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Upcoming Partial Nephrectomy

elicoop's picture
elicoop
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2015

Hi!  I'm a new member to the group.  Very glad to have found it!  Lots of good information and support!

A little history:  diagnosed with a 2.5cm solid rt. renal mass (arising anteriorly - midpole) compatible with RCC (via ultrasound, then MRI with gadolinium showing heterogeneous enhancement). Tests also showed that the mass was causing bulging of the cortical margin.  Also have a 5cm Bosniak type II rt. lower pole cyst with thin internal septation.  I guess also the kidney is slightly small - about 9cm long.

Already have a surgeon who specializes in the robotic laparascopic surgery with it scheduled for next week.  Says it probably just Stage I and once it comes out - that will be it.  (which I also assumed from everything I've read here already)  So I do feel fortunate.  Just anxious to get it all over with along with the cyst being take care of.  

I've had right flank pain which has increased over the last month.  Dr. says it's probably from the cyst.  I wondered if anyone has had experience with this combination in one kidney before...  Also, from what I've read, a Bosniak II is usually not cancerous - wondered if the odds of this increase when you have the solid tumor???

Finally, it sounds from all of you that the recovery should be fairly easy.  Would be interested to hear any experiences or advice that you could share.  Will I be able to walk upstairs the day after surgery?  (no bedroom downstairs)  It sounds like walking a lot may be important so I'm a little concerned about that as I have a fracture in my rt. foot and am in a boot for 5 more weeks.  (I can walk in it - but am not going far at all)  

Thank you for your help!

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 3217
Joined: Jan 2010

elicoop,

 

Welcome to the club which no one in their right mind would volunteer to join. My neph was 13 years ago and done laproscopic. No robots then. Devinci himself did the surgery. While the cyst and mass in one kidney appears a little unusual, it is a good thing they are both on the same kidney as you can get rid of two birds with one stone. The neph. is major abdominal surgery and for the first week or 10 days the only walking you are going to do is to go to the john. Find a soft couch or recliner downstairs for that first week or 10 days. That fracture in the right foot should get some much needed rest. Unless you are 25 or 30 years old (which most of us are not) I would not classify the recovery as fairly easy.

 

 

Icemantoo

Shecka1121
Posts: 114
Joined: Apr 2015

Hi there,  I am glad you found this site too as it was a huge support for me too.  Icemantoo was first to respond to me as well and provided me great comfort :)  I had my partial 8 weeks ago and I have 50 stairs, yes 50! to our house.  We live in a high rise in a city.  I managed the steps no problem.  I was walking three hours after surgery and I felt better when I was walking and it helped get things going.  Like icemantoo stated, I slept in a recliner for four nights which was helpful because my stomach muscles were sore.  I healed physically very well adn quickly.  I have been using Bio Oil on my scars and they are very light. 

 

Mentally has been the harder part and this group is such a big help. I had a very small mass too, 1.2 cm and my dr told me that there is only a 3% chance of recurrence, but still wants to monitor me for the rest of my life with scans.  

 

I know you will be just fine all the way around.

elicoop's picture
elicoop
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2015

Thanks so much for your input.  Unfortunately, we don't have a recliner, so it may be the sofa with a wedge pillow or ???

I appreciate everyone's responses!!

oza700
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2015

Hello, I just joined this group today. I am scheduled for an open partial nephrectomy on the 31st of this month (August). I was diagnosed in mid May & have been waiting all that time to get the surgery scheduled, because things seem to happen very slowly around here, and the choice of urologists is practically non-existant.

One of my main concerns is whether or not the cancer is likely to have started to metastasize during the time when I was waiting. A recent scan showed that the cancer is growing fast. By the time the surgery occurs, I will have been waiting 3.5 months for the surgery.

 

 

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Positive_Mental...
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

Don't worry--your wait is not too long.  I was diagnosed in early May 2014.  I originally opted for my surgery to happen in September, and my urologist-oncologist thought that was OK.  I then changed my mind and had it done on July 10--it was about a 2.5 month wait.  Not that different from your experience.  I had an open partial as well. 

oza700
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2015

Thanks for your reply. It is good to hear that! I am trying to keep a positive attitude, which is made just a little trickier since I have had cancer twice before (breast cancer both times) -- so getting it again seems like a "trend" is developing, but I am doing my best & hoping for the best.

I also hope for your continued good health.

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Positive_Mental...
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

sorry you have to post here, especially after having breast cancer twice.  A friend in my office had a 20 year recurrence of breast cancer.  We joke to each other that some people like us are just lucky. 

oza700
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2015

20 years! That must have been a huge shock! I went 10 years between my 2 episodes of breast cancer, and it was quite a surprise to me when I got it again -- and now 4 years after that I find out about the kidney cancer. I know I'm going to be okay after this but, in spite of myself & my attempts to stay positive, there is that little thought stuck there in the back of my mind...... but I'm trying hard to overcome it.

 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1947
Joined: Mar 2014

 

“ Would be interested to hear any experiences or advice that you could share.  Will I be able to walk upstairs the day after surgery?  (no bedroom downstairs)  It sounds like walking a lot may be important so I'm a little concerned about that as I have a fracture in my rt. foot and am in a boot for 5 more weeks.  (I can walk in it - but am not going far at all)”

 

Elicoop, I also had a partial nephrectomy. Mine was open, not lap. Surgery was Monday, I was up walking that night and home on Wednesday. We also have an upstairs bedroom and had no problem going upstairs. Some people report sleeping in a recliner, and I bought one just in case, but didn’t need it. You asked for advice so here are some things I read about on this forum and found very helpful.

 

Get a wedge pillow and a long body pillow. Pile other pillows on top of wedge, and put body pillow on the surgery side to support you. I did this and was able to sleep comfortably in my own bed. Not on my side for several weeks but beats the recliner. Kind of make a nest for yourself.

 

Second, bring a small pillow and a large garbage bag for the way home. The garbage bag you put on car seat and it makes it easy to slide in an out without twisting your body. The pillow is for under the seat belt so it doesn’t rub or push against your incision.

 

Third, drink tons of water, use the breathing apparatus they’ll send you home with to keep lungs clear and strong, and I walked around my house (it was winter) for 5 minutes every hour.

 

You’ll be most likely constipated so take Ducolax or Sena or other mild meds for it. Water helps too, so that’s why do drink a lot.

 

Eat small meals like toast, soft boiled eggs soup, if you have no appetite for bigger meal like I did.

 

Hug a pillow if you need to sneeze or cough. I also used it while walking.

 

Everyone is different in recovery but above helped me. And five minute walks around your house should not be too bad for your foot. Best of luck to you and wishing you a speedy recovery!

 

elicoop's picture
elicoop
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2015

APny,

   Thank you for all of the great tips!  I'll definitely try them! 

elicoop's picture
elicoop
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2015

Thanks for your response and suggestions.  I think I will get some things ready to stay downstairs in case I do have to for awhile.

I have seen some conflicting statements about that here..... 

I'll be glad to get this all over with!

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1947
Joined: Mar 2014

I think the difference in whether you can sleep in your bed or not has to do with the size of your incision and how they closed it. Mine was fortunately small, under 5 inches, and I didn't have external stitches, only surgi strip. For an open partial that's a remarkably small incision. So that may have allowed me to climb stairs and sleep in my bed. Some people have had much larger incisions and even staples to close it. I can't imagine that being too comfortable and must be more painful than mine was. If you have a lap and/or robotic surgery your incisions will be very small. Depending on where your tumor is has a lot to do with the size of incision, I believe. Perhaps you can ask your surgeon how large he thinks it will be. Mine told me prior to my surgery so I knew it would be small.

jason.2835
Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014

How does icemantoo end up being the first comment every time!  I gotta start trying to beat you, man.  

Anyway, I'm not sure I would call recovery "easy;" I have the "luck" of having a robotic neph for the kidney cancer and then 6 months later my gallbladder surgery was forced to be switched to open.  The fatigue I had after the neph was bad for a couple weeks.  It took me a while to get my strength and stamina back up to par.  Of course the open had MUCH more pain. Generally, the robotic or laparoscopic varieties are better on the body.  

Walking is a DEFINITE.  Ambulation is something they want you to ASAP.  Going up and down stairs (carefully) is ok.  The pain will not be terrible (unless they need to switch to open).  But even then they want you to move every 1-2 hours.  I also recommend a wedge pillow for bed; you can find them on Amazon... it was worth it's weight in gold in getting out of bed, let me tell you.  

My neph was changed to a radical when some interesting arterial issues came up (I had an extra one) and the surgeon feared bleeding was possible.  My tumor was 2.8cm, partially cystic.

- Jay  
 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1947
Joined: Mar 2014

“ The pain will not be terrible (unless they need to switch to open).”

As I said, mine was open surgery and no, the pain wasn’t terrible. It really wasn’t. I wouldn’t say it was a walk in the park but certainly not something I would consider terrible pain. Two days after my surgery I was home, sitting at my desk doing work on the computer. I think it’s all individual and perhaps gall bladder surgery is different and requires a larger incision so it's more painful. 

jason.2835
Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014

APny,

This is a great point; If you were to ask 1000 people how their recoveries from surgery went, you'd probably get 999 different answers... it really depends on the person and, I think, the surgeon.  Some surgeons are EXTREMELY proficient in open surgeries and know how to do them with the least amount of pain... I think a lot of it depends on where they cut the muscle.  The more the muscle is being pulled on during recovery, the more it'll hurt?  Could be wrong.  But I do remember my gallbladder doc telling me that they were forced to make the incision in one of the "most painful" areas of the abdomen (just below the ribcage), and he was shocked when I showed up to my two week follow-up telling him I was off hard painkillers.  So it's in the eye of the beholder.  I guess I'm just partial to the technology and the robots.  They will rule the world someday LOL

- Jay

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1947
Joined: Mar 2014

Jason, I think yes, it depends on where they cut. Abdominal surgery is the most painful and I think gall bladder will be very different area than kidney. My husband had bowel resectioning for diverticulitis and his was terribly painful. Mine was nothing compared to his and I always tell him that. So yes, I think on one hand pain is subjective, but on the other also depends on what kind of surgery, who does it (as you said), where it is, and how long your incision is.

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

My pain was so bad prior to surgery I had to be admitted for IV dilaudid. After surgery, the pain was different. The incisional pain was unlike the kidney tumor pain. Moving and walking was at first difficult but I managed. The most memorable part was that prior to surgery I told the doctor that I didn't care how much he chopped me up because I knew I would heal and that I generally have a good pain tolerance despite needing earlier admission and IV dilaudid. He says,"Uh huh." (they've heard that a thousand times.)

So morning after surgery the doctor walks in. I'm sitting up reading the newspaper(that I got from some guy when I walked down the hall earlier) Sits in the chair. Looks me in the eye and says, "For the rest of my life, I will never forget how good you look after this surgery. I have NEVER seen anyone do what you are doing."

I get discharged a couple days later and am told to go to my PC doc for a quick follow up. I drove. Freaked them out. As I am leaving, to my surprise  one of my buddies comes into the office non wt. bearing on his right leg, walking with crutches. He said his knee hurt and wanted the doc to look at it. He knew I just had surgery a few days earlier so I lifted my shirt, showed him a ten inch incision with the staples intact. He was embarassed as hell. Turns out all he did was bump into a door or some such nonsense. That is a hypochondriac.

 

 

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