New here; surgery on Tuesday

Hello.

My husband (57yo) will be undergoing a radical nephrectomy of his right kidney this Tuesday.  This is all happening quite rapidly, and I would love any advice that you all could provide to help us prepare for the surgery.  After about 3 or 4 months of constant weight loss, lack of energy, sleeping all of the time, night sweats, and a cough, he finally agreed to go to the doctor.  Prior to this, he has always been very active and fit, running, lifting weights and in great physical shape. No smoking or drinking and no illness.  So much so, that he doesn't even have a doctor.

I finally convinced him to go to the doctor about 3 weeks ago.  They did blood work, said he was extremely anemic and he was referred to an Oncologist. We weren't really sure why.  The oncologist ordered a colonoscopy, endoscopy, and CT scan.  He was told on Tuesday that he has a 7+cm mass on his right kidney, and it appears that it could be invading the perinephric fat.  On Wednesday, we met with a urologic oncologist and he explained that the best course of action would be to do a radical neprhectomy laparoscopically.  He is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, 12/6. They said the pathology report should be back within 2 days of the surgery so we will have a better idea if we are dealing with a T1b or T3 stage of RCC.  Seems like quite a huge difference in treatment protocol between the two.

This is all happening so quickly and we are quite frankly still in shock.  I have spent the last 4 nights since we found out researching everything I could find.  I would love to know what are some "must bring" items for the hospital.  He has never had any type of surgery before (his colonoscopy 2 weeks ago was the first time he's ever had anesthesia!), so I want to make sure he is as comfortable as possible.  Please share any tips or tricks to recovering and being as comfortable as possible.  

Thank you so much for any information.  I am so sorry to meet all of you under such circumstances but am grateful for any advice you can give. God bless!

 

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Comments

  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,359 Member
    edited December 2016 #2
    Welcome

    wifeintexxas,

     

    Welcome to the club which no one in their right mind would volunteer to join. Being told you have kidney cancer and the first thing they wasnt to do  is yank out your kidney is something we all went thru. Mine was 14 years ago at a then 59 years young. Unfortunately this is major surgery. The first week was hell and than I was back to a slow normal in about 6 weeks. As far as formal wear after the surgery I would go with a loose pair of sweats. He is going to need pampering that first  week he gets home. We have all been there and done that. The surgery does beat  the alternative. May he have an uneventful surgery and recovery.

     

    Icemantoo

  • wifeintexas
    wifeintexas Member Posts: 9
    edited December 2016 #3
    icemantoo said:

    Welcome

    wifeintexxas,

     

    Welcome to the club which no one in their right mind would volunteer to join. Being told you have kidney cancer and the first thing they wasnt to do  is yank out your kidney is something we all went thru. Mine was 14 years ago at a then 59 years young. Unfortunately this is major surgery. The first week was hell and than I was back to a slow normal in about 6 weeks. As far as formal wear after the surgery I would go with a loose pair of sweats. He is going to need pampering that first  week he gets home. We have all been there and done that. The surgery does beat  the alternative. May he have an uneventful surgery and recovery.

     

    Icemantoo

    Thank you

    Thank you, Icemantoo.  Comforting to see that 14 years later you are still involved in advocating and helping others who are yanked into this netherworld. I am committed to pampering him and being by his side every step of the way! And will be stocking up on loose sweat pants this weekend!

    Thank you for the welcome and advice.

  • wifeintexas
    wifeintexas Member Posts: 9
    JoanneNH said:

    My tumor was 7.5 cm, so just

    My tumor was 7.5 cm, so just a bit bigger than your husband's.  I also had a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy of my right kidney.

    I had an epidural and self-administering pump placed at the recommendation of my surgeon so I wasn't in too much pain with that in.  When they took it out and it wore off, however, let me say I was taking all the pain medication I was allowed at the earliest time I was allowed.  I didn't want the pain to get ahead of me and all the medical staff agreed.   I was off the dilaudid within a few days of being at home.

    Bring him a small pillow (like an accent pillow) to hug while in the hospital if they don't give him one.  It helps to hold it against the surgical area when you cough, sneeze, or otherwise stress the area. I actually held it against my surgical area when I walked.  Don't make him laugh. He should be up walking as soon as he can and do it as much as he can.  He will not be able to bend over for a while.

    He should wear loose pants, like athletic sweat pants in at least one size too big.  I would put a folded washcloth in the waistband as a cushion for the wound.   Make sure he has some kind of cushion for the seatbelt on the way home.

    It will be very uncomfortable lying down to sleep.  If you have a recliner, he should try to sleep in that.  In my case, I spent about a week and a half on the couch, propped up with pillows.  Again, walking is going to help considerably.  

    This was my first surgery ever and I was terrified.  The medical staff was fantastic.  I did everything they told me to, like use the spirometer often to prevent fluid buildup.  I gained 20 pounds in fluid, but it was gone within a few days.

    Oh, forgot about the constipation.  I don't think I went for a week, but when I got home, I started taking a small amount of Metamucil several times a day.  I never had cramps with it and it worked perfectly.  Others use different products, but I like Metamucil and it worked well for me.

     

    Great info!

    Thank you, JoanneNH for the great info. I have done hours of research but no "articles" can provide the real life knowledge of someone who has been there/done that.  Sweat pants (one size too big! - would not have thought of that!), small pillow, cushion for seat belt, recliner, and Metamucil will be on hand

    I appreciate your tips and advice.  I want to make an awful situation as good as possible for him!

  • sblairc
    sblairc Member Posts: 585
    Please search on this forum. There are lots of recent threads

    Lots of recent threads on your topic have been discussed in very great detail. Recliner for sleeping, earplugs for you, stool softner as suggested by the doctor, LIMIT THE DRIVING for a while, button up shirt for leaving the hospital. 

    My husband is 3 years cancer free from T3 cancer!! Yours will be fine too. 

  • foroughsh
    foroughsh Member Posts: 779
    Wellcome

    Wellcome

    Plus everything others said please remember that Breathing exercise is a must.

  • JoanneNH
    JoanneNH Member Posts: 115
    edited December 2016 #7
    My tumor was 7.5 cm, so just

    My tumor was 7.5 cm, so just a bit bigger than your husband's.  I also had a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy of my right kidney.

    I had an epidural and self-administering pump placed at the recommendation of my surgeon so I wasn't in too much pain with that in.  When they took it out and it wore off, however, let me say I was taking all the pain medication I was allowed at the earliest time I was allowed.  I didn't want the pain to get ahead of me and all the medical staff agreed.   I was off the dilaudid within a few days of being at home.

    Bring him a small pillow (like an accent pillow) to hug while in the hospital if they don't give him one.  It helps to hold it against the surgical area when you cough, sneeze, or otherwise stress the area. I actually held it against my surgical area when I walked.  Don't make him laugh. He should be up walking as soon as he can and do it as much as he can.  He will not be able to bend over for a while.

    He should wear loose pants, like athletic sweat pants in at least one size too big.  I would put a folded washcloth in the waistband as a cushion for the wound.   Make sure he has some kind of cushion for the seatbelt on the way home.

    It will be very uncomfortable lying down to sleep.  If you have a recliner, he should try to sleep in that.  In my case, I spent about a week and a half on the couch, propped up with pillows.  Again, walking is going to help considerably.  

    This was my first surgery ever and I was terrified.  The medical staff was fantastic.  I did everything they told me to, like use the spirometer often to prevent fluid buildup.  I gained 20 pounds in fluid, but it was gone within a few days.

    Oh, forgot about the constipation.  I don't think I went for a week, but when I got home, I started taking a small amount of Metamucil several times a day.  I never had cramps with it and it worked perfectly.  Others use different products, but I like Metamucil and it worked well for me.

     

  • Jan4you
    Jan4you Member Posts: 1,330 Member
    edited December 2016 #8
    First let me say what a

    First let me say what a wonderful woman you are and how lucky your husband is for having YOU at his side. We'll be here for you both if you want us to be.

    Its good he is having the robatic/laproscopic type surgery as in my opinion, it is less invasive and a bit easier recovery. I have had 2 lap surgeries of my 3 abdominal ones.

    For me, I used the lumbar velcro wrap both times and it helped hold in and support those tender abdominal areas. Got it at the local drug store. Its used for support of the lower back.

    I also used ICE for swelling over the incisions in hospital. NO ONE could get me ice, as I remember the RN telling me, "but you have your choice of pain meds." So the PT therapist took a rubber glove and filled it with ice from the water machine. ha!

    I wore that lumbar wrap at home, in bed as it helped me get UP more comfortably. I tucked dry ice packs inside it but over my underwear so its not directly on skin. HELPED a lot!

    Hope they are treating your husband for his anemia. It can be really debilitating, tiring. But very treatable. Not uncommon to have more anemia after surgery. I had to beg my surgeon to test me for it as I am prone to anemia. He didn't think I needed it but did and sure enough I had anemia. Tookd OTC Slow FE (less constipating)

    He won't be in hospital long 1-2 days usually. He'll be tired for awhile. They will get him up to walk or at least stand first day. Walking is good but NO EXERCISE at all for at least 30 days is what I was told. No exceptions. Your insides are healing and you do not want to get any hernias.

    After 1st week I started to feel okay. DIdnt need much in pain meds as I used the ice for swelling over the biggest incision (where they take the kidney out). They actually bag the kidney before removing it so cancer cells are not dragged out with kidney.

    BUT my biggest pain is the gas they pump into the abdomen so high in order for the surgeon to SEE beyond our organs. It gets trapped, especially by the shoulder. It was my worst pain but I knew it was only gas. I would walk and swing my arm to try and get it untrapped and out of my body. Took a few days to get it out. So tell him not to be alarmed by that pain.

    We're here for YOU and for him, so ask away.

    YOU are in my thoughts and prayers. Many here are stage IV and still getting treatments=surviving.

    Hugs to you and your hubby,

    Jan

  • Jan4you
    Jan4you Member Posts: 1,330 Member
    Oh and laproscopic incisions

    Oh and laproscopic incisions are about an inch in diameter, with the largest about 4 inches, I'd say. Radical means the whole kidney is removed vs. partial which is part of the kidney. OPEN means one large incision vs laproscopic, several smaller ones where the robatic arms maneuver the surgery. Most surgeons are using this method now.

    Jan

  • nancybuck
    nancybuck Member Posts: 117
    edited December 2016 #10
    Praying

    Praying for your husband and you during your unexpected journey. The wonderful follks here are always here to assist in answering your questions.  Will be thinking of you and your husband this week.

     

    Nancy from Austin, TX

  • Jojo61
    Jojo61 Member Posts: 1,309 Member
    edited December 2016 #11
    Welcome to the club nobody

    Welcome to the club nobody wants to join....it is one heck of an initiation! I had my 13 cm tumor removed this month, 3 years ago. It was stage 3 and I have been free and clear since! Yes it is a tough surgery, but your husband is in otherwise good physical health. Since he really hasn't had surgery before, just be prepared that he might vomit after the surgery. I did, even though I warned them that I tend to do that. Not fun, but it didn't harm any of the surgeon's handy work!

    Your hubby will probably be surprised at how good he feels a few days after. Each day gets better and better. You already received great advice, but I suggest that you have him walking every hour. It really does speed the feeling of wellbeing along. Have some of his favourite movies on hand, some good reading material, some healthy but light meals/snacks, and a comfy recliner to rest in. I slept in my bed upstairs the first night home....it wasn't bad, but I am guessing a recliner would be a better option.

    Good luck to you! I will be sending good thoughts your way on Tuesday!

    Hugs

    Jojo

     

  • wifeintexas
    wifeintexas Member Posts: 9
    edited December 2016 #12
    sblairc said:

    Please search on this forum. There are lots of recent threads

    Lots of recent threads on your topic have been discussed in very great detail. Recliner for sleeping, earplugs for you, stool softner as suggested by the doctor, LIMIT THE DRIVING for a while, button up shirt for leaving the hospital. 

    My husband is 3 years cancer free from T3 cancer!! Yours will be fine too. 

    Really good info.  Thank you so much for the great tips! 

  • wifeintexas
    wifeintexas Member Posts: 9
    Jan4you said:

    First let me say what a

    First let me say what a wonderful woman you are and how lucky your husband is for having YOU at his side. We'll be here for you both if you want us to be.

    Its good he is having the robatic/laproscopic type surgery as in my opinion, it is less invasive and a bit easier recovery. I have had 2 lap surgeries of my 3 abdominal ones.

    For me, I used the lumbar velcro wrap both times and it helped hold in and support those tender abdominal areas. Got it at the local drug store. Its used for support of the lower back.

    I also used ICE for swelling over the incisions in hospital. NO ONE could get me ice, as I remember the RN telling me, "but you have your choice of pain meds." So the PT therapist took a rubber glove and filled it with ice from the water machine. ha!

    I wore that lumbar wrap at home, in bed as it helped me get UP more comfortably. I tucked dry ice packs inside it but over my underwear so its not directly on skin. HELPED a lot!

    Hope they are treating your husband for his anemia. It can be really debilitating, tiring. But very treatable. Not uncommon to have more anemia after surgery. I had to beg my surgeon to test me for it as I am prone to anemia. He didn't think I needed it but did and sure enough I had anemia. Tookd OTC Slow FE (less constipating)

    He won't be in hospital long 1-2 days usually. He'll be tired for awhile. They will get him up to walk or at least stand first day. Walking is good but NO EXERCISE at all for at least 30 days is what I was told. No exceptions. Your insides are healing and you do not want to get any hernias.

    After 1st week I started to feel okay. DIdnt need much in pain meds as I used the ice for swelling over the biggest incision (where they take the kidney out). They actually bag the kidney before removing it so cancer cells are not dragged out with kidney.

    BUT my biggest pain is the gas they pump into the abdomen so high in order for the surgeon to SEE beyond our organs. It gets trapped, especially by the shoulder. It was my worst pain but I knew it was only gas. I would walk and swing my arm to try and get it untrapped and out of my body. Took a few days to get it out. So tell him not to be alarmed by that pain.

    We're here for YOU and for him, so ask away.

    YOU are in my thoughts and prayers. Many here are stage IV and still getting treatments=surviving.

    Hugs to you and your hubby,

    Jan

    Thank you, Jan.  I really

    Thank you, Jan.  I really appreciate your encouraging words and learning about your experience!  I appreciate all of your thoughts, prayers, advice and hugs.  You guys are all so welcoming here and what amazing positive attitudes you have!  It is so uplifting!

  • wifeintexas
    wifeintexas Member Posts: 9
    nancybuck said:

    Praying

    Praying for your husband and you during your unexpected journey. The wonderful follks here are always here to assist in answering your questions.  Will be thinking of you and your husband this week.

     

    Nancy from Austin, TX

    Thank you, Nancy!  Wonderful

    Thank you, Nancy!  Wonderful folks indeed.  

  • wifeintexas
    wifeintexas Member Posts: 9
    edited December 2016 #15
    Jojo61 said:

    Welcome to the club nobody

    Welcome to the club nobody wants to join....it is one heck of an initiation! I had my 13 cm tumor removed this month, 3 years ago. It was stage 3 and I have been free and clear since! Yes it is a tough surgery, but your husband is in otherwise good physical health. Since he really hasn't had surgery before, just be prepared that he might vomit after the surgery. I did, even though I warned them that I tend to do that. Not fun, but it didn't harm any of the surgeon's handy work!

    Your hubby will probably be surprised at how good he feels a few days after. Each day gets better and better. You already received great advice, but I suggest that you have him walking every hour. It really does speed the feeling of wellbeing along. Have some of his favourite movies on hand, some good reading material, some healthy but light meals/snacks, and a comfy recliner to rest in. I slept in my bed upstairs the first night home....it wasn't bad, but I am guessing a recliner would be a better option.

    Good luck to you! I will be sending good thoughts your way on Tuesday!

    Hugs

    Jojo

     

    Thanks JoJo

    He has such a positive attitude so I think that will really help!  We have a brand new bed that has a base that raises the head and/or feet, so I'm hoping that will help keep him comfortable!

  • Deanie0916
    Deanie0916 Member Posts: 494 Member
    edited December 2016 #16
    I am praying for your husband and you

    It is s scary when things have to move so fast...all of the advice given here is really great, walking as soon as you can is really helpful. The metamucil has helped me a lot, too. God bless you with quick and full recovery!

     

  • hardo718
    hardo718 Member Posts: 853
    Welcome!

    Sorry we have to meet like this.  I think the above members have pretty much covered everything I would have but I'll stress again, make sure he does his breathing exercises with the device they'll give him at the hospital.  That's going to help prevent pneumonia, last thing he needs.  The combination of anesthesia, pain meds post-surgery and the pain causes us to breathe a bit more shallow, which can lead to pneumonia.  His target goal should be at least 1000cc and once he's able to achieve that consistently, increase the goal by 500cc increments.

    Best wishes, keep us posted and I'll be praying for you both,

    Donna~

  • sblairc
    sblairc Member Posts: 585
    edited December 2016 #18
    hardo718 said:

    Welcome!

    Sorry we have to meet like this.  I think the above members have pretty much covered everything I would have but I'll stress again, make sure he does his breathing exercises with the device they'll give him at the hospital.  That's going to help prevent pneumonia, last thing he needs.  The combination of anesthesia, pain meds post-surgery and the pain causes us to breathe a bit more shallow, which can lead to pneumonia.  His target goal should be at least 1000cc and once he's able to achieve that consistently, increase the goal by 500cc increments.

    Best wishes, keep us posted and I'll be praying for you both,

    Donna~

    YES. THIS. Always important.

    I can't stress the importantce of the breathing exercises. Especially this time of the year. 

  • JerzyGrrl
    JerzyGrrl Member Posts: 760
    edited December 2016 #19
    Thinking of you both today

    Thinking of you both today. Sorry you had to join the club, but glad you found us. 

    My surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday. You both can be giving me pointers. 

    Hugs,

    Jerzy

  • todd121
    todd121 Member Posts: 1,448
    Right Nephrectomy

    Hi. I hope the surgery goes well/has gone well. I had a similar size tumor and also had a radical nephrectomy on the right via robotic assisted laparascopy. My largest incision was 6" (they wanted to take it out whole and intact because my tumor was in the center of the kidney), and then had I 4-6 smaller, 1" incisions from just below my ribs all the way down to my hip. Mine ended up being Stage 3b because mine had grown into some of the small veins in the kidney. I was also Fuhrman Grade 3, which was aggressive (but not 5 which is the most aggressive).

    There probably won't be much treatment difference between T1-T3. Once it's removed, there's no standard treatment. However, followups will be closer for T3 because the risk of recurrence is higher. After you get the pathology, post the results please. There's different types of RCC and all the pathology results will guide you in how closely to do followups (frequency and how).

    If it were me, I'd do the same followups for T1 to T3 for the first 2-3 years anyway. T3 I'd follow closely for 5 years. (These are my opinions. There is a national guideline for followup. If you look to them, keep in mind those are the minimums. I wouldn't be comfortable with the minimums.)

    Please let us know how it's going. Tell him to do his walking, drink lots of water, do the breathing exercises to avoid pneumonia. Follow the doctor's advice on lifting and driving. He's going to be tired for quite a few weeks. I was glad I took 6 weeks off work. After I went back, I got really tired every day by 4-5pm and I was like that for a few months. In fact, I don't think my body returned to normal for a year. Keep in mind the outsides heal up faster than the insides and his body will need adjusting to one kidney.

    I recommend a followup soon with an RCC oncologist. You can get plugged in to any studies that are going on and, if it were me, I'd prefer the RCC oncologist (who is an internist and ill manage his care after, heaven forbid, if it ever comes back). RCC medical oncologists know best how to follow up for mets because that's what they treat. The surgeon is probably going to want to follow him. It might be fine, but I think I got better care by having an medical oncologist with RCC experience follow me.

    Depending on his kidney function after the surgery, you migh want to follow up with a nephrologist. I ended up with some reduced kidney function so I see one every 3 months and she follows me closely. She advises me on drugs that are bad for the kidney when other doctors suggest them, and also on drugs that are good for protecting kidney function and protecting against blood pressure problems, etc. She monitors my kidney function closely.

    Hope this all helps.

    Best wishes,

    Todd

  • mrou50
    mrou50 Member Posts: 389
    edited December 2016 #21
    Hope all goes well

    I hope everything went well with the surgery and that your husband is doing well.

    Mark