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Had Da-Vinci robotic surgery on 18-Sept.

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Came through surgery just fine. No real post-op issues. For those of you who may want to know what happened, here is a rather wordy, day to day 'diary'.
09/18/09 – Friday - Got to hospital at 8:50 am. Got my wrist ID bracelet & then sat in the admissions waiting area. At 9:20 they sent us up to the 3rd floor. Was assigned to examination/waiting room # 10. Got into a new style Johnny coat with an inlet for a hot air pump. Was pretty nice. They took some vitals, asked a few more questions, and then stuck some needles & tubes in the top of my left hand. Time about 10:00 am. The nurse said Dr. Colberg would be there soon to advise me when the room would be ready for my surgery. He came by about 11:00 & said the room would be ready about 12:30. My family & I waited & talked. At 12:20 pm they wheeled a gurney up for me & I was gone. My family went to the waiting area & I was wheeled outside of the Davinci robot room. Some more nurses & doctors came out & asked how I was doing & said it would be another minute or two. Then they helped my off the gurney & into the Davinci robot room. The room was not like a typical operating room you always see on TV. It was relatively small & jam packed with equipment. Everything was covered & they made sure I did not come into contact with anything as they guided me through the room. They had me lay on the table/bed and made sure I was comfortable. I tried looking around a bit, but they hooked up an IV to my left hand & that was it. I remember waking up in the recovery room about 7:00 pm. The operation took until 5:00 pm. After the operation Dr. Colberg went out to meet with my wife & family. He said everything went well. Since I was in relative good shape & did not carry any excess lbs around my gut, they got my prostate out without any nerve issues or damage. The margins around the prostate looked good & from what he could tell, the cancer was confined to the prostate. He said he did have to make an extra small incision in my belly because he did not like the way the robot arm was aligned, but that was it. I took awhile to come completely out of the anesthesia, but was ok by 7:00. At 7:30 pm they wheeled me into a private room where my wife & family were waiting. I was still a bit out of it. I noticed they now had an IV in my right arm where I was getting my drip & pain meds. The only thing that really hurt was my throat. That was quite sore due to the breathing tube they had to stick down there during the surgery. Had a very froggy voice. For that, they gave me some water & a sponge to suck on. Also gave me some throat lozenges, but could not tolerate the taste so I stuck to the water on a sponge. That did help a bit. I had some pain in my abdomen, but they gave me a small amt of morphine & that quickly subsided, but did not go away completely. My wife & family stayed until about 9:00 pm & then left. They had some compression suit wrapped around each leg, from my knee to my ankle. A machine kept compressing & loosening them all night long to keep my circulation good & to try & avoid any blood clots forming. I slept off & on Friday night into Saturday morning. Nurses came in several times that evening to monitor my vitals, check my bandages (band-aids really), & ask about my pain levels. Now, I’ve never had surgery before, so for me, my pain level never got above what I thought was a 3 or 4.
09/19/09 – Saturday – 1st day after surgery – Hospital/Home - I finally turned the TV on about 6:30 Saturday am & watched mostly CNN & Fox News. Got some more ice chips for my throat. Dr. Colberg & two of his staff came in around 10:00 am and said I did fine and basically told me what he told my family yesterday. He said I had no restrictions on my diet & said I could go home later this afternoon. He wants to see me on Friday, 25-Sept to check on my incisions & to have the catheter taken out. Since I was moving around more, the pain level was now about a 4. They gave me another small dose of morphine & that was it. A doctor came in & said he had to remove a small drain in my belly that I didn’t really know was there. They may have told me, but I didn’t remember. That was done in a few seconds & then covered the incision up with a small dressing. I was a bit hungry so at 11:00 I looked at the menu & ordered scrambled eggs, toast, peaches, & V8 juice for breakfast. The nurse (Frank) then came in, took off the compression fittings from around my legs, got me up & we walked down the hallway & back. Nice to get up and move. I walked bent over like a 90 yr old man & carried my catheter night bag in brown paper shopping bag. Lower abdominal area still hurts a bit. He said that most of the pain was from the gas & that would go away in a day or two. Came back & sat in the chair. No more hospital bed for me. Wife & family came about noon. Nurses said I’d be released around 3:00 so we all had lunch. Family went down to café, grabbed some food, & brought it back to my room. I ordered a roast beef wrap w/ bacon, lettuce, & tomato. Also had choc cake & water to drink. Doctors came in & out to check on my incisions & instruct my wife & I on catheter care. I had not really wanted to look at my incisions until now, but they were not that impressive. It appears that I have 1 right over my belly button, one to the lower left of it, one to the upper right of it, and 3 close together to the lower right of it. Drain was on lower left side, away from other incisions. Incisions only have small pcs of a threaded tape over them. A couple also have band-aids over them. One nurse said I can take showers, but no baths, hot-tubs, or swimming pools. Another nurse said I’d be better off with a hot wash cloth rub down. Less chance of incisions getting infected that way. I’m going with the wash cloth rub down idea until the catheter comes out on the 25th. I finally got a good look at the catheter. Not pretty & don’t really want to dwell on it. The only thing I have to say is that I can’t really feel it. You know it’s there, but you try to forget about it being there. Nurses basically said to drink, eat, and walk. No restrictions on my diet. They did say try not to drink any carbonated beverages with the catheter in. No booze either while using Percocet. I should feel much better in a couple days. Also told me things to watch out for (fever, vomiting, swollen feet, chest pain, severe back pain, shortness of breath, excess bleeding, etc, etc) & to call Dr. Colberg’s office at any time with any questions. They all said if you have any questions or ‘issues’, don’t ‘be polite’ and wait until Monday - call immediately. Doctor gave my wife 3 prescriptions, one for Percocet, one for a stool softener (surgery & Percocet make you constipated), and one for antibiotics that I take for three days, starting the day before my catheter comes out. Wife went down to the Yale pharmacy & filled the prescriptions before we left. All set to go. Discharge papers came at 3:20 pm. Wife helped me dress. They gave me a shopping bag with all sorts of ‘goodies’. I have 2 new overnight catheter bags, another catheter travel leg bag, tape, bandages, antibiotic wipes, soap, shampoo, a special syringe kit used to clean out the catheter bags, instructions, etc, etc. Everything I need to get me though this ordeal. They also gave me a Percocet for the drive home. Got in the wheelchair & they got me to the curb, where our van appeared a few minutes later, courtesy of the Yale concierge service. Got in the van very cautiously. The nurse gave me a blanket that I folded over my incisions to help soften the seatbelt. Left Yale-New Haven Hospital by 4:00, approx 31 hours after arriving. Home by 5:10 pm. Should have stayed up for awhile, but I was beat & wanted to go to bed. In bed by 5:30 pm. I needed a Percocet almost every 4 hours to keep the discomfort in check. Also started taking stool softeners, so my 1st ‘movement’ won’t be a memorable one. I must say, they do have the internal catheter section securely taped to the upper part of my right leg. The patch is about 10” x 12” and will hurt a bit when it gets ripped off, which I intend to do myself, after they cut the catheter out on the 25th.

09/20/09 – Sunday – 2nd day after surgery – Home - Woke up at 3:30 am & could not sleep any more. Middle & lower back hurt quite a bit. I never sleep on my back, but I can’t turn over on my side just yet. Wanted to sit up, so wife helped me downstairs to the living room couch where I sat up, surrounded by blankets & pillows. I could almost feel myself ‘deflating’. My lower abdomen area would rumble, I feel a pain, and then pass some gas. This went on for quite awhile. I felt much better as the gas pains subsided & was able to grab a few more hours of sleep. I had some more scrambled eggs for breakfast, but did not force myself to eat. Drinking fluids all day long. Always have a container of water, cranberry juice, Gatorade, or V8 by my side all day long. Hurts to get up from a chair, or out of bed. Walking is also an issue. Due to the pain across my middle, I can’t quite stand up straight yet. Walking with a cane. I look (and feel) like a little old man. More gas pains. Sat outside in the warm sunshine for awhile. Took a couple naps sitting up on the couch. Will not lay back down until going to bed for the night. Watched some football, ate some food, drank plenty of fluids, and tried to walk at least 5 min every hour. Stayed up till 8:30 pm & then went to bed. Again, Percocet every 4 hrs. Will not take Percocet during the day. Saving it for sleep. I also use 1 overnight catheter bag for sleeping & the other one for the daytime. I’m not using the leg bag again until the day I have to go & get the catheter removed. Noticed my feet were a bit swollen. Will call the doctor’s office about that tomorrow. Sponge bath.
09/21/09 – Monday – 3rd day after surgery - Got up again at 4:30 am and went downstairs to the ‘couch position’. Felt better almost immediately. By 9:00 am I was up & walking around with little or no pain. Can stand up straight & don’t need the cane anymore. Read the papers, watched some TV & had breakfast. Have the catheter bag hooked up to my robe so I don’t have to carry it around. Sitting up & watching TV, reading, listening to talk radio, etc. Sat outside in the warm sunshine again. Still drinking large amts of fluids. Eating small portions of food several times a day, taking stool softeners twice a day. No BM yet. Called doctor’s office about my slightly swollen feet. He said that when I sit, put my feet up & call him again if they don’t get back to normal by tomorrow. Getting some cramps & had my 1st BM at 6:30 pm. This caused some blood in my urine which they warned me about. Everything else ok. Urine back to normal color & clarity within minutes. Sponge bath, shaved, washed my hair. Went to bed at 9:30 pm. Took one Percocet which lasted me through the night.
09/22/09 –Tuesday – 4th day after surgery. Got up at 6:30 am. Slept almost the entire night. I was finally able to turn & sleep on my side (right side only). That helped my back pains quite a bit. Also slept with another pillow under my legs that I could move around as needed. Woke up a couple times, but was able to get back to sleep without any pain pills. Sat up on couch, read papers, listened to talk radio, watched TV, answered numerous emails from family & friends, walked a bit more. Always drinking fluids. Eating a bit, when hungry. Had another BM at 10:00 am. Had some discomfort in the rectal area, but hard to tell if pain is due to BM or more gas. Porb both. No blood in urine this time. No pain, just some discomfort at times. Picking at various types of food all day long. Had ½ of a roast beef BLT sandwich for lunch. Every day a little better, stronger, and slightly less pain. Still fell some pain (1) across the incisions if I sit for too long. Most of it goes away after walking around for awhile. Some of the lower pain may be gas issues preceding a BM. Hard to tell when you need to go because the feeling is different from a reg BM. Don’t want to force the issue. Will just let Mother Nature & gravity do its job. Putting my legs up when I sit must have helped, because my feet are not swollen any more. Took a nap between 4 & 5. Watched some DVD’s. Thank God our family & friends brought us all types of food, fruit, and cold meat platters. They have sustained us since Saturday. Up to bed at 9:30 pm. Trying to get back to my normal 9:30 – 6:30 routine. My wife is back to work & she needs all the sleep she can get too.

NM
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi and I read your report and I am 3 weeks post surgery. I think you will start seeing improvement in attitude once catheter comes out. Mine felt like a ball and chain. I also was prescribed percocet and a stool softener. i might be in the minority here as i never took any of my pain medicine. I started showering the first night I got home and boy did I feel better. I was very careful about not pulling on the catheter as I had nightmares about it coming out especially when i had a bowel movement. It sounds funny now but at the time it was my main fear. Now I almost feel normal can sleep on my belly but still have slight pulls where my stiches are. I am waiting for Docs permission to go back to work. Hope this helps you as you progress and good luck to you in the future....Nick

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Nick,
First, I want to thank you for reading my rather lengthy dissertation on the post-op side of Da-Vinci surgery. So glad to hear that you are doing so well. Slept great the last two nights, but I do wake up a couple times to check on my catheter. Is it ok, is the line twisted, is it draining ok, etc. I now keep the hose behind my right let instead of in front of it since I stepped on the hose going upstairs last night. They have the internal part so securely taped to my upper right thigh, that part of the tube did not move at all. Now the hose is looped between my legs and around the back of my right leg. It's amazing how well you adapt. About the only concern I have is getting this tape off my leg. I don't think they shaved underneath & I will not let them rip it off. I've been cutting a few small sections off every day. I really don't have any reason to take 1 Percocet every night, other than the fact my catheter is still there. I know, lame excuse. Once I have it taken out tomorrow am, I will flush the rest of the pills down the toilet. You can't believe how many they gave me. Amazing. I don't believe I have any stitches. The threaded type of surgical tape they used is all that's holding the incisions together. I may take them off tonight & put on fresh bandages (small Band-Aids on several of them). I hate having old surgical tape on them. I'm sure the surgeon will inspect them tomorrow & if he doesn't like my bandages, he can put back on whatever he wants. The nurse said they may come off on their own when I shower & said don't worry about it if they do. Well, I want to keep them on as long as necessary. I feel only the surgeon can tell me when I don't need them any more. I've been getting a wash down every night, but would love to just jump in the shower again. I bought some antibacterial soap before my surgery to use after my surgery. I'll wait for my surgeon to inspect the incisions & then tell me when I can jump back in. My employer expects me to return to work on 5-Oct. It will be interesting to see what the surgeon says about that. Thanks again Nick. I appreciate your comments & happy to hear that you are doing so well. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not another train. All the best, always.

Marshall

NM
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2009

I actually have no stitches either I meant to say incisions sorry...Nick

lewvino's picture
lewvino
Posts: 1010
Joined: May 2009

Sounds like they took real good care of you. I like the idea that they thought of the seat belt in your van. It bothered me coming home so I just broke the law and went with our a seat belt. Figured if the cop didn't like it I could squirt him with my cath drain tube!

Today is 6 weeks post surgery for me and its the first week that I have had no more pain. Hurrah! It seems for me that I had more pain then is typical but everyone is different.

I wish you good luck on getting the cath out, starting on the Bladder control and on getting the sexual side of things back in order in time.

Larry

MWA1028
Posts: 22
Joined: Aug 2009

Larry,
Again, thanks for taking the time to ready my post. I tend to ramble & put more in there than necessary. Actually, I cut some out. I figure if it helps even one person heading in for this type of surgery, then I've done my job. Yeah, Yale-New Haven seemed to think of everything. I can't think of anything that they could have done better, differently, etc. Of course, this was the only surgery I've ever had, so I guess ignorance is bliss. I love the idea of squirting the cop with your catheter drain tube. I can just imagine what they would do about that. 6 weeks post surgery - You seem to be in great spirits & in great shape. From what I gather from these discussions, everyone's level of pain is different. I wonder why that is. I guess it's just because God made everyone just a little bit different from everyone else. My surgeon did say he had to make another incision because he did not like how that particular robot arm was positioned once it got in there. Not sure if that's normal, or if it caused me more discomfort, or saved me from more future discomfort. Can't wait to get the catheter out & start working of my bladder control muscle flex's again. They had me start those 3 weeks prior to surgery & now we will see if they did any good. Will not start to worry about the sexual side of things until later. One step at a time. Good to hear you are 6 weeks post-op & seem to be doing just great!! My prayers are with you, as they are with everyone else going through this. All the best to you, now & in the future.

Marshall

WHW's picture
WHW
Posts: 189
Joined: Jul 2009

Marshall,

I am so glad that things are starting to look up for you. As you may know if you saw my posts I was only 1 day ahead of you in surgery.

It is Saturday and I have been back home in Orlando 2 days now. It was a long yet very short week for me to stay in Detroit following my surgery. It is good to be back home, isn't it?

It is hard for me to identify with what you are going through with your recovery. I am one of the very fortunate ones. I never took a pain pill, was walking 2-3 miles a day after being released from the hospital and never had any issues with the catheter. I think my comfort was really helped by the fact that I did not have the normal Foley Catheter. My Dr. switched 2 years ago to using the Supra Pubic catheter. There were many reasons for this decision, primarily it was to relieve his patients from the complaints and discomfort of the Foley.

Every day you will feel better. Every day will begin with the sun shining and you can take in a deep breath and know that "Every Day is A Bonus".

Don't be in too big a hurry to renew the Kegel exercises. Let your body heal and let your mind heal. You have all the time in the world to adapt to the new and improved you. Experience the renewed love and zest for life. But don't hurry it. Life is there for you, it's not going anywhere and it will wait for you.

You may have seen the quote that a friend sent to me that I posted earlier;

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."

So start today on your new path. It may be a path not of your choosing, but how you walk it is totally within your control.

I will continue to pray for blessings for you and your family,

Sonny

Angry
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2009

My husband was just diagnosed with prostate cancer he is 71 and has high blood pressure. I am angry because all three of his younger brothers have already had to deal with this. His psa level was 3, his doctor never has done a DRE in five years at that time the psa was one. She said you are fine. I work in the medical profession and i didn't share her opinion so we went to a urologist. All 14 biopies were 45-90% positive. The bone scan was negative we are waiting on the ct scan. my question is both sides show the cancer has invaded his nerves and that he has a high percentage in the apex of the prostate. I know the cancer can seep out through these nerves. I am scared to death-has anyone had nerve involvement and if so what was the outcome? we are hoping to go for the DaVinci robotic surgery but if some cells are running through his body what are his chances and if his psa goes up how do they know where to direct the radiation. it could be anywhere. also when do they do the first psa test after surgery?

NM
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi and Im sorry to hear your husband has cancer. Im 52 with high blood pressure. My psa was 5, perineural invasion in 5 0f 6 samples.Also in 5 of 6 samples 50-100% positive for cancer Had Davinci surgery 4 weeks ago.I had a saturation biopsy with 24 needles. Father died of prostate cancer. Got my pathology report back and no positive margins. Just goes to show you never know were all different but never give up hope. My doctor said if psa stays low no further treatment is necessary so Im hopeful. My first psa test will be 6 weeks after surgery(in 2 weeks). I will post the results then and please keep a positive attitude ,find an experienced doctor, pray and live life and read the posts here as they will help you and you will know your not alone, God bless you both and post again if you have questions and someone will be here to help you.....Peace to both.....Nick

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