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Spouse Upcoming Robotic Surgery

D1
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2018

My husband is having robotic surgery in 4 days and I must admit I am nervous for him.  He is in very good spirits and ready to move forward with the process.  I would appreciate any suggestions/insight you can share with making his recovery a bit easier.  What type of foods did you eat upon returning home?  

 

lighterwood67's picture
lighterwood67
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb 2018

A lot of fiber (cereal; prunes; bananas; yogurt, chicken, fish, soup, rice); stopped all caffeine.  Other than that I was told I had no restrictions.  In saying that, I tried to stay bland for a few days. It may take a day or to for your digestive track to fully recover from the surgery and anesthesia.

Grinder
Posts: 442
Joined: Mar 2017

A big adjustement will be the Foley catheter. You can get some accessories to make it easier to deal with... like both the leg bag for daytime actvity and a bedbag with a hook that hangs off to the side that is much karger and wont need emptying till morning. You csn also get anchors for the leg bag to keep it from pulling on the catheter which can becreally annoying when active. Also, keep it absolutely sterile as can be, as an infection will slow down the process of recovery a bit. Finally when he gets the catheter removed, take Depends along... the urologist will only give you a clump of paper towels. Check out Amazon for Foley catheter peripherals that will make life easier for that 7 to 10 days.

He can expect to be incontinent for anywhere from 3 to 6 months, but will recover most of continence after that, likely 90-100% recovery.

Erectile dysfunction recovery takes longer. For me it took over a year, and 1-2 years recovery from ED is not uncommon.

He won't be allowed to do excessive exercise, especially lifting, to allow the incisions to heal. He will likely be encouraged to walk as much as possible for the first month. My wife and I had enjoyable 2 mile walks in the evenings the first month. After that we were back on our bicycles.

If we think of anything else we will let you know.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3329
Joined: May 2012

D1,

Your worry is normal, universal.

RP is serious surgery, but very safe. Less than 1 in 1,000 men don't "wake up."  It is way safer than driving a car down the Interstate. Men are not selected for this surgery unless they have good cardiac health.

I had pretty good urinary control in two weeks after the operation; my urinary control after surgery was actually better than BEFORE the surgery !  Recovery varies a LOT by individual. My surgery also was robotic/DaVinci. Expect him to be very weak and having some abdominal pain for at least two weeks or perhaps more.  It sounds like his attitude is excellent.

You two will get through this together.  It is an effective and mostly safe proceedure. ED will resolve slowly; a year is not uncommon for spontaneous erection, although we were having intercourse two months after surgery, with the assistance of injectable drugs.  Life is more important than sex, however, despite the fact that both are important. One day at a time.

max

 

Clevelandguy
Posts: 473
Joined: Jun 2015

Hi D1,

My doctor told me to keep active and walk even with the catheter in.  Until I had my cath out I did most of my waking inside the house doing my laps on the first floor. A little neosporan where the cathe goes into his "friend" will help with the discomfort.  I feel keeping active will help both your mental & physical state rather than just laying in bed with the cath in.  Do a good job of keeping the cath, bag, ect clean per your instructions.  I found it easier on the cath pulling thing if I slept on the couch, I just put the cath bag in a small bucket to hold it while I slept.  It seemed it pulled just a little too much for me in bed.  The best time will be in about 10 days when they pull the cath out.  Keep an eye on his incisions and make sure they are healing OK.  I tried to keep my incisions dry when I showered with a larger patch bandage over each one.  I did not alter my diet one bit and had no gastro problems nor did I need any pain pills they gave me.  Good luck....................

Dave 3+4

graycloud
Posts: 39
Joined: Jan 2018

My husband is just a few days over 3 months post surgery.  He's doing fantastic.  Here's some tips/things we faced:

1) Start walking immediately after surgery.  (I hope he's been walking pre-surgery!)  It helps with releasing the gas that will build up around the shoulders immediately after. The gas moves around and down as the days go on and walking is the only thing that will alleviate the pain.   My husband walked 2 miles a few hours after surgery, and continued walking for an average of 4 miles daily.  Just push him to get up and move.  Sitting will only make him feel worse.  The day catheter/leg catheter is so much better and more comfortable.  Our surgeon provided us with both types (day and night).   Also, make sure you have enough "lubricant" around the area where the catheter goes in.  I made sure he was coated just about all day.  Make sure you get extra butterfly tape bandages that keep the tube in place.  My husband took 2-3 showers a day with the catheter and you will  need to change this after each shower.   Again, the surgeon gave us extra supplies and even overnight mailed when I needed more.  His surgery was on a Tuesday night.  He catheter was out the next Monday afternoon.  6 days!! He was active, followed doctors orders, and was able to talk his doctor in to taking it out a little early.  It's hard to sleep with the torture device!

2) Diet - he stayed on very bland and almost liquid diet for he first 3 days.  Gave his bowels time to wake up after surgery.  He started Miralax the day after surgery and continued that for several weeks.  I fixed soups, fruit, jello, yogurt (non-dairy if you can) for the first 2 days.  To get his stomach/bowels moving, he ate mashed potatoes on day 3.  Once he had a "poop" life got extremely more comfortable.  The literally was our goal by day 4.  The surgeon said everything would be so much better after that and he was so right!  After that, he literally ate what he felt like eating which was pasta!  Also, the less pain meds you can take, the quicker he will get to relief from the "gas" perspective. 

3)  My husband's transition to having to wear different underwear and pads post surgery was so hard for him.  It was hard to find comfortable underwear to wear with the pads after the catheter comes out.  My husband wore a diaper right after the cath came out, and for the first night and our flight home from NYC.  After that, he refused to wear them again. Too hard to change while out and about.  So he is wearing boxer briefs (brands we found that were the softest were underarmour heat gear, and ExOfficio boxer briefs.  I just ordered some cooling boxer briefs from Duluth Trading to get him through the next month or so with it getting warmer.  Those rated very high for comfort and cool which he will need for summer).  We also found Tena brand Men's pad to be the most comfortable with walking, etc.  You have to order online which is frustrating.  Amazon has the Level 2 which will probably work after month 1.  Level 3 you have to order direct from Tena.  Get on a schedule with ordering.  It was kind of frantic the first 30-60 days with needing to make sure I had enough with online ordering only.  Now that he's doing so much better with bladder control, we haven't ordered in several weeks.  

4)  Physical Therapy for Pelvic Floor - I can't stress this enough.  My husband was allowed to start physical therapy 3 weeks post surgery.  Alot of doctors are making patients wait for months to start PT.  DON'T DO THAT!  Be your own healthcare advocate, and insist he start ASAP. PT has helped my husband so much from a physical as well as emotional standpoint.  PT helped strengthen the muscles to help him obtain bladder control and improve minor ED issues.

5)  From a wife's perspective, just be there for him and remain positive.  Push him to walk.  I walked the halls of the Hope Lodge in NYC with him every hour - every day/night for 6 days.  Exhausting but helped us both to connect and stay focused on his path together.  Push him to do what he did before surgery.  My husband was able to drive as soon as his catheter came out (he didn't take pain meds after that point!).  His restrictions were lifting nothing over 10lbs for the first 60 days.  He started traveling for work 3 weeks post surgery.  It was tough the first few trips - but he learned the new normal on changing pads while out in public.  Just find bathrooms that have privacy.  Also, make sure he takes the Viagra or whatever brand his doctor prescribes.   My husband took those pre-surgery for blood flow to the nerves.  He's doing the same post surgery.   He took his first challenge dose the weekend after surgery.  The first few times are really hard for both of you, but it's important to try and keep trying and keep trying and remind him it will get better.  The ED specialist at MSK warned us about the first few times with sex after surgery.  All I can say is have plenty of towels ready and remember that everything that comes out of his body is sterile. This only happened the first 2-3 times we were intimate.  After that, much better.    My husband's ED issues are very minor - his improvement in that area is just miraculous.  But you have to think outside the box and work to make things better (if you know what I mean!).  3 months post surgery - he had a sustainable erection and orgasm is better than before surgery. 

6) From the incontinenance issues, it's a process. I've read stories on here where men are back to normal within a week.  We're just a few days over 3 months.  He is completely dry at night and back to sleeping in his favorite sleep shorts with no pads!  That was a night of celebration for him!  He's getting better weekly on the small amount of leaking.  Exercise - have to wear a level 3 pad but I feel he would do fine with a level 2.   Out and about daily - he's literally dry with may be a few drops - but he's not comfortable enough to trust his bladder yet.  So he's still wearing pads.   Also, have him use Aquaphor to help with keeping the jewels protected and dry while wearing the pads.

I hope and pray your husband's surgery is successful.  I'm so thankful my husband's cancer is gone (Gleason 9 downgraded to 7), and we can breath a sigh of relief.  The whole process has been an emotional rollercoaster.  My husband is type A personality, highly motiviated, and wants to be in control.  You have to give up some control when facing cancer and surgery.  He was defiant at time, crazy at times, but he has hung in there and is doing great. 

 

I am thankful for his surgeon and the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Prostate Cancer Center in NYC!

Grinder
Posts: 442
Joined: Mar 2017

Graycloud... you need to change your name to Sunshine.

Thank you for being such strong support for a PC patient/husband.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3329
Joined: May 2012

Graycloud,

With Grinder I must say that your account of your husband's history is one of the most remarkable, and positive, that I have ever read here. So full of specifics and recommendations. Such wonderful outcome.

Thank you.

max

Grinder
Posts: 442
Joined: Mar 2017

anchor

This is a tube anchor for the Foley catheter. You can also use a piece of tape, but this remains off to the side and holds the tube from the leg bag and keeps the tube from yanking the business around. Normally, walking around with a leg bag makes the tube pull and yank back and forth on the business end of the tube and can be very annoying. But this anchor holds the tube going into the business motionless as the anchor gets pulled on instead of the business. This has an advantage over tape as the tube just snaps in and out of the plastic tab when necessary and is waterproof... so when you disconnect the leg bag you just have to snap the tube out of the anchor.

D1
Posts: 2
Joined: May 2018

Thank you all so much for sharing and giving insight into your personal journey.  Our journey is soon to begin and I am grateful to know there are caring people willing to support and share with us newbies.  

Will Doran
Posts: 207
Joined: Sep 2015

D1,

I went through robotic Surgery 4 1/2 years ago.  I really can't add much to what has already been said above.  As has been stated it is important to keep active.  Because of some complications from abdominal hernia mesh, and a birth defect, my surgery last 5 1/2 hours.  I was up and walking the halls in the hospital the next morning and was back home that afternoon.  My doctor had suggested walking.  We had purchased treadmill, and 2 days post surgery I was on the treadmill at slow speeds.  I normally was a road cyclist and had a spinner bike for the winter times.  My doctors said to not get on the bike for 8 weeks.  It was driving me nuts.  At 6 weeks they gave in and left me try the bike.  No problems.  They said my recovery had been fast and thus if there was no pain, which there wasn't, the bike was OK.  

My doctor had me go back on my normal diet.  No restrictions.

The Foley Catheter is a pain for a bit, but I made it through that OK.  I had one of those leg anchors for a few days.  I tried the leg bag, but decided against using that.  I pretty much stayed around home for that time and used the big bag.  When I went to the doctors I put the bag in a State Liquor Store Bag.  That always created a bunch of laughter from the doctors and nurses.  I tried to make light of the situation and a little laughter seemed to help.  

Physical Therapy was mentioned above.  I did that and still do my Kegels.  That did help.  

I started this adventure with a PSA of 69 when diagnosed.  I had no symptoms.  I was a pT3bN1.  40% of prostate involved.  Come this August 2018, it will be 5 years since diagnosis.  As of yesterday, my PSA is still below 1.00.  I'm holding down at 0.747.  I have never felt like this was a mistake.  The robotic surgery recovery wasn't that bad.  It takes time, so be patient.  But is so much faster than traditional surgery recovery.

Your husband may have to have radiation and hormone therapy, as follow up.  I had two full years of Lupron, and 8 weeks, 5 days a week of radiation.  If so, make sure he understands all the side effects of those treatments. Especially the Lupron. That part was worse than the surgery.

Best of luck.

Know your Husband and You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Love, Peace and God Bless

Will 

CBHowry's picture
CBHowry
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2018

I had RP on Monday 2/12/2018. Went home Tuesday the next day. The gas pain in my abdomen was unbearable, 10+ on the pain scale until Friday afternoon the same week. Had the catheter removed on Monday 2/19/2018. All was well until I emptied my bladder,then there was unbearable burning, my urine was pink, and an occasional blood clot would come out. The burning ended on Saturday the 24th, thank God.

Fast forward to today and I'm all healed, urine control is 99% good. My erectile nerves were removed along with my seminal vesticles, but that beats having cancer. All in all I made it through surgery and recovered pretty good. I wish you and your husband a quick, painless recovery.

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