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1 month post-op, & I just don't feel well.... Insight, anyone?

HarleyMom117's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2013

Hey, everyone --

This is Terri.   I'm 46, and am one month (tomorrow) post-op after my open radical nephrectomy to remove my left kidney.   I am taking Advil for some minor discomfort (mainly where my 10" abdominal incision crosses my c-section scar).   For the past week or so, I have just not felt 'well'.   I feel very tired & lethargic -- absolutely no energy to speak of.   I also have no appetite -- I feel hungry, but nothing appeals to me, and I can't eat more than a few spoonfuls of anything at a time.   (I've actually felt like this since surgery, but it seems more pronounced this last week.)  It also coincides with the end of my percoset prescription -- not sure if that could be a factor, so I'm mentioning it.

I have a surgery follow-up appt. next week, and am planning on mentioning it then.   But you guys are the ones who have been through this, so I'm hoping someone might have some insight. 


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3284
Joined: Jan 2010



Generally every day gets a little better, but it is not a straight line. Check out the medical, mental and drug issues out with your physician.

Some of us take longer than others. Some of us have setbacks. Occasionally there may be something causing an infection. Whatever it is make sure you are progressing physically and do not overdue it. Most of these issues do get resoved, but never fast enough.





foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

It sounds normal to me. Sometimes when you are able to put up a tough front and deal with this trauma like a trooper, there becomes a let down. Almost like what you've gone through has finally hit home. Now that you are healing and you expect the worst to be behind you, you relax a little and notice how hard this has been. Take the break and re-energize. You'll do well.

HarleyMom117's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2013

Thank you both SO much!   That really helps.   I don't think I have any sort of infection (no fever or soreness at my incision site).   I definitely am struggling a little bit mentally -- when I was first diagnosed, I was embarrassed by the attention I got from my family & friends, and even mere acquaintances in my little town.   After all, this wasn't REALLY cancer (in my mind) -- because I was going to have surgery to remove it, and then it will be gone forever.    The thing I was most upset about was not being able to donate blood anymore (I am only 2 donations away from completing my 12th gallon).   But the more I learn, the more I am coming to terms of being a cancer patient -- and a survivor!   It's also good to know that there are ups and downs in this recovery.   I guess I just expected every day to be better than the one before....

I will definitely talk to my doctor on Wednesday.   THANK YOU again!!!!

twinthings's picture
Posts: 409
Joined: Jun 2013

Hi Terri, I hope you are feeling better today than yesterday.  You still have a bit of a road ahead of you in terms of healing, both physically and emotionally.  Try not to rush it.  I shared your same thoughts in regards to this not really being cancer, given that it can so easily be removed and no chemo (I know this isn't true for everyone, but, just speaking from my personal experience).  I now know that was just ignorance on my part (I'm not calling you ignorant Smile).  It didn't take me long to learn that cancer is still very much apart of my life, even after having it removed. 

I am struggling to find an oncologist in my city, that specializes in RCC.  One of our comrades on this site recommended a doctor in my city but, after leaving two messages and not getting a return call, it's not looking too good.  When I called and spoke to the receptionist, I asked if their doctors specialze in RCC and she said, "yes, all of our doctors are medical oncologists".  I'm not sure she understood my question.  So frustrating!!

And, at the risk of sounding stupid, RCC survivors can't donate blood?  I wonder why.

Keep your chin up, Terri.  It does get better!!



cralleycat's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013

I think the anesthesia has a lot to do with not feeling so great after surgery. I totally lost my apetite and even my taste for a while. I'm just now getting back to eating vegetables again. (my surgery was in July)

justsayin's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2013

Hi Terri,

I agree with everyone here, it sounds pretty normal.  I had my right kidney removed in 2010 and it took about 3 months before I felt back to "normal" physically.   Mentally, I'm still struggling a bit.  Wondering about every ache and pain.  I'm hopeful that one day, I will stop worrying so much about everything.

Be sure to keep your follow up appointment.  Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions.


Feel Better!



HarleyMom117's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2013

I'm happy to say, since posting my original message on Nov. 1, I am feeling MUCH better!   The lethargy has subsided (for the most part -- I still have my moments, especially if I've perhaps done "too much").   My appetite is also better, though I still am not all that interested in food.   (Not complaining about that, really -- I'd like to keep off the weight I've lost throughout this whole experience!)  

My post-surgery appointment went well -- I like the PA I saw better than my urologist.  ;)   My next one is in January, which is when I'll meet my oncologist.   THANK YOU for your reply!   I'm so happy I found this site!



Posts: 123
Joined: Jul 2013

Teri: so glad you are feeling better; my husband had his nephrectomy on 9/20 and he is slowly regaining his energy but it has taken a while.

if you are still taking Advil, suggest you check with your doc since we were told no Advil because it affects the kidney and were told to take Tylenol instead


Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Terri,


Glad you are feeling better, I had a partial nephoectomy done open method on my right kidney and felt much as you did. Its been five months and still have my moments when I feel lethargic. I found that it directly related to amount of excertion i use in my daily functions. Take the time for yourself to heal, myself I rushed going back to work in three weeks and tried to carry on with my life; that was a mistake.

Unfortunatly I get to do it all over again on my left side next year, mu oncologist said i wasn't healed enough to have it done now. At least i know what I'm facing and I will definately take it easy next time around.


Take the time to heal..


Best wishes,



Mike Austin
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2013

I had my right kidney removed and tumors in my bladder last March. I started to walk (kinda like Forest Gump) as much as I could thinking I could walk off the pain. I am much better now going to the gym almoe=st every day and looking the best in my life. 178lbs at 6-foot tall and a BMI of 23. This has helped me feel better about myself and my future... look good and you feel better... For me anyhow. Bless you, I hope you feel better soon

Djinnie's picture
Posts: 945
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Mike, 

You had your surgery the same month as me, I had a partial nephrectomy. This was the second time around for me I had kidney cancer in 2003, the same area.

I read you other post also, I understand how you feel about losing your mojo. I know that you feel like you are just treading water sometimes. Your body is having to make a huge adjustment, after all someone has tampered with the blue print. You not only have the physical aspect to deal with but there is also a mental adjustment. You are not losing your mind I assure you, you are going through a natural process.

I assume your recent scans were good! You sound like you are on the right track in regaining your physical fitness. There is no reason why you can't look forward to a long future spanning ahead of you, if your fears about your wife are correct,I can only say she may have a bit of a wait.

Give your self time, I am sure everything will fall into place. There will always be someone to talk to on here if you need to.

Djinnie x

donna_lee's picture
Posts: 968
Joined: Feb 2009

A month out and you still feel like crud.  Know the feeling.  You had a long incision, as I did, too.  They were obviously moving and checking other organs, nodes, etc. for evidence of enlargement or tumor.

Your body has gotten used to not eating, so the stomach is not sure what to do.  Even chicken broth was hard to swallow.

You may be experiencing a mild bit of pancreatitis.  When I was sitting on the john, trying to barf into the bathtub, I knew it was time for a trip to ER in the middle of the nigjt.  By then, I was off pain meds, put was given an Rx for an anti-nausea.  In any event, I suggest you call your PC and explain the situation. You need to be able to eat and retain it to recover from the surgery.

Good Luck.


grnsammy09's picture
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2013

I am 2 months post op from an open radical nephrectomy which left me with a 14 inch scar. During my surgery I lost A LOT of blood, which left me feeling extremely tired, lethargic and generally not feeling well. My blood count was at a 9 (almost needed a blood transfusion) and 2 months later is at an 11. I still feel that way but I can tell im getting better. It takes your body awhile to regenerate new red blood cells...Not sure if thats maybe a part of why you feel so tired, but its something you could always ask about, just an idea! good luck!

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3284
Joined: Jan 2010



No matter how we sugar coat it and no matter what your prognosis a nephrectomy is major abdominal surgery. From what i have seen on this board over the last almost 4 years those having it laproscopically may have it a little easier and those who are younger may have it a little easier. The fact is that most of us were 50 to 70 years old when we had the Surgery and for whatever reason men outnumber women 60 to 40%. My surgery was just after I turned 59. As time passes even those with Stage 1 have to watch their Kidney Function which if it is not good can lead to heart issues.



Each of us has a right to moan and groun about our pains and discomforts those first few months.




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