how long.  I can say the answer is somewhat greater than 50 weeks for me.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2020
Joined: Oct 2011

The body has such a strong reflexive response for self preservation. Very protective. I've been telling patients for years that when they see Rambo jump out of an airplane, get shot, fall a hundred feet through a tree, then hit the rocks by a raging river where he dives in swims a mile then runs off into the woods only happens in Hollywood. Think about how strong your thumb is when you push the button on the car door handle to open the door. Then if you slam your thumb in the door, you can't move it at all for awhile. It didn't suddenly get weak. It got turned off by reflexes protecting from further damage. When you insult a body by removing a primary organ and then having significant physiology altered, no wonder it can take a year. After time the change adapts and it becomes the new you. The body needs time and experience adjusting to the difference. Think about how hard it would be to have never played an instrument, but deciding you want to become a concert violinist. How long would it take even though there is no functional limitation. neuralogical pathways aren't there. It takes repetition, repetition, repetition. It's also why we can all play catch but never become a professional ball player. We don't master the skill.

Sable2900's picture
Sable2900
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 2013

I guess I'm just going to have to cultivate some more patience.  Today I really pushed myself - hubby and I went to Navy Pier in Chicago and I walked the entire pier and back.  Very sunburned and so very tired but I'm glad I was able to. 

Also want to say how great everyone is on this board and how much they have helped me get through my surgery and recovery.  Thanks ladies and gentlemen!

Sable2900's picture
Sable2900
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 2013

 

Southwest966's picture
Southwest966
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2013

Hi, I am new here.  I had a hand assisted radical nephrectomy 4 weeks ago today.  I am unable to tolerate pain pills so my post recovery was tough.  I felt like I had given birth to an elephant.  Everything internal hurt, especially ribs.  First two weeks were very difficult.  But then suddenly, pain subsided and I began to feel better every day except for lack of stamina.  Even took naps in the afternoon which I never have done.  I had to see my surgeon yesterday as I developed an infection at the tip of the incision by the naval.  Was put on antibiotics and told it would be fine unless I developed a golf ball like lump, God willing I don't.  My biggest scare is that even tho the dr told me that the Cancer was contained in the removed kidney and nothing had spread....and no chemo or radiation necessary, is this just a put off and maybe I have 5 years to live?  I guess I am skeptical as my husband died 10 years ago of throat Cancer and the drs were always telling him he was fine and going to be back on the golf course in no time!  He died within 3 months.

Thanks for your time.

SW966

 

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

My Hand assist was three weeks ago today!  I concur with everything you described, except I could and did use pain pills.

I have been told the same thing that you have heard.  Can you share a little information about your pathology such as tumor size. stage, grade, and location?

RCC is not Throat cancer and, from what I've learned here, is very slow growing.

Odds are they have no reason to lie to you.  Tell us a little more about yourself and your treatment. It all sounds pretty well ontrack at thispoint, at least without hearing more.

Hang in!  You are a memeber of a clubnow that sucks to have to join, but sticks by its members!

First, take control of your anxiety, then ask questions.

Welcome.  We do care!

Michael

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1618
Joined: Jan 2010

SW1966,

Assuming you were born in 1966 and the doctor told you what you stated and your tumor is 4 cm or less ( I am assuming by the fact that they did a partial that it was not a large tumor). you should be around another 35 or 40 years and will die of something other than Kidney Cancer. Mine was 11 years ago and I will be 70 next month. Faye across the street is at 18 years and she is only 82.

 

Instead of worrying so much accept the fact that most of us with small tumors are cured by the surgery alone.

 

Your surgery was a life saver. Over a period of years the tumor would have grown and spread and that gets into some real serious stuff.

 

You will be fine.

 

 

Icemantoo

Southwest966's picture
Southwest966
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2013

I wish I was born in 1966...but way before that!  My tumor was golf ball size and I had a complete removal of the right kidney.

Your comment is very encouraging....I'm just an old worry wart!  Thanks for your reply and continued good health!

 

Southwest966

 

Southwest966's picture
Southwest966
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2013

Hi Michael:

Thank you for your speedy reply.  To sum up the events, I have had two back surgeries over the years so back pain is not foreign to me.  But one morning I got up with a ferocious pain from one hip to the other.  I saw my dr and was sent for an MRI.  Before I got home, my husband received a call from dr that mass was found on my right kidney and they were scheduling a scan with dye for next day.  Naturally, this all scared me to death, especially the urgency with which the dr's office handled it.  Had scan, took results to surgeon and he told me the mass was about the size of a golf ball but that it was contained inside the kidney.  He had some concerns, tho, and showed me on the xray...that mass was bulging toward aorta on one saide and also toward other internal parts on the other.  He gave me 3 options:  leave it alone, freeze it or removed entire kidney.  He strongly urged the latter, but let me make my own decision.  I opted for the latter.  He did not schedule my surgery for 6 weeks as we had a vacation planned and he said to go as the mass has probably been there for 5 years and a few more weeks won't make any difference.  Needless to say, it was not a very relaxing vacation.   Both my parents had Cancer, so thoughts were running rampant.

I was in the hosptial for 3 days, but as I said without pain meds.  I begged to go home.  Unfortunately, I had 2 major family deaths just before and right after surgery, so I did not fare well at all the first 2 weeks between the pain my body and the pain in my heart.  Finally got a grip and am doing well now, except for the infection.  I don't have much appetite (don't normally) and have lost more than 10lbs.  I do drink lots of Ensure for nutrition.  I am sure all that will rectify itself when I am able to be more active.  It is very hot here (AZ) so I can't walk outside unless I wan't to get up at 5am.  I sometimes to to a mall and walk in AC.  

I am a Senior Citizen and I hate to be patronized as they do a lot where I live because so many Seniors are residents here.  I guess that is why I was skeptical of the dr's statement that I am good as new, so to speak.

Hope you are doing well.  I wonder if reovery is different between males and females.  A male acquaintance of mine had same thing done shortly after me but they went in thru his back.  The diagnosis/prognosis was identical.  But he is having a devil of a time with the pain.

Thanks for caring, glad to have found this forum.

Barbara

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1618
Joined: Jan 2010

Barbara,

 

A golf ball has a diameter of 4.267 cm and was the size of my little bugger as well. You wil be fine. I think I am or will be a senior citizen as well. I will be 70 next month.

 

Icemantoo

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

Mine was 4.5 cm and encapsulated. Personally, I think you made a wise choice.

My discovery was accidental when they were looking for something else.  My prognosis is identical to yours. As I mentioned in a different post, I am planning on living long enough to die at the hands of a jealous husband on my 93rd birthday.

Based on everyone I have talked with and shared information with in this group, your story meshes perfectwly with the normal course of this disease and this procedure.

There are far wiser heads here than I and I am sure they will weigh in if I am off base.  First control your anxiety.  They gain nothing by lying to you!  In this case I don't think they have, beause that means they would have lied to me too!   I'm not buying it! Laughing

It sounds like your friends surgery was open.  Unless I mis state myself I think that is referred to as "Shark Bite," for obvious reasons.

As far as being patronized?  LOL  I spent a lot of years in Texas and there is a saying I recall, "They can't get your goat, if they don't know where it is tied." Never let em see you sweat.  Just curse them quietly under your breath and move on. 

I'm 66 so I guess that makes me patronizable too!

Michael

Southwest966's picture
Southwest966
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2013

Thanks Michael....your words are very encouraging and I take it to heart.  I, too, hope to live as long as a dear aunt...94!

 

Barbara

Southwest966's picture
Southwest966
Posts: 18
Joined: Jun 2013

I was just wondering, since your surgery nearly coincides with mine, what follow-up treatment was prescribed for you?  I was told that I had to have a blood test every 3 months and that's all.  Seems like a lot of the postings I read here have more testing done for similar surgery.  I questioned the nurse at the dr's office and she said that was it.  And also, do you know if they removed your adrenal gland, which a lot of people here say goes with a radical nephrectomy.  I wasn't told that it was, but then again, I didn't askSurprised!  I am still having the sticky mess from the naval, but was told that should get better.  Let's hope so.

I went for a long walk this morning and I am exhausted.  I can't get over what some of the patients have done so soon after surgery.  Must be youth!

Hope you are feeling better each day.

 

Barbara

 

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

Chest x-rays and full blood work every three months. CT scans each year.

My adrenal gland is intact and as far as I know, based on the irritation I feel when my 18 year old gives me, still functionng.Laughing

The exhaustion gets better every day, but that still requires taking a break once in a while and buttoning my lip from popping off when I am, tired and out of sorts.

Keep getting up and fighting, every day! Don't let the b-stard win!

Michael

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