Post op Day 3

KTBug Member Posts: 9

Good evening all!  I was recently diagnosed with RCC and had a partial nephrectomy-laparoscopic hand assist on 10/27.  My surgeon removed the 3cm tumor along with part of my kidney.  My margins were clear and the pathology confirmed the Malignancy. I am 37 and have no family history of renal cancer.  I was told this is quite rare for someone my age to be diagnosed . I opted for genetic testing and am awaiting the results.  I have a few questions.  Since I have been released from the hospital The site where my JP tube was has been that normal and how long does that last?  The worst for me is at night.  I can't get comfortable...I'm a stomach sleeper so its tough.  The pain in my back (rib area) is excruciating and when I take a deep breathe I have sharp pains.    I realize I am only 3 days out but is this normal and how long before the pain will ease up? 


  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,361 Member
    edited October 2016 #2
    Hell week



    Didn't they tell you that the week after a neph is Hell Week. Oh they forgot again. You just had major surgery and there is no way to sugar coat it. Everyday will get a little better with maybe a bad day in between. I was at a slow normal  6 weeks later at 59 years young when I was nephed 14 years ago. At 37 I expect you will have it a little easier. Welcome to the club which no one in their right mind would volunteer to join. Lucky they caught it early.




  • sblairc
    sblairc Member Posts: 585 Member
    edited October 2016 #3
    Try ice for the pain

    Ice for the pain. Invest in several of the soft ice packs from a medical supply store. My husband swears by them. Try to  sleep in a recliner chair if possible. Take your pain meds rignt before you go to bed and if you don't have good ones, get better ones. This is the time when you need to make sure you take your meds. Don't forget your kidney got sewed back together where they removed the tumor so you have sutures inside your body as well as the ones on your skin. People tend to forget that part, so don't overdo it. Reallly and truly rest as much as possible. Hope this helps. 

  • Bay Area Guy
    Bay Area Guy Member Posts: 619 Member
    edited October 2016 #4
    It Is Uncomfortable

    Iceman is right.  You just had major surgery, even though they try to sugarcoat it with the "minimally invasive" tag.  I had my surgery on June 22nd, released the next day.  As I recall, it took about three or four days for the drain incision to stop oozing.  When I had abdominal surgery in 2010, a pillow became my stomach's best friend when trying to sleep, sit, cough, sneeze or just exist.  I don't have an answer to back pain while sleeping.  Sorry.

    But the pathology report certainly sounds good.

  • KTBug
    KTBug Member Posts: 9
    icemantoo said:

    Hell week



    Didn't they tell you that the week after a neph is Hell Week. Oh they forgot again. You just had major surgery and there is no way to sugar coat it. Everyday will get a little better with maybe a bad day in between. I was at a slow normal  6 weeks later at 59 years young when I was nephed 14 years ago. At 37 I expect you will have it a little easier. Welcome to the club which no one in their right mind would volunteer to join. Lucky they caught it early.




    Thank you for your input

    Thank you for your input Icemantoo!   I went in with the mindset that this was going to be painful but alright.  I had a hysterectomy 2 years ago and I was back to work in a week.  sometimes I think and feel that I am invincible. Boy has this opened my eyes.  Thank you again.  I hope you remain cancer free and healthy.  

  • daisybud
    daisybud Member Posts: 541 Member
    My drain

    My drain site leaked for a few days.  Had to keep covered.

    I slept in a recliner and that helped a lot. I'd say my pain was much better about 7-10 days out.

    Hang in there definitely gets better.  Oh, I also walked a lap around the house every time I was up for the bathroom.  The Walking helped me to keep from getting stiff and made me feel better.


  • JoanneNH
    JoanneNH Member Posts: 115
    Those who suggested sleeping

    Those who suggested sleeping in a recliner for a while are spot on.  I didn't have a comfortable recliner, so I slept on the couch, propped up with lots of pillows.   Had to sleep that way for about a 1 1/2 weeks.   Be sure to take your pain medication.  You can wean off of it soon enough.  But now you need to try to get comfortable and be able to sleep.

  • Footstomper
    Footstomper Member Posts: 1,237 Member
    edited October 2016 #8
    And make sure you do your

    And make sure you do your breathing excersizes with the funny looking transparent thing

  • foroughsh
    foroughsh Member Posts: 779 Member
    welcome ktbug

    welcome ktbug

    I'm happy that they caught it early, mine was 10 cm and I was 36 with no family back ground although it was confined, it feels weird to know it was there since my twenties. I also had terrible backack at the same areas as yours and I'm sorry to say it took long time to go almost a year but my surgery was open radical  so hopefully your pain gets better much sooner. By the way it wasn't something serious, I had bone scan 8 months post op just to make sure the pain didn't come from bone Mets and it wasn't. At first the pain was killing as I had no pain at incision but had terrible pain at my back, but it got better after two or three weeks and became something Moe like a discomfort that pain and remained for as long as a year. I was emotionally stressed out so my surgeon asked for bone scan.

    Take rest, don't hesitate calling your surgeon if you feel you need it( It's normal within first few months) , drink loads of water and walk

  • stub1969
    stub1969 Member Posts: 966 Member
    edited October 2016 #10
    Welcome KT

    As others have said, welcome to the club noone wants to join.  But, since you are here, I'm glad you found us.  You'll find a lot of support and expert information from members here.  You've gotten some good advice and input so far.   As for my expereinces, I had a partial laparoscopic on August 26 and was discharged the next day.  Prior to being discharged they removed my drain tube---my wife was extremely happy with that.  One piece of advice I received from this site (and the nurses) was to stay on top of the pain.  Keep a regular schedule for your meds and stay on them until you feel that you are able to wean yourself off.  Walk as much as you can and drink a lot of water.  I slept in a recliner for three nights at home.  When I went back to my bed I had to prop myself up with a few pillows.  Listen to your body and don't push it.  I made the mistake of trying to get back to running after six weeks.  That weekend, I started to have pain in the area where surgery was done.  Now, I'm taking it much slower.  I hope all this helps.  Take care of yourself and consider it a blessing that your tumor was found early.  You have an excellent chance of being rid of this terrible cancer forever.


  • Jan4you
    Jan4you Member Posts: 1,330 Member
    edited October 2016 #11
    Welcome KTBug! Glad you found

    Welcome KTBug! Glad you found us. I cannot speak of the drainage, but  others have helped you. BUT I suspect the rib cage pain is from that trapped GAS used to pump UP your abdomen so surgeon can SEE. Its nothing to worry about but dang its the worst pain until it gets out. It is outside your intestinal track so meds don't work (anti gas ones). Most times it gets trapped in your shoulder. I did lots of arm rotations to try and get it out. Try walking for rib cage pain.

    And I wore a lumbar velcro wrap and it supported that aching abdominal muscles and insides. Remember, your insides are sensitive esp to instruments and cutting.

    USE ICE! I would place dry ice packs inside my lumbar wrap over the incisions and it really reduced the swelling. I could cut down use of pain meds and in a few days were done with pain meds.

    remember, YOU ARE HEALING! You need to get the side effects of anesthesia out of your system, while yet adding more opiates to your system. The first week is challenging BUT you  WILL improve. No exercising, lifting anything, for a good month. You'll make it!

    Keep us informed hon. I am available if you need more support and information.

    Sending you a healing hug,


  • hardo718
    hardo718 Member Posts: 853 Member
    Welcome KT

    Residual drainage is not unusual.  As Jan stated, I also used the lumbar Velcro wrap, but I hadn't heard of the dry ice thing.  The wrap helped immensely.  The trapped gas after surgery can be intensely painful.  If it's related to that, need to walk it off and move your arms around, it'll work itself out within a few days.  Make sure you do those breathing exercises so you don't end up with pneumonia.  (I'm a former Respiratory Therapist)  10 breaths an hour please, when awake.  I used to tell my patients to do them during commercial breaks on tv. Especially since you're experiencing such pain. 

    If the pain doesn't ease up, don't hesitate to call your doctor just to touch base.  And try to take it easy, your body has been thru a lot and is working hard to heal right now.  The outside will heal fairly quickly but the inside will take longer so be careful not to overdo it, especially if you've got little ones.  Nows the time to let your loved ones step up & be the caretaker.  

    Glad to found us.  I didn't find this forum until I was 3 years out.  I missed out on lots of info I could have made use of.  :-)  God bless, I'll keep you in my prayers.



  • APny
    APny Member Posts: 1,995 Member
    I had the drain in for a week

    I had the drain in for a week. I went home with it. Finally it stopped draining so they could remove it. So yes, it's normal after 3 days. As for the bad rib/back pain, I think a lot has to do with the position they put your body in. Really contort it from what I've read. It could be from that. I had open partial surgery and was fortunate to be able to sleep in my own bed. But I really propped myself up with pillows. I got a recliner just in case but found that impossible to sleep in. What helped is a long body pillow to prop up and support the side the incision is on. I also got a wedge pillow on which I piled two more. I was actually comfortable and was able to sleep fine. I'm a side sleeper but it was weeks before I could sleep on either side.

    Do walk as much as possible. I did laps around my house for 5 minutes every hour. Hug a pillow to your incision while doing it. Also use pillow when coughing or sneezing, or laughing. Fortunately it does get better. First week is worst but after that it's pretty tolerable. Don't suffer and be heroic; take the pain killers they gave you.

    All the best to you!

  • Iggyrip
    Iggyrip Member Posts: 44
    edited November 2016 #14
    Hi KT

    I had a radical nephrectomy almost three weeks ago. As many have mentioned, it is rough the first week. The pain has not been bad, but I have been unable to sleep. The first week, I sleep proped up in bed by pillows. (I had a recliner but earlier this year give it to my son. Sure wish I had it now). I am now sleeping on my side and back but wake up a lot. I usually take a nap during the day which helps. The good news is it gets better each week. I am now walking 1 mile or more in the mornings and running errands to keep busy.  It seems the pain is different for all of us. Give it some time, things will be getter for you. 

    Best wishes,


  • magpie49
    magpie49 Member Posts: 5
    So sorry your going through

    So sorry your going through all this.  Hang in there it will get better, it takes a week or two so let yourself heal and dont rush LOL.  

     I did not have a drain so dont know, but the drainage (and sharp pain in your ribs) might be worth a quick call your your Doc to make sure all is well.  Yes the surgery hurts but if its getting worse or spasm like I would definetely call. 

  • KTBug
    KTBug Member Posts: 9
    Thank you all for your

    Thank you all for your support and guidance.  I am so grateful to have found this support group.  All your advice has helped.  Unfortuntely I had a little set back and was sent back to the hospital last week and was diagnosed  with pneumonia. After iv antibiotics I am feeling much better.  

  • todd121
    todd121 Member Posts: 1,448 Member
    edited November 2016 #17
    Healing Is Slow

    You may see only small scars outside, but inside, they had to cut paths to/from all those locations to where they needed to do the work. You just had a major, major surgery. On top of this, the outside heals faster than the insides.

    Take it easy on yourself.

    It took me months, almost a year or more before I really felt completely normal, but I had a radical nephrectomy. I don't know much about partials.

    After 6 weeks I went back to work. I was still exhausted by 4-5pm each day for several more weeks.

    Follow your surgeon's advice on lifting, driving, etc. Be patient. Do the walking, breathing exercises, and drink your water. Things will improve, but probably not as fast you want them to.


  • Thuvia
    Thuvia Member Posts: 7
    edited November 2016 #18
    I hope you're feeling better

    I hope you're feeling better now from the pneumonia! I also had my surgery on October 27th... Radical left. Following all as Todd121 has advised. Going to be a long road but we're here to walk it!

    Sleeping? Like you I'm almost a stomach sleeper and that has been very hard for getting rest at night. I do sometimes sleep at night in my recliner. But I have found that using a rolled up towel in front and behind I am able to "prop" my body into a semi side position and actually sleep some. I have to be laying flat to do this. Hope this helps. Lucinda