New member of survivor club

DMike
DMike Member Posts: 259
Hi Everyone,
I had my open partial nephrectomy on the afternoon of December 6th. My Doc removed a 5.4 cm tumor and 25% of my right kidney. He had to do an open procedure because he said the mass was large and deep in the kidney. Things are going very well one week after the surgery. I'm feeling better every day, walking a lot and I'm weaning myself from the pain pills now.

I had my drain tube removed today and received my pathology report. I'm glad that drain is gone! The patho report was clear cell, Stage T1b and clear margins around the tumor. All good news to me. I feel like my life has been on hold since October 24th and I'm now ready to move forward and make the most of every opportunity.

I've been a very serious cyclist for the past 28 years riding a minimum of 5000 miles per year and upped it to 8000 miles last year. I was really PO'd when I learned I had cancer even though I had worked so hard to keep myself in shape and skinny as hell my whole adult life. But now I see the benefits in recovery. I can't wait to get back on the bike but will do it slowly with lots of walking first.

I want to thank you all for your posts. You have no idea how much you've helped me through this whole ordeal and I'm sure you'll continue to help. Sorry for the long post, it just feels like I'm starting my life over today! Thanks again!!

--David
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Comments

  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,360 Member
    Welcome to the club
    David,

    Welcome,

    As you can see the surgery was not fun and the recovery will take its time. While you may be riding a bike soon the extreme stuff can wait awile. Relax and enjoy life.

    Best wishes,

    Icemantoo
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    icemantoo said:

    Welcome to the club
    David,

    Welcome,

    As you can see the surgery was not fun and the recovery will take its time. While you may be riding a bike soon the extreme stuff can wait awile. Relax and enjoy life.

    Best wishes,

    Icemantoo

    Sugar Coating
    Thanks icemantoo. I thought about your "can't sugar coat the surgery" comment often during the first few days after surgery. It helped in understanding and getting this far. I appreciate you!
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    DMike said:

    Sugar Coating
    Thanks icemantoo. I thought about your "can't sugar coat the surgery" comment often during the first few days after surgery. It helped in understanding and getting this far. I appreciate you!

    Welcome survivor...
    Hi David,

    Sorry to make your acquaintance under such lousy circumstances, but happy to hear about the excellent outcome and that you are managing the recovery process so well, being fit makes all the difference. That's a pretty impressive cycling record you have compiled, you will be back in the saddle soon enough to keep it going and now you have many more years and miles to look forward to. When you do start riding again your brain may be saying go, go, go, but let your body set the pace for awhile at least. In the meantime you have earned a little R&R, you have the scars to prove it.

    Good luck and God speed,

    Gary
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    garym said:

    Welcome survivor...
    Hi David,

    Sorry to make your acquaintance under such lousy circumstances, but happy to hear about the excellent outcome and that you are managing the recovery process so well, being fit makes all the difference. That's a pretty impressive cycling record you have compiled, you will be back in the saddle soon enough to keep it going and now you have many more years and miles to look forward to. When you do start riding again your brain may be saying go, go, go, but let your body set the pace for awhile at least. In the meantime you have earned a little R&R, you have the scars to prove it.

    Good luck and God speed,

    Gary

    Carry On
    Hi Gary,
    Thanks for the kind words here and in your posts to others. My bikes live in the house and up until a few days ago, that room made me very sad when I entered it. Now as I move forward the joy is returning. I know it's going to be slow going for a long time but I'm going to try to enjoy every minute of it. Thanks again, David
  • ripper
    ripper Member Posts: 28
    Take It Slow!
    David,

    Good News on your surgery and first week home. I went through pretty much the same procedure in June 2011. I have one piece of caution though, and it is to take the 2nd week slowwww! After 6 days in the hospital and after a full week home, I took the "It's OK to drive, get back to getting around" pretty serious. The next week of self cautherization for clots was the worst week of my life.

    Take your walks, hold your side, get off the pain meds and on ibuprophren, and drink lots of fluids. -Ryan
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    ripper said:

    Take It Slow!
    David,

    Good News on your surgery and first week home. I went through pretty much the same procedure in June 2011. I have one piece of caution though, and it is to take the 2nd week slowwww! After 6 days in the hospital and after a full week home, I took the "It's OK to drive, get back to getting around" pretty serious. The next week of self cautherization for clots was the worst week of my life.

    Take your walks, hold your side, get off the pain meds and on ibuprophren, and drink lots of fluids. -Ryan

    Slow for sure!
    Ryan,
    It's now day 10 for me and I continue to take it slow. I'm actually surprised I'm being so good at following the doctor's directions. My wife has been a big help in getting me through this and making sure I don't overdo. I'm also working on weaning myself from the pain meds and I love to walk, so it's getting better every day. Thanks for your help. --David
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    DMike said:

    Slow for sure!
    Ryan,
    It's now day 10 for me and I continue to take it slow. I'm actually surprised I'm being so good at following the doctor's directions. My wife has been a big help in getting me through this and making sure I don't overdo. I'm also working on weaning myself from the pain meds and I love to walk, so it's getting better every day. Thanks for your help. --David

    24 Hour Challenge...
    Hi David,

    I don't know if you have ever heard of or perhaps competed in the National 24 Hour Challenge held each year in June, but it is held in my home town of Middleville. I'm always amazed by how far some of these riders can go in 24 hours. 24 minutes on one of those seats is more than enough for me.

    Just curious,

    Gary
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    garym said:

    24 Hour Challenge...
    Hi David,

    I don't know if you have ever heard of or perhaps competed in the National 24 Hour Challenge held each year in June, but it is held in my home town of Middleville. I'm always amazed by how far some of these riders can go in 24 hours. 24 minutes on one of those seats is more than enough for me.

    Just curious,

    Gary

    24 Hour Challenge
    Gary,
    Yes I have heard of the 24 Hour Challenge. It's kind of weird how I heard of it. We have a BMW motorcycle restoration shop(Bench Mark Works) in the small town of Sturgis, Mississippi which is near me. They even have a Strugis South motorcycle rally each year.
    Well, I was on a ride through the area when someone with a vintage BMW on a trailer stopped me in the middle of nowhere to give me a flyer and a water bottle promoting the 24 Hour Challenge. He was down from Michigan having a BMW restored and was on the backroads heading north when he saw me and decided to ask me to attend.

    I have to admit after reading the flyer, I thought you would have to be crazy to subject yourself to that! The longest I've sat on a saddle is 7 hours and that's enough!

    Interesting that you would ask about that!
    --David
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    DMike said:

    24 Hour Challenge
    Gary,
    Yes I have heard of the 24 Hour Challenge. It's kind of weird how I heard of it. We have a BMW motorcycle restoration shop(Bench Mark Works) in the small town of Sturgis, Mississippi which is near me. They even have a Strugis South motorcycle rally each year.
    Well, I was on a ride through the area when someone with a vintage BMW on a trailer stopped me in the middle of nowhere to give me a flyer and a water bottle promoting the 24 Hour Challenge. He was down from Michigan having a BMW restored and was on the backroads heading north when he saw me and decided to ask me to attend.

    I have to admit after reading the flyer, I thought you would have to be crazy to subject yourself to that! The longest I've sat on a saddle is 7 hours and that's enough!

    Interesting that you would ask about that!
    --David

    24 Hour Challenge
    David,

    It never ceases to amaze what a small world we share.

    Gary
  • msacher63
    msacher63 Member Posts: 21
    Greetings
    It is really, really good to be healthy and in shape before entering the club. I know it's easier said than done but be patient. I am a triathlon person myself (sprints mostly). I had my entire left kidney removed the way you had yours done. Surgery was Wednesday 8:00 A.M. Freaked coworkers out when I stopped in to say,” hi” at 5:00 Thursday afternoon on the ride home from the hospital and showed off my new 6 ½ inch taped over battle scar. Almost had an argument with my boss about returning 2 1/2 weeks later. At the 3 1/2 week mark I tried a 3-mile easy run. Not the smartest thing on my part but couldn't help it. My body let me know immediately to "knock it off". I gave it some more time and after 5 weeks I can do 1 or 2 slow runs in a week and even hit the gym once or twice (light weights). I physically feel outstanding but fatigue sets in quick when I push too hard. I know I have to ease up when I fall asleep 2-3 nights in a row at 7:00 and sleep through to the morning. So again, be patient. It will come. As I have heard all too many times over the past month and a half," You've just had major surgery. Give your body time to heal." Ya, ya, ya
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    garym said:

    24 Hour Challenge
    David,

    It never ceases to amaze what a small world we share.

    Gary

    Small World
    Gary,
    My thought exactly when you asked that question!
    --David
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    msacher63 said:

    Greetings
    It is really, really good to be healthy and in shape before entering the club. I know it's easier said than done but be patient. I am a triathlon person myself (sprints mostly). I had my entire left kidney removed the way you had yours done. Surgery was Wednesday 8:00 A.M. Freaked coworkers out when I stopped in to say,” hi” at 5:00 Thursday afternoon on the ride home from the hospital and showed off my new 6 ½ inch taped over battle scar. Almost had an argument with my boss about returning 2 1/2 weeks later. At the 3 1/2 week mark I tried a 3-mile easy run. Not the smartest thing on my part but couldn't help it. My body let me know immediately to "knock it off". I gave it some more time and after 5 weeks I can do 1 or 2 slow runs in a week and even hit the gym once or twice (light weights). I physically feel outstanding but fatigue sets in quick when I push too hard. I know I have to ease up when I fall asleep 2-3 nights in a row at 7:00 and sleep through to the morning. So again, be patient. It will come. As I have heard all too many times over the past month and a half," You've just had major surgery. Give your body time to heal." Ya, ya, ya

    Patience
    Thanks for the tips. I can't believe you walked in the office 1 day post surgery. Wow. I really believe I'm going to be patient about getting back on the bike. It means too much to me and I don't want to screw it up. I'm really glad to hear you are doing so well.
    --David
  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181
    DMike said:

    Patience
    Thanks for the tips. I can't believe you walked in the office 1 day post surgery. Wow. I really believe I'm going to be patient about getting back on the bike. It means too much to me and I don't want to screw it up. I'm really glad to hear you are doing so well.
    --David

    training
    You guys are on track. Just be patient. I'm also a runner and needed several weeks to begin again. This isn't like trying to peak for an event. Let it comeback slowly. Time to enjoy training and forget pushing. Something about using my workouts as a mental thing to "out run" cancer motivated me as I continued to improve. A few months later, I was running as good as I had in 10 years.
  • Olsera
    Olsera Member Posts: 38
    DMike said:

    Patience
    Thanks for the tips. I can't believe you walked in the office 1 day post surgery. Wow. I really believe I'm going to be patient about getting back on the bike. It means too much to me and I don't want to screw it up. I'm really glad to hear you are doing so well.
    --David

    I am new to the club
    Hi David,
    I am new to the club as well. My surgery was 9 weeks ago open radical left nephrectomy 3cm Papillary. I am a 35 year old female. The first 2 weeks were rough but by the third week I was feeling pretty good. I walked a little bit each day and slowly I could do more & more. Now I have been doing good walks with steep hills in the snow & lots of cross country skiing the more I do the better I feel. You will be back in the saddle before you know it.
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    foxhd said:

    training
    You guys are on track. Just be patient. I'm also a runner and needed several weeks to begin again. This isn't like trying to peak for an event. Let it comeback slowly. Time to enjoy training and forget pushing. Something about using my workouts as a mental thing to "out run" cancer motivated me as I continued to improve. A few months later, I was running as good as I had in 10 years.

    training
    Foxhd,
    I'm still in the tough 2 week post surgery period, so it's really good to hear about people moving forward with training. Thanks, David
  • DMike
    DMike Member Posts: 259
    Olsera said:

    I am new to the club
    Hi David,
    I am new to the club as well. My surgery was 9 weeks ago open radical left nephrectomy 3cm Papillary. I am a 35 year old female. The first 2 weeks were rough but by the third week I was feeling pretty good. I walked a little bit each day and slowly I could do more & more. Now I have been doing good walks with steep hills in the snow & lots of cross country skiing the more I do the better I feel. You will be back in the saddle before you know it.

    Great news
    Olsera,
    Good to hear you're doing so well after your surgery. I really appreciate messages like yours. They keep me motivated. Thanks, David
  • Texas_wedge
    Texas_wedge Member Posts: 2,798
    Exercise in recovery phase
    This seems to be the thread most focused on getting back into sporting shape by suitable exercise. So, I'm after some of the wisdom of experience you guys have attained. Bearing in mind iceman's counsel, on another thread, that no 2 recoveries are the same, some guidelines would be appreciated.

    Q1 What sort of warnings from my body that I'm overdoing it should I look out for?

    Q2 What sort of consequences might result from not being cautious enough? On this point, the only info. I can remember is ripper's, above. I'm not sure I need all the grisly details but any more specific guidance would be welcome since I'm at exactly the stage he was when he paid the price - 6 days in hospital and a week and a bit at home now.

    Q3 To mascher63 (who must be a freak of nature!), in particular, what sort of resistance exercises are sensible? I don't intend any clean pulls or flip snatches or even barbell curls, which stress the postural stabilising muscles, but am thinking of calf raises, half squats and isolation exercises for, e.g. triceps, biceps, delts. I fear that lat. exercises might be a bit dodgy?

    Q4 What forms of exercise have people found most beneficial? With temperatures likely to stay below freezing for the next 3 months (in N.E. Scotland) and the prospect of sporadic winter gales, neither cycling nor running is attractive at present. Walking is, I suppose, the no-brainer and I've just done a pleasant 2m. with my Wife (despite heavy scots mist). I'm keen to resume rowing indoors (have a Concept 2D) but am a bit chary of starting yet since it's very easy to kid yourself you're taking it easy when you're not. I'll probably try some squats on my Nautilus Smith machine soon and some light isolation work with dumbbells but I think garym and foxhd might agree that for a 'grip it and rip it' merchant it's too early to swing the golf clubs. (Putting practice would probably yield a better scoring payoff for next season anyway.)

    Q5 How soon? (I know - how long is a piece of string?) Several of you guys (and gals!) have come back amazingly by taking it gradually but progressively. At 69, after an op. that turned from lap. to open surgery, took 4 hours longer than expected with a lot of unanticipated bleeding and has me with a main incision that's just shrunk (via abdomen deflation) to 9-10 inche, I'm realistic about how quickly I'll recover. However, do you have general guidelines on how to step it up? Maybe there were physiological feedbacks that told you when you could sensibly up the ante?

    I'm keen to join the ranks of you never-say-die sporting survivors so any help will be gratefully received, even if it doesn't address any of the questions I've put to you all.

    t.i.a.

    T.
  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181

    Exercise in recovery phase
    This seems to be the thread most focused on getting back into sporting shape by suitable exercise. So, I'm after some of the wisdom of experience you guys have attained. Bearing in mind iceman's counsel, on another thread, that no 2 recoveries are the same, some guidelines would be appreciated.

    Q1 What sort of warnings from my body that I'm overdoing it should I look out for?

    Q2 What sort of consequences might result from not being cautious enough? On this point, the only info. I can remember is ripper's, above. I'm not sure I need all the grisly details but any more specific guidance would be welcome since I'm at exactly the stage he was when he paid the price - 6 days in hospital and a week and a bit at home now.

    Q3 To mascher63 (who must be a freak of nature!), in particular, what sort of resistance exercises are sensible? I don't intend any clean pulls or flip snatches or even barbell curls, which stress the postural stabilising muscles, but am thinking of calf raises, half squats and isolation exercises for, e.g. triceps, biceps, delts. I fear that lat. exercises might be a bit dodgy?

    Q4 What forms of exercise have people found most beneficial? With temperatures likely to stay below freezing for the next 3 months (in N.E. Scotland) and the prospect of sporadic winter gales, neither cycling nor running is attractive at present. Walking is, I suppose, the no-brainer and I've just done a pleasant 2m. with my Wife (despite heavy scots mist). I'm keen to resume rowing indoors (have a Concept 2D) but am a bit chary of starting yet since it's very easy to kid yourself you're taking it easy when you're not. I'll probably try some squats on my Nautilus Smith machine soon and some light isolation work with dumbbells but I think garym and foxhd might agree that for a 'grip it and rip it' merchant it's too early to swing the golf clubs. (Putting practice would probably yield a better scoring payoff for next season anyway.)

    Q5 How soon? (I know - how long is a piece of string?) Several of you guys (and gals!) have come back amazingly by taking it gradually but progressively. At 69, after an op. that turned from lap. to open surgery, took 4 hours longer than expected with a lot of unanticipated bleeding and has me with a main incision that's just shrunk (via abdomen deflation) to 9-10 inche, I'm realistic about how quickly I'll recover. However, do you have general guidelines on how to step it up? Maybe there were physiological feedbacks that told you when you could sensibly up the ante?

    I'm keen to join the ranks of you never-say-die sporting survivors so any help will be gratefully received, even if it doesn't address any of the questions I've put to you all.

    t.i.a.

    T.

    exercise.
    Here is my recommendation. First, I am a physical therapist. I have worked with people like ourselves for over 30 years. With that understood,I have learned a lot. #1. People confuse exercise with rehabilitation. It is not about getting stronger . It is about getting our strength back. When our bodies have to deal with a health insult such as injury, surgery or disease, it puts us into a protective mode. Like when you slam your thumb in a door and due to pain, you can't move it. Your strength didn't go away. It was inhibited...The basic trick is this...Start to do things that are normal. Learn to get up by yourself. Learn to walk without a limp. Shower. Go for a walk. Restart your hobby. Soon enough, you body recognizes that things you do are normal and won't hurt you. If you do too much, your body goes back into protective mode and delays your progress. Pushing yourself doesn't yield results. As you heal, you become able to increase your activity. A conservative approach will produce maximum results... We are not training for a marathon. That is a BIG difference.....There is a lot more detail than that, but I am trying to keep it simple.
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    foxhd said:

    exercise.
    Here is my recommendation. First, I am a physical therapist. I have worked with people like ourselves for over 30 years. With that understood,I have learned a lot. #1. People confuse exercise with rehabilitation. It is not about getting stronger . It is about getting our strength back. When our bodies have to deal with a health insult such as injury, surgery or disease, it puts us into a protective mode. Like when you slam your thumb in a door and due to pain, you can't move it. Your strength didn't go away. It was inhibited...The basic trick is this...Start to do things that are normal. Learn to get up by yourself. Learn to walk without a limp. Shower. Go for a walk. Restart your hobby. Soon enough, you body recognizes that things you do are normal and won't hurt you. If you do too much, your body goes back into protective mode and delays your progress. Pushing yourself doesn't yield results. As you heal, you become able to increase your activity. A conservative approach will produce maximum results... We are not training for a marathon. That is a BIG difference.....There is a lot more detail than that, but I am trying to keep it simple.

    Slow and steady wins...
    My rehab/recovery process was complicated by the injuries from my accident and the surgery required five days after my nephrectomy because of those injuries, so I'm not sure how much benefit my story will be. My "normal" routine consisted mainly of walking 4 miles minimum daily and weight lifting. My stamina for distance returned quickly, but it took several weeks for my pace to approach where it had been prior to the accident. Weight training took longer, I started with empty bars and worked only on range of motion. Whether it was walking or lifting I let pain be my guide, if I felt anything even close to debilitating I stopped or backed off, when I could work through it comfortably I pressed on. Shaving a few seconds off my pace or adding 5 lbs (max) to the bar became my goals. It was helpful to track my progress on paper and easy to see that slow and steady produced the best results. One other thing, I was off all pain meds before I started lifting, but again I was dealing with structural damage and felt I needed to clearly understand my limits without the masking of meds.
  • Texas_wedge
    Texas_wedge Member Posts: 2,798
    garym said:

    Slow and steady wins...
    My rehab/recovery process was complicated by the injuries from my accident and the surgery required five days after my nephrectomy because of those injuries, so I'm not sure how much benefit my story will be. My "normal" routine consisted mainly of walking 4 miles minimum daily and weight lifting. My stamina for distance returned quickly, but it took several weeks for my pace to approach where it had been prior to the accident. Weight training took longer, I started with empty bars and worked only on range of motion. Whether it was walking or lifting I let pain be my guide, if I felt anything even close to debilitating I stopped or backed off, when I could work through it comfortably I pressed on. Shaving a few seconds off my pace or adding 5 lbs (max) to the bar became my goals. It was helpful to track my progress on paper and easy to see that slow and steady produced the best results. One other thing, I was off all pain meds before I started lifting, but again I was dealing with structural damage and felt I needed to clearly understand my limits without the masking of meds.

    foxhd and Gary - thanks, my friends. What a boon to have a pro. on board.

    I imagine fox will approve pretty much of how Gary went about it. I hope so because it represents very much what I had in mind for my own rehab. The temp. here unexpectedly shot up to 9C this afternoon (newcomers to Scotland, dismayed by wind/rain/snow, are often told 'If you don't like the Scottish weather, wait ten minutes!' ) so my Wife and I took a walk. She uses the excellent iPhone app. Runkeeper Pro and it revealed that we walked 3.12 miles in just over 1hour 35 minutes and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

    The meds masking issue is very much on my mind and I may defer doing any weights work until I've seen my GP, reviewed my morphine dose level and had his thoughts on the topic. Fortunately he's got a lot of rehab experience with national level pro sportsmen so I'd be daft not to heed his advice.

    I tend to be a bit too cavalier and need to remember the difference between being macho and being too macho (=stupid). So I'll take to heart fox's "A conservative approach will produce maximum results." and garym's "slow and steady produced the best results." I guess you could regard that as a consensus!