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What do you wish you had done . . . ?

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

Okay folks,

I am 72 hours out from my surgery. It is a hand assist radical laparoscopic procedure on the right kidney.  The surgeon reassessed and it is 5.6 cm instead of the 4 cm they first noted.  He was looking at the same CT that was used originally so there's no chance for growth.

But on to the question.  What do you wish you had done differently in the three days leading up to your surgery?  What are choices made that you regretted or choices you didn't make that you wish you had?

Thanks for your time!  I thought this might be a good question as I prepare myself!

 

Michael

dhs1963's picture
dhs1963
Posts: 510
Joined: May 2012

I ate the low waste diet starting 72 hrs out, to golightly 24 hrs out.

 

I can not think of anything I would have done differently.  Well, maybe things in the house, like get it ready with the understanding that I was not going to be moving well. 

ourfriendjohn's picture
ourfriendjohn
Posts: 72
Joined: Jun 2012

I wish I hadn't worried so much about either the surgery or cancer aspect: the surgery was not THAT bad.   Mine  was a right radical with open incision, my first surgery ever, and I was in the hospital five days.  After two weeks I felt pretty good and at six weeks I was (pretty much) back to normal.  I DON'T regret getting in some extra exercise in the days leading up to the surgery to put me in the best shape possible.  I found that faith and the love and support of family and friends went a long way to help get past the apprehension and fear.  Know that the thoughts and prayers of your friends here are with you too.  Keep us posted on your recovery.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2799
Joined: Nov 2011

Michael, there's not much you can do now to influence outcome and your docs will doubtless have given all necessary advice on medical issues like hydration etc.  Maybe your fellow-patients here can advise on practical issues.  Stay as mentally relaxed as possible (meditation always helpful) but remain physically active to keep fitness level tuned up.

You're an intellectual so taking some reading matter in will go without saying, but don't be despondent if you don't feel like doing much for the first day or two, although with your op you'll surely be out and fine in no time.  Think about the journey home and plan to make it as comfortable as possible, with optimal route, vehicle, cushions etc (latter very handy to hold against your side if/when you cough or sneeze). You've probably already thought about arrangements at home - maybe a recliner to sleep in in case bed is too uncomfortable (but you'll probably be OK after a lap procedure) and avoiding much stair climbing while you're still a bit sore.

My guess is that this will be plain sailing for you and that you've got it well taped already. 

One thing I did that was definitely right in my circumstances may be rather less necessary for you.  After a thoroughly healthy life I'd only been in hospital very briefly for surgery - one night for a couple of awkward wisdom teeth to be removes under a general anaesthetic.  However, my op was major with a largish tumor, in a tricky location (and all surgery under a general when almost seventy is not to be taken too lightly). I wasn't unduly bothered but, while driving us to the Hospital, I gently put it to my Wife and our only Daughter that we all hoped and expected that matters would go well but if that turned out not to be the case they should both remember that we all know the affection we hold for each other - never in doubt - and that accordingly, if it went awry, there would be no occasion for regret or self-recrimination for things left unsaid.  That was of some comfort when the op had to be converted from lap to open, involved much blood loss and transfusions and my Wife and Daughter were left hanging for hours with no news long after I was supposed to be out of theatre.  My Daughter has more than once expressed thanks for that forethought, which meant a lot to her.

Perhaps everyone does that - I have no way of knowing - but maybe it sometimes gets overlooked in the anxiety of the occasion.  I don't suppose it applies in your current situation but it's the best answer I can give to your eminently sensible question.  Good luck when the time comes, TW.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I would have had sent my wife on a mini vacation so she wouldn't have known and worried.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2799
Joined: Nov 2011

I bet she'd have gone nuts when she found out what you'd done to her, wouldn't she?

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

Fox, My wife wants to know where that suggestion was weeks ago? LOL She asked if it's too late to start now?

She'll be updating for me on Tuesday!

Great responses friends, truly!  Thank you all!

Michael

Galrim's picture
Galrim
Posts: 305
Joined: Apr 2013

Mentally that is. I was far too keen on getting back to the pre-surgery life. I started working, excersising, everything, way too quick. And it backlashed a few months later when I got hit by severe stress. And afterwards found out that maybe my body was back on full schedule two weeks after, but my mind certainly wasnt...

/G

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2799
Joined: Nov 2011

G, I reckon those insights would go well on the "Recovering from radical nephrectomy" thread where what you've said can't be repeated too often!

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Michael,

I really can't think of any changes I would make in the  three days prior to surgery. I had loads of phone calls from family and friends, some I had been meaning to call for ages...(sorted now). They gave me a huge boost of courage.I also went out for a slap up meal the day before, we had good food and a good laugh. I was obviously nervous the day of admission but on the whole I was pretty relaxed considering. My husband was more nervous than me, we could have had a double room but I don't think he would have coped well.

So I have no regrets to report apart from having to face it in the first place. Such is life:)

I wish you all the best for Tuesday, if I were you I should keep the door tightly shut on it until the day. Everything is organized, there is nothing left for you to do now but turn up.

We will all be thinking of you and sending you good vibes next week. Enjoy your weekend with your family.

 

Djinnie x

 

 

 

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 898
Joined: Mar 2012

Can't say John would have done anything differently. I know we spent a lot of time talking about how easy life had been prior to this little blip, and chastized ourselves a bit for taking it for granted. We  promised we'd come back from the other side of the operation embracing life more passionately. We kind of used it as a wake up call.

 

Wishing you and your family more smiles and happiness than ever on the other side of the surgery.  

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

and agree entirely!  There are modifications in the offing!  You are in Baltimore, right?  I was born and raised not far from there. We claimed Laurel, but actually it was Scaggsville!  Cool

Do  give my regards to the Bromo Seltzer Tower!

 

Michael

alice124's picture
alice124
Posts: 898
Joined: Mar 2012

Yes, we're Baltimore in Canton, just East of Fells Point.

I'm familiar with Laurel (not so much Scaggsville), but John tells me Scaggsville is home to Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. 

Up until retirement in Feburary, my office looked right out onto the Bromo Seltzer Tower, we were very familiar with each other.

 

Positive thoughts with you on Monday!

 

 

Stros2013's picture
Stros2013
Posts: 31
Joined: Aug 2012

I didn't have the luxury of seeing the surgery coming.  It happened so quickly.......but if I had the time, then i wish i would have taken the opportunity to work on the mental side of recovery.  Specifically, the lack of control and resulting sense of helplessness and frustration.  My experience, like Gary's sentiments earlier,  is that the body heals way more quickly than the mind/spirit.  That whole acceptance thing is tough and the unknowns can crush you if you let them......so don't.  

be good.  best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery.

todd121's picture
todd121
Posts: 1425
Joined: Dec 2012

Nothing major. A couple of minor things.

A few friends had trouble finding me in the hospital the first day or two (I go by my middle name not my first name and I wasn't clear exactly where I was going to be). I might've coordinated that better.

I hadn't arranged anyone to stay the night with me the first night. My son and his wife stayed with me, and I was very glad they did. I needed people there that first night. The second night I was fine alone.

I have a very hard time with morphine. It makes me nauseous. I told them this, but they still gave it to me before I even woke up, and so I woke up vomiting like crazy until I was aware enough to tell them to take me off that damn stuff. Tramadol worked fine for the pain. For some reason, they always seem to assume that when I tell them that I'm sensitive to narcotics that it's in my mind, but it is not.

In the day or two after the surgery, they left an extra, unused IV line in one of my veins and were resistant to removing it. Their reason for leaving it sounded superstitious "As soon as we remove it, we'll need it..." They didn't need it and they didn't flush it well, and I ended up with some phlebitis in that arm. It did heal up in about 8 weeks. Make sure they flush those if they leave them, and if they get sore at all like mine did, I'd make them take it out. In fact, anything you feel isn't right and they push back, I'd push it. I found hospital staff to be unpleasantly uncooperative much of the time.

The days leading up, not much else.

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Speaking for me personally, I think it is difficult to fully prepare yourself for how you will feel post op, as it is not yet within the realms of your experience. Once on the other side I feel it is rather like post traumatic stress and bereavement rolled into one. Initially all our energy is naturally focused on healing the body. The mind is having to slowly process and accomodate the information and recover which can cause us to be hit with a whole gambit of stresses and emotions to work through.

After an operation we throw ourselves into exercise routines to get back into shape. It is also very important to take time to be still and steady the mind with either meditation, deep breathing or some other form of deep relaxation.

 

Djinnie

dhs1963's picture
dhs1963
Posts: 510
Joined: May 2012

I would have taken steps to aide in post surgical stuff. Mostly, I would have made it clear to potnetial visitors to check with my wife before comming over.  

I know I had visitors, but I do not remember some of them....

 

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

My wife may not stay in the room with me.  This is a VA hospital and there are four patients to a room.  That may change once we get there, but that is the "official" response.  We are far enough from home that the liklihood of visitors is slim, but my son and daughter in law are in. They brought friends along to mind the house while we are out of town.  Their idea, since most everything we do these days is available information to someone, we didn't want anyone to think our home would be easy pickings!  Laughing

I appreciate all this advice!  You have helped me prep and I appreciate it.

Today starts the digestive purge!  Woo Hoo!  What a wonderful experience that is!  LOL

Later all!

Michael

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Everyone talks about this digestive purge. I didn't have that pleasure, I was admitted the day before my op and placed on a light diet. I hope it came in a flavour of your choice.

All the best

Djinnie x

MDCinSC's picture
MDCinSC
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

Lemony!  Undecided

If it weren't for the honor, I'd just as soon pass. . . well, so to speak!

Djinnie's picture
Djinnie
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

  Lol.....I  love your humour:) I hope you get a mention in the honors list.

 

Djinnie

pinkstar's picture
pinkstar
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2013

I wouldn't have done anything different except the night before my surgery, I had drama with getting into my apt. Long story short...while making a spare key to my apt for my niece, I was given the wrong key. The store I went to hired a lock smith & replaced my door lock free of charge but this took 3 hours out of my evening. I was stressed out to say the least but it all worked out in the end. I had never experienced general anesthesia or surgery prior to this and I didn't know what to expect other than what's written in my nursing books or what I've seen my patients experience. The only pain I have experienced with this surgery, is at the incision site while in the hospital. I have had little back pain but that goes away when I re-position myself. Make sure the hospital staff helps re-position you and continue with that at home. If you need to cough, then go ahead with your hand over the incision or use a pillow as an abdominal splint. If you need to sneeze, keep your mouth open. You may also feel relief if you put cold packs over your incision site(s). That helped me too. Good luck and try not to worry. This nightmare is almost over & this chapter of your life will be done. If you have any questions, concerns or just need a positive note, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Take Care,

Donna

cran1's picture
cran1
Posts: 139
Joined: Mar 2013

You will do great MDC. It's a wizz ;)

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