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why so long off work

fluffylove's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2013

I am a psychotherapist and I spend my time talking to patients about anxiety and depression, phobias, ocd,etc., ironic really ha but I don't want to talk about it.

I have recently been diagnosed with a 4cm tumour, small compared with many on this site, reading your blogs all will be well.

My question is why my consultant said I will need four months off work?

Is mine as difficult as he said 'complicated and difficult' due to it being in my left kidney inside the kidney, he will have to work through blood vessels and an artury. Sorry cannot spell and useless at math not that thats important here. He also said he will not cut my kidney or remove any of it and he will cut me not using keyhole surgery.

Any information and advice would be helpful. I know Im over in uk and probally have sites like this here, but am so inspired by you all.


todd121's picture
Posts: 1427
Joined: Dec 2012

Hi and welcome. Sorry you have this problem. I had a 6.8 cm tumor and had to have my right kidney removed in December. I understood that 90% of these tumors are renal cell carcinoma and require partial or full  nephrectomy. There's a lot of disagreement about biopsies, but I was told they generally don't biopsy for two reasons. One is fear of spreading the tumor outside the kidney. The second is a large percentage of false negative because they miss the cancerous tissue in something like 20% of the cases due to the nature of the tissue in the kidney. These tumors are usually inside the kidney to start with.

My surgeon has an excellent website that talks about the issues. You might want to have a look. http://www.kidneycancerinstitute.com/ I'm not a doctor, but in addition to reading my doctor's website, who's a respected urologist oncologist and dean of the urology department at our medical school here, I consulted with 4 oncologists, two of which are RCC specialists.

I don't understand much of what your consultant has said. I don't understand why you'd need 4 months off if the surgery is so non-invasive as he says. I took 6 weeks off for my full nephrectomy. I may have been able to go back earlier, but I think 6 weeks was about right. I'm still having fatigue over 8 weeks after my surgery. There are some techniques to kill the tumor using freezing or burning, but I'm not sure how successful they are at making sure nothing of the tumor remains. With RCC you really want to make sure you get it all with clean margins, as it can come back and can spread to other parts of the body. If you don't mind, perhaps you could post more information. Did you have a biopsy or imaging studies? Was the diagnosis RCC?

I would ask your doctor a lot more questions before making a decision. You should undestand what he's doing and why. Also, I would get at least a second independent opinion and more if the second opinion isn't entirely independent.

Four months sounds excessive to me. They don't do radiation generally for RCC (from my understanding) or traditional chemotherapy, so I don't get why you would need 4 months off work. Unless he' considering psychological reasons? For me, I was glad to get back to work and a more normal life. At first I thought I wanted more time off work, but when I went back I was glad. There are a lot of issues with anxiety, depression, and dealing with a cancer diagnosis means changing our life I think. I've been concentrating on diet, exercise, prayer, meditation and other things to help me out.

Best wishes to you.


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3280
Joined: Jan 2010



How long you will have to be off work has a lot to due with your age and the type of surgery you have. A nephrectomy is major abdominal surgery. A partial is more time consuming and may result in a longer recovery. There are 2 things to consider. When can you go back and do your normal work and when can you do that comfortably 8 hours a day, every day. You should be able to ease ito yur job in a month and a full load shorly after that. Look at all the free insight you are getting into your patient's lives.



GSRon's picture
Posts: 1304
Joined: Jan 2013

Fluffy... unless you have some other medical issue... then it may be wise to get another opinion... 

I had a 10 by 12cm tumor with Renal Vein invasion...  major surgery... they named my incision the "Mercedes"... it was huge... took 7 1/2 hours on the table to do the deed....  I was walking (well shuffling my feet) on the second day after surgery.. and walking with a walker on the third day... soon the nurses were chasing after me walking the halls...   I went back to work at 6 weeks... oh yes, took my race bike to the track the two days before.. (no I was not racing it... but I did push start it)..  So, unless you have other issues... well.. maybe the Doctor is just be hugely conservative...  but your comments make me wonder....

Good Luck..!


foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I'll bet that your Dr. is just doing the CYA thing. (cover your a**). By extending his estimate for your time off, he avoids issues like anyone complaining that, "You said I would be able to work in 3 weeks and it's 4 weeks!" "I'm gonna sue you!" If you are ready to return to work before his estimate, he thinks he looks good in your eyes. Plus you think, "Boy. I must be tough. 2 months ahead of schedule.". White lies shouldn't be anything new to a counselor like you.

fluffylove's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2013

Thank you for your reponse. Yes maybe my surgery will be more time consuming, and I will be able to have a phased return to work. When I was diagnosed did think another life experience to add to my profile, which in turn will help others. Looking at the positive this can be a blessing.

I came into my line of work as I had a back injury and could not walk about 15 years ago, and wanted to help people bit dramatic but from a wheelchaire. I was fortunate that I did not need one in the end. But was aware that I needed to do something if I ended up in one. People always talked to me, if I sat on park bench, someone would sit next to me I would say very little but in ten minutes had their life story. So I started studying to become a counsellor. Turns out its exactly where I am supposed to be.

My mother who died at 87 years four years ago. Had cervical cancer when she was 52 and was asked to be a guini pig for a research project, which invloved inserting radium pellets into her cervix, this was pionered in the USA and mum was the uk first tester. She survived to 87 bless her. She was a strong lady and my example of 'what does not kill you makes you stronger'. If I am anything like her I will be fine.

fluffylove's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2013

Ok first of all, thank you everybody for responding to my post. I forgot about time difference and at one point thought nobody had replied ha.

Todd121, To answer your questions on paper its says having a partial removal, but consultant did say as it seems to be doing nothing will be able to remove it without removing any of kidney. I had a ultrasound only so far on the 26th Feb having a CT scan, maybe that will confirm things and then will be able to ask questions referring to some you have highlighted here. I will check out the website you gave me with interest. Will also ask about aftercare, any further stuff like chemo etc., at this point no idea. Hoping all will become clear on the 26th. I will post you a note when I have more information about my treatment, its all very confusing. Maybe 4 months was due to allowing for fatigue, if I feel ready to go back before I surely will.

This site is proving so reasurring as I am aware I am very lucky that they found the tumour again as I now understand by chance. So many others on this site had bigger tumours and more invasive surgery. Still scary the words tumour and cancer together in same sentence.

Thank you for your advice and support.


one putt
Posts: 72
Joined: Sep 2012

I had a radical nephrephtomy laproscopically with partial open surgery due to a 7.5cm tumor and the surrounding tissue/fat that was removed. Surgery was 11-1-11. I spent just one night in the hospital. On 11-10-11, I appeared in court to handle a guilty plea for a client and was even able to drive myself there. I was very fortunate and had few difficulties with my recovery. Lots of folks on this site have had recoveries with varying degrees of difficulties. I agree with Fox, I think your doctor was just being overly cautious.

Eims's picture
Posts: 423
Joined: Feb 2013

hi guys,

i am new here and i am reading these posts in amazement.  i am in ireland and for a start after major surgery here you cannot drive legally for 6 weeks as your car insurance does not cover you.  one putt you must be made of iron and i admire you but i had my radical nephrectomy in january and there is no way i could have done that.  i suppose everyone is different and heals in different timescales.  my own gp looked at me like i had 10 heads when i said i wanted to go back to work after 6 weeks...he advised 3 months minimum off work!!  im so pleased to have found this site and it really nice to meet you all.

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