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How long before back to normal after kidney removal

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2012

My husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer from an MRI of his back following a car accident. He had no symptoms and it was fully contained. However, he is now always exhausted. He is 58 and the surgery was done on March 15. Before this, he was unstoppable. I am 46 and he had twice my energy level. I am not sure if the exhaustion comes from the kidney issue or from his neck and back pain from his accident (they are recommending surgery for both). What do you think?

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3362
Joined: Jan 2010


My surgery was a week after my 59th birthday. I felt sort of back to normal at about 6 weeks, but did not have my full strengh until at least 6 months later. Those other issues sound like they would take a toll on anyone. Once those are resolved and some time passes he should be doing fine. Everyone's recovery is different and other issues take their toll.


dhs1963's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: May 2012

I am 48 and had surgery 6 weeks ago. I have had issues with the wound healing: the wound because infected with a superficial staff infection at four weeks, and now I have a different wound strategy.

I feel fine (except for the minor wound pain), except I have no stamina. I am trying to build that back. I go back to work soon.

Stevewmass's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: May 2012

I am into my 6th week of recovery from a partial nephrectomy and I will be going back to work next week full time. My appetite is just starting to come back and but my energy level is way down, beside that I fine great. My doctor said that the energy level will go up in time and he reminded me that I just had MAJOR surgery 6 weeks ago. I know he is right, but since I feel good I assume that all is well and healed. That is not the case yet, I guess I just have to have some patients.

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you guys. I guess maybe it is the combination of all his health issues. I am keeping my fingers crossed. They worried he might have also had prostate cancer but the biopsies all came back negative, thank God. I just want him to be well, happy and full of life like he was prior to his car wreck and diagnosis. But I guess you just can't hurry the healing process, right Steve?

Limelife50's picture
Posts: 476
Joined: Nov 2011

was his adrenal gland also removed with the kidney

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2012

Nope. They said his other kidney was functioning normal too. They have ordered a battery of blood tests though to see what is going on. Also, he had low testosterone. They wanted to make sure he did not have prostate cancer before they started giving him testosterone shots. Still no energy.

Limelife50's picture
Posts: 476
Joined: Nov 2011

I hope they have also done blood work to check his red blood cell count and iron level amongst other things,also have they checked his oxygen levels

Minnesota Girl's picture
Minnesota Girl
Posts: 119
Joined: Jul 2011

It really does take some time. I had my surgery a year ago at age 43 - hand-assisted laprascopy. My urologist told me it takes a full 9 months to recover, but I didn't take quite that long. I didn't get all my energy back for about 6 months. I am still taking vitamin B complex, and that seems to help.

garym's picture
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009


I was 58 when diagnosed following a motorcycle accident which left me with multiple non-life threatening injuries as well. Less than 4 weeks later I had my nephrectomy and 5 days after that they did surgery through my rib cage to repair some of the damage from the accident. I never experienced the fatigue that is common for many here. I was relatively pain free and functioning at a near normal level at about 6 weeks, but it was many more weeks before I was truly my old self again. Recovery is an individual thing, I found walking to be very beneficial in speeding the process along and would encourage your husband to try the same thing starting with short walks and working his way up.

Good luck and keep us posted,


vdm13's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jul 2012


I am a 42 year old male. I had my left kidney, adrenal gland, a dozen or so lymph nodes and a slice of my spleen removed to address a 7.5 cm tumor and the associated metastisis (at least some of it) performed laproscopically (sp?) on 5/25. Today, 7/30 (so about 10 weeks) I would put myself at 90 - 95%, with the remaining struggle being mostly around stamina/fatigue. Similar to what others have posted, I have been told to expect to feel this way for 6 - 12 months. I've been re-introducing exercise (biking) and have been trying to maintain a healthy diet, which helps. But kidney removal is major surgery. Tell your hubby to rest when his body wants it, and not to expect to be back to normal for a little while longer. He will get there.

Sounds like his condition was contained (thank God) and his labs are coming back good. Stop (and I mean STOP) thinking he might have this and he might have that, and fill both of your minds with thoughts of the wonderful future you will have together. Get his mind/body tuned to health and healing, not worry.

As an aside, my dad had his kidney removed 25 years ago, remains cancer free, and has more energy than many people half his age. Stay the course.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery and long life ahead,


foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

It has also been mentioned here frequently, that anemia has been a factor after nephrectomy.

movingonnow's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2012

I am three weeks out from radical nephrectomy surgery (7/24/12) where I also had a portion of my rib removed for access. I have been fortunate in that while I have discomfort, I am doing quite well (male 55 yrs old). Today I hopped on a treadmill and did a couple brisk miles speedwalking with no discomfort. I took good care of myself and was very active before surgery, including going on a "nephrectomy training" regimen a few weeks before the surgery. I just have to guess that the preparation helped. But, everyone is different and one must go only at the pace that their body allows. I too, am more tired but I did notice that walking and regular exercise makes me feel a lot better and seemed to give me more energy. You have to listen to your body, but at the same time challenge yourself even when you don't want to exercise. I am also thinking that a good diet and plenty of healthy fluids (mostly water) has got to help. The best to you.

Posts: 37
Joined: Feb 2012

Hi Gingergirl,
I had my surgery on Mar 16, just after your husbands. While I got back to work fairly quickly (1/2 days at 3-1/2 weeks then full time a week later), I found that now at almost 5 months out I still do not have full energy. I went on a motorcycle camping trip in mid-June at about 13 weeks. I got to the destination after a 320 mile ride and was exhausted. I didn't do much riding until it was time to get home. For the most part I do fine, but still definitely getting energy and stamina back. Also remember that I didn't have the additional injuries that your husband has.

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