Pre surgery question
Hi, this is my first post here, I have recently been diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma stage 1. They found it by accident because I have a benign 8cm tumor in my other kidney and started to bleed. They had to embolized it and that’s when they found the cancer. I had a biopsy and I will be having a robotic partial nephrectomy in two weeks. First of all, I never thought I would be joining a group like this or posting anything like this. On the other hand, I am thankful that there are support groups for this. I am not sure what caused the cancer, I am 47 female, non smoker, no family history of kidney cancer, healthy and not extremely overweight.
The main reason for my post is to ask what should I expect after this surgery, I want to get back to work sooner rather than later. Thank you for your advice.
AliceB1950 Member Posts: 211 Memberedited January 30 #2
It's normal to try to find a reason for cancer, but it's an exercise in futility. There are things we're told that can affect our chances, but it's basically a crap shoot since it happens to young and old, skinny and fat, smokers and non-smokers, fast food addicts and organic vegans, people with a lot of family cancer and those with none.
I had a total laparoscopic nephrectomy and I'm retired, so I can't offer you advice on recovery time. One thing I do suggest is to schedule fun things to balance out the appointments, tests, and surgery. I found it especially helpful shortly before surgery (I took a short out-of-town trip for a few days) and again after surgery (another trip!) as a buffer between recovery and undertaking something else I had to do.2
Bay Area Guy Member Posts: 595 Member
Hi Alinb. As Alice says, it’s pretty much impossible to find a cause for RCC. I asked a couple of docs and they, essentially, shrugged their shoulders and said, “Beats me”.
As for the after-surgery, I was retired when I had my robotic partial. They advised me to do no heavy lifting for six to eight weeks. I started driving again in about a week. Your recovery will be speeded up by walking. I started in the hospital, walking the ward. My goal was to walk a little more each day. In terms of returning to work, if you have a regular office job, I’d say 3 to 4 weeks to go back part time, then increase as your body tells you.1
Deanie0916 Member Posts: 585 Member
Hi Alinb, welcome to this group. I agree with the advice above about walking and doing some fun things if possible. I also would not rush back to work full time. Start with partial days if you can. I went back after a full open nephrectomy after 4 weeks, I probably would have done a little better going back after 5 - 6 weeks. Let us know how it goes.1
Sorry you had to join us, but I'm glad you found us. In addition to the great advice given above, keep in mind that at age 47, it will probably be a much easier recovery than if you were decades older. Try to do some walking before the surgery - and then some slow walking after the surgery will definitely help with the recovery.
You're going to do great. We're with you!0
Alinb: You've asked a great question, a question which I wish I had asked before my nephrectomy, a question that everyone should ask before undergoing any surgery except the most minor outpatient procedures. Nephrectomies are serious surgery and they require serious anaesthesia. It will take a while after surgery for your body to adjust. I found the pain to be nothing at all. (I used tramadol for four days after surgery and then found that nothing, not even over-the-counter pills, were needed.
No. The real challenge was two-fold: Mental sharpness and capacity for physical work.
Mental sharpness: for two weeks or so after the operation I had to ask people to repeat and repeat things they had told me. It was substantially more difficult than usual to mentally grasp new things, as if I was in a fog. And my reaction time was substantially slowed, as if everything in my head was operating in slow motion. Of course, with each passing day I got back a little more to my pre-operation standard. After three weeks most of the noticeable mental changes were gone, but I was told that complete recovery would take around six to eight weeks, more or less.
Physical capacity. This came back faster than mental sharpness. At first it just felt that the effort involved had been multiplied several times. Sometimes this meant becoming conscious of physical tasks that I hadn't before been aware of as tasks. For example, the physical process of getting out of bed, to which I had never before paid any attention at all. For the first ten days, this was a huge deal. Then it became easier and easier until now it's back to normal (no effort at all). Also, the attractions of simply sitting still and doing nothing became very, very strong. I remember at one point thinking that I'd like to spend the rest of my life sitting in a chair staring at the wall and being entirely still, something I had never felt before.
Sleep. I slept much more than before. By six or seven at night I really couldn't (and didn't want to) do anything other than crawl into bed for the night. I slept at least eleven or twelve hours a night. I think this was just my body trying, successfully, to heal itself. This has not yet gone away.
Of course, all of these reactions are very personal and depend on all kinds of personal variations. YMMV, as they say. What I've written above is personal to me. I'm not a medical person and have no way of knowing or generalizing about other people's experiences save through my reading of the discussions on this and other similar websites. At the same time it's reasonable to suppose the we're all physical and mental machines of a sort and our machines probably react in the same direction when interfered with as in surgery and anaesthetics. Some more and some less but in the direction of having to repair after interventions that are experienced as "insults."
I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!0
Glad that you are having the robotic partial nephrectomy. I had mine about 18 months ago and found it to be much easier than a couple of abdominal surgeries that I'd had for another condition. I spent one night in the hospital. I had one dose of hydrocodone at the hospital and the rest of the time was on Tylenol. I was able to resume work from home after about four days for about a half day. Then I was back in the office about a week after that. My best advice after surgery is to not begin eating until after your bowels become active (for some reason, the anesthesia puts the intestines in sleep mode). I found that hot coffee or hot tea was helpful in getting the bowels moving again. Then I was able to resume eating. I was very happy to have chosen the robotic procedure and that it was available. Good luck with your surgery.0
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