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surgery recovery

Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2011

I just made a post so I guess I'm joining the crowd after learning lots from this forum the last four weeks. I had surgery for hlrcc (hereditary leiomyoma renal cell carcinoma) at NIH four weeks ago---it was an open partial nepherectomy and removal of my lymph nodes in the kidney area. I'm finding the recovery plenty hard and wondered how other's experiences have been. I am finally doing better but I just got off pain meds a week ago (I take one hydrocodone still at night) and still struggle with a lot of pain but mostly exhaustion. There's NO keeping me from lying down quite a few times a day. I have a very physical job (I'm a potter and gallery owner) and can't return to that right now at all tho it's our busiest season. Fortunately I have a husband who is going the extra 10 yards and beyond as we are self employed. I use tylenol and ice and heat to ease the backache etc.

I know I'm getting better and feel progress but sometimes I judge harshly my inability to walk long distances, drive or do the things some people seem to be able to do. I'm 59 and consider myself in good shape---took as good of care of myself as I could before and after the surgery. I eat a good diet and normally exercise routinely. I know, compared to other's stories I am very very lucky and will come out of this. We're thinking it really is going to be a while until I can return to the physical demands of my job (25 # boxes of clay, throwing at the wheel, etc etc.) for quite a while and would appreciate other's views of when they really began to feel their old selves. I know it'd different for everyone. Meanwhile, off for a nap with my kitty and book and hope I fall into a nice restful sleep.

Good luck to all-

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3336
Joined: Jan 2010


I too had the surgery at age 59, some 9 years ago. I did not get off the couch for about 10 days and when I went back to work (non physical) it was only for a few hours a day as tolerated until about 6 weeks post surgery. Eleven months after surgery I did go water skiing as part of my 60th birtday family reunion. I expect nothing less from you.

Best wishes,


Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2011

I fully expect to be kayaking by my 60th birthday which is coming up the end of Feb--planning on bicycling before that. Thanks for all the posts. I am able to do some support work and computer work for the pottery but physical work is so far out of the question. That time will come.

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

At 4 weeks, I felt pretty much the way you do. I was still tapering off the pain meds and resting A LOT. The 6 weeks mark was the big difference. No, I wouldn't push your body on things like lifting, as you could easily herniate. Give your abs time to heal.

I really got frustrated with myself not being better faster, but it is what it is. A forced slow-down can be good though.

Keep talking through it, and you'll get there before you know it.

garym's picture
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Kathy,

My recovery was complicated by injuries from the accident that led to the discovery of a mass on my left kidney and a second surgery 5 days after my kidney was removed to repair some of those injuries. Even with all that going on I started feeling like my old self at about the 6 week mark and never looked back. Soon the memories of your ordeal will fade and life will get back to normal except for the scars that occasionally remind you that you are not "normal", you, are a warrior, you are a survivor.



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