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Is this normal?

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

Hi guys, sorry but this is another complainy post. But I need to know if what I am going through is normal, or if I should go see my doctor. I am now 25 days post surgery. I returned to work after 11 days, and that has been fine, as I work from home and I would be sitting in front of the TV anyway, so sitting in front of a computer is not much different. I have been taking it super easy, no heavy lifting and haven't had the motivation to do much anyway.  

This weekend we did travel an hour each way to see my husband's family. He drove, I just sat in the car. This was Monday. While at his parents house, I sat on the couch. Did nothing to exert myself. Yesterday, I was doubled over in pain, all day long. It started in my back, like spasms and then as the day went on I wasn't sure if it actually was my back or something inside, almost like a burning sensation. The weird part was, it was on the opposite side from where my kidney was removed. The more it hurt, the more I freaked out, and then it hurt even more. Finally last night I took another vicodin and an Ativan to calm me down.

This morning, not in pain. I am just not sure why after having stopped the pain pills a week after surgery I would now be having so much pain again?? It isn't like I lifted something heavy or over-did it or anything. And now that I have been through this, every time I do have a pain I am thinking worst case scenarios and it makes me totally lose it. I had myself convinced last night that the pain I was feeling was my remaining kidney and something was really wrong with it. 

I am tired of feeling like this. I think my husband is losing patience with me. That frustrates me, but I can't even say I would blame him. I am not even sure what to do. Should I call my surgeon? Should I go see a shrink? Is it normal to have strange pain this long after surgery? After you have felt "fine" for weeks? I was very depressed after surgery, but was coming through it and feeling a lot better. Now I am totally depressed again. I feel like every time I take a step forward, I get pushed back two. 

 

 

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 3227
Joined: Jan 2010

mlph,

 

It is normal to have a bad day a little less than a month after your surgery. Especially where you did something a little extra.  That being said pass it by your surgeon or pay a visit to rule out any other issue.

 

Icemantoo

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

Contact your doctor or surgeon. You wont be wasting their time and they will take you seriously. Are you going to fret or let the professionals do it? What have you got to lose? And dont forget you are, like Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, taking the first steps on a long journey

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

left a message for my surgeon to call me. I am not even sure how to explain what I am feeling to him, and I am having a lot of misplaced anger towards him anyway. Last night I was crying and telling my husband I should have found someone else. I am not even sure why exactly, I had thought he was great. I know a lot of this is in my head and I am acting a little crazy. I just want my life and my emotions to go back to normal, whatever that was.

WhatIsLife's picture
WhatIsLife
Posts: 38
Joined: Dec 2016

I remember having pain in the opposite side of my kidney surgery 25 days after surgery, none as bad as you describe, but enought that it worried me. Pain is relative. What might be excruiating pain to you might not be so bad to someone else, and vice-versa. If the pain keeps up, I'd contact your surgeon for sure. And it doesn't mean you are crazy, but it might not hurt to get professional counseling, either. I'm receiving counseling and am very glad I am. I mean, in a sense, we all are in counseling - that's what this board is for!

Kevin

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

Believe me, the thought occured to me that I may just need some counseling. I guess I need to look into that one of these days. The motivation just isn't there. It is all I can do to work all day and then I am done. I am having some pretty awful dreams since surgery. Lots of feelings about those too. And like I said, misplaced anger towards my surgeon. I really thought I was over all that, then it came back in full force. 

And I am getting the feeling that my husband and kids are "over it" and getting frustrated with me, and I don't blame them one bit. I feel like a crazy person. And then I let it go and go until I finally take an Ativan, which just makes me go to sleep. This is no way to live. 

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

"And I am getting the feeling that my husband and kids are "over it" and getting frustrated with me, and I don't blame them one bit." I bet they are far more worried than you are. Maybe you should ask them?

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

I'm 4 years out from my nephrecomy and two years out from adrenalectomy.

This is very, very, very stressful. Did I say this is stressful? Having cancer has been the most stressful experience of my life.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Your anxiety is through the roof. This is life or death. I get it.

Other people won't really understand and they will move on faster than you do. This is absolutely true. That's why you can come here and talk to us, because we've all been there.

I got counseling. I used the ativan when I needed it (and also tried not to resort to it too often). If you can find someone you can talk to besides a therapist, that would be very helpful. For me, I'm incredibly fortunate my ex-wife is a kind, calm, patient and understanding person who still would take my calls. I called her pretty often.

You're not crazy, but you're definitely under a lot of stress. You're also very tired. You may have some depression. Your body has had a really bad trauma. It took me months for the body to heal. Your outsides heal faster than your insides.

I suffered anxiety and depression off and on for a couple of years. Then I had a met to my adrenal gland. It was not as bad as the first tumor, but it did kick it back up again.

So, go easy on yourself. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor(s) or their nurses and tell them about it. That's what you have to do to take care of yourself.

Find ways to relax. Listen to music. Take a hot bath or shower. Meditate. If you have a hobby do that. Read. Watch comedies on TV (or dramas or whatever you can get lost in). If you believe in prayer, pray. I don't particularly, but I prayed a lot and it helped me. I can honestly say it helped even though I don't really believe myself in a personal God that hears and answers my prayers. I did it anyway, and it helped. Journal. If you have to take an ativan, do it. Try not to take them all the time if at all possible. They are addictive and you can build up a tolerance and you can have withdrawal. Some people said anti-depressants help them. I didn't try that. Exercise/walking can really help with stress if you can do it.

You will get through this.

Hugs,

Todd

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

I actually have not taken an Ativan since I stopped taking the pain pills. I think the residual pain I was still having was contributing to my anxiety big time. I was able to stop the pain pills once I went for a massage and my back was not in spasms anymore. Then last week I went to my chiropractor for an adjustment and it is even better. I go back to him this week. For the first time since surgery I was even able to house clean this weekend! Hubby and kids have been trying, but it felt good to get in there and do things my way. 

I did try and call a counselor I used to know, but his number now rings through to a pizza place, LOL. I am starting to finally get to a "good" place though I think. I am not going to stress about what MAY happen in the future. For now, my surgeon tells me I am cancer free, so I am going with that. I don't get my first post surgery CT scan until June, and I may be a wreck in June waiting for that, but for now I am ok. That is all I can do, and honestly this has become less all consuming. 

I think I just needed some time to heal physically, and the mental seems to be following. The stronger I feel and more I am able to do again, the better I feel about everything. I just do not like feeling helpless like I did. I'm ready to conquer the world now! 

hardo718's picture
hardo718
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

....order the pizza!  Tongue Out  LOL

Donna~

donna_lee's picture
donna_lee
Posts: 901
Joined: Feb 2009

It could have been the one hour car ride and the sitting.  After a hysterectomy and all that stuff in 1987, I was having some problems.  The Dr. said do not let yourself have to wait at the slightest urge to go #1 or #2.  The longer you delay, the more your body tries to cramp to get rid of it all.

And don't forget that the anesthesia put your entire digestive system to sleep for about 48 hours, and it still may not be back to "normal."

Deferred pain is a bug-a-boo.  And ask the surgeon if he lifted and moved other organs to observe the cavities and spaces surrounding the kidney that was removed.

Sorry you were in such pain.  Each of my surgeries was so different. My second one, I was out of the hospital in 3 1/2 days, could walk up 2 flights of stairs, and drove part of the way home (5 1/2 hour drive).  The 3rd was really hard on me; couldn't sit, sleep, ride in a car, stand very long, etc. for about 3 weeks.

Hope you get some answers soon, and feel better even sooner.

donna_lee

mrou50
Posts: 389
Joined: Mar 2013

I had the same issues a couple of weeks after surgery, and like you I got very worried as well.  FS is right check with your surgeon and your medical team let them help you with this.  They understand what you are going through so they won't feel that you are waisting them time.  I did have some pain all over my back several days after my surgery, I was told  it was the nerves starting to reattach, nerves that were severed during the surgery.  The pain would move around my back area and subsided a couple of weeks later.  I am not saying that is what your issues are but I am sure your medical team would know what it is and what to do.

Mark

hardo718's picture
hardo718
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

your thoughts are completely normal.  Truthfully, you've been overdoing it a bit (my opinion).  I was told after my hysterectomy that sitting is considered "an activity" after adbominal surgery.  Sitting in the car and being jossled (sp?) about may very well be enough to trigger pains.  I'll still agree with the others, check with your doc and a little counseling may not hurt either.  I waited too long for that, admittedly......3+ years, saw a counselor who was also a cancer survivor and I can't even tell you how much it helped.  I only saw her twice but just hearing from someone else that had been through the emotions of it all, made me realize that I'm ok, it's just the process of it all that we all have to come to terms with.  And to this day, the goofy aches & pains will sometimes still bring on the anxiety but just not to the extent that it did early on.

Hope this helps....at least a little.

Donna~

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

And , what other Donna said. You want to believe you are super woman. But you know you aren't because you ask about normal phases of healing as if you shouldn't have to deal with it. Regardless of how your external scars look, you are not healed. People have told you this yet you persist to ignore the advice. I suspect it is a part of your coping mechanism. Still a large amount of denial. You will not be better off in 6 months for not reading your body cues. And in 6 months when you look back, it really won't matter much if you give yourself a few more weeks of recovery. Sorry for the scolding but this is serious stuff. It may be time to refocus on what's best for you and then listen to others.

Now, your body has been through major trauma. Believe it. Just as your hand pulls away from a hot stove to protect you from injury, your body has experienced a hypertonic withdrawl response to all the jostling around from too much activity. It is not ready to return to normal yet. Reflexs are active that would be dormant if your physiology was stabilized. You can not create a new "normal" without more time.

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

I wish this was easier. I wish I wasn't such a basket case. And maybe I am still in denial, because I really wish this hadn't happened to me. I am kind of bitter about the whole thing to be honest. My surgeon did call me back yesterday, and he is the nicest kid and a good doctor, but for some reason I have a misplaced feeling of anger towards him too! Like, he did this to me. So stupid, I know. He told me AGAIN that this recovery will take 4-6 weeks and I need to be patient. He told me again how hard my surgery was to do, and that he really had to "work" to get this out of me because of the size and position. I told him I was terrified that every ache and pain was more cancer and he told me there is no reason to believe they didn't get it all. It helped a little, but I can't help but feel scared. 

When I was this down the first time, I came here and then I felt better. This time it is taking longer but if I still feel this bad after the weekend, I guess I will find someone local to go talk to. 

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

You mentioned going back to work because sitting in front of the computer and the TV is the same thing. For me, sitting was the absolute worse position. It put the most pressure on the area that has been traumatized. Standing and lying down were my best positions for minimizing pain. Sitting also limits blood flow to that area of the body.

I didn't go back to work for 6 weeks and I'm really glad I didn't. Even when I went back, I was so tired by 4pm that I almost couldn't function.

It took me over a year to feel fully normal. I had all kinds of weird symptoms during that first year. Definitely the wounds weren't fully healed for a few months.

Go easy on yourself. I've only read a few of your posts, but I think you're being really hard on yoursef. You need some TLC from YOU.

Todd

stub1969's picture
stub1969
Posts: 800
Joined: Jul 2016

In the week or so prior to surgery I did a search on this site and read the accounts of people that had just had surgery.  I wanted to know what I was getting myself into and mentally prepare for the recovery.  In one of your posts you describe yourself as a Type A person--task oriented, busy, and in control.  Well, this surgery just knocked you out of your comfort zone, so it is no wonder you are having these emotional feelings.  Let me tell you, I was the same way.  So, I focused on what I could control (and learning to surrender to my body).  Remind yourself that you'll get through this--it just takes a few weeks. 

One other piece that I want to mention that I didn't see from your original post--you don't mention that you are walking.  If you are not, I would encourage you to start and go easy.  You'll feel a great deal of satisfaction and a level of accomplishment as you gain stamina and start to feel the positive benefits of the movement.

Take care, MLPH--we're pulling for you!

Stub

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

I read back and under the care of a great physical therapist, I was lifting weights, jogging, golfing, and riding my Harley within just a few weeks. The therapist understood recovery having dealt with thousands of surgical patients.

I'll add that your body will resist most changes of activity with pain, spasm, and any neuro trick it can pull off until it recognizes it is safe to tolerate more.

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

Prescribed Physical Therapy for me. It was wonderful! The therapists working muscles I didnt even know I had soon reduced the pain, improved my mobility and increased my confidence

Deanie0916
Posts: 259
Joined: Nov 2016

I think for me sitting a lot after surgery was just as bad as activity. Like everyone else here, I would suggest contacting your doctor with any concerns. I find people seem to think that you are over your surgery and okay once they see you up and about and not doint further treatment so they assume you are all better. But you, in the meantime are still processing, worrying and hurting. I will keep you in my prayers. God bless.

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

I have a gift card for a massage that my neighbor gave me at least a year ago and I never found the time to go do it. I finally made myself an appointment for tonight and I am very excited to go! Even if it doesn't help a lot with the back pain, it should be very relaxing.

I asked him yesterday when he called me back if I could go to a chiropractor and he said yes, so I am assuming this would also be ok. If getting all loosened up doesn't relieve some of this, I will probably go to a chiroprator too. My rational self knows this is probably from having that beast pushing on my spine for so long, I mean on my MRI you can actually see how much pressure was on my spine. I don't know why I expect to be instantly better, but I do. I am not a patient person. I want results now. ha ha

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1322
Joined: Oct 2013

Well, first, I am sorry you are going through this. It could be a number of things, and NO, you are not going crazy!! BUT you may be experiencing INFLAMMATION in side from the trauma of surgery, anemia could be suspected as well. INFLAMATION=CULPRIT!  Remember NERVES were cut and not communicating as before.

I have this most amazing chiropractor who uses a gentle technique called B.E.S.T. And lazer light therapy helps those severed nerves start to regenerate and communicate again. Anemia, fatigue can make you VERY irritable, angry, unable to control one's emotions.  So yes, see your chiropractor. I am impressed your surgeon is so open minded!

You can DM me anytime. I am at my computer all day/night.

Hugs to you my dear~

Jan

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

Because he is a little kid, LOL. My surgeon just turned 33 in November, a few days before I turned 43. Ha ha I went for a massage last night and it was nice, will try to get into the chiropractor next week. Everything so messed up with all the holidays! I appreciate your offer, so nice. I feel totally crazy right now, the fact that anyone is willing to talk to me is amazing. :) 

Jojo61's picture
Jojo61
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013

Yes I have had pains after surgery. And after having surgery for cancer, it is NORMAL to feel anxious with every ache or pain. I told my PCP that he would be seeing a lot of me after the surgery because I was going to get every ache and pain checked out afterwards. He was wonderful about it and didn't make me feel one bit silly for getting them all checked out. He also recommended counselling. And I went. It was really great. Part of the reason it was great is that you can vocalize all your concerns without having to worry your spouse, family, friends. Of course cancer is on your mind!! And sometimes you just have to get all your worries and concerns and feelings out of your system before you can feel that you can face the world again. So I highly recommend finding a professional to talk to. Go easy on yourself....physically and emotionally!

Big hugs

Jojo

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1949
Joined: Mar 2014

 

It is not in your head and you’re not acting crazy. Everyone is different and recovers differently. You not only had major surgery but it was for cancer. Just the word alone is enough to do your head in. It’s a shame if your husband loses patience with you because that’s exactly what it takes: patience. Eventually you’ll feel differently but it’s not even a month yet since you went through all that so give yourself a chance to heal completely. Both physically and mentally.

Yes, call your surgeon. Severe pain could be just a spasm brought on by the extra stress of holidays, or it could be an adhesion. As for counseling, nothing wrong with it if it helps you learn how to cope differently. I for instance take .25mg of Xanax when I freak out with anxiety or feel edgy. We all do whatever it takes.

 

Hugs

 

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

I wish I had made the appointment sooner! Since my massage last night, I have not taken a single pain pill, no need to. I am sure a LOT of that was tension from everything that has occured in the last month and a half, and it really did the trick! I am very happy to be heading into the weekend and new year in a lot less pain. I may go again next week. 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1949
Joined: Mar 2014

That's great. Yes, do schedule another appointment since it helped :)

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

To any newer members, or future members who may read this. If you are having lots of back pain and just uncomfortable I really recommend going and getting a massage as soon as you are able. It honestly made all the difference for me. I have not taken a single pain or anxiety pill since I went, I still get the odd twinges especially where my kidney was, but I feel like a new person. I think the mood issues were with the pain pills and anxiety pills, and I was only taking the anxiety pills because the more I hurt, the more anxious I would become. Kind of became a cycle I couldn't break on my own. 

I think I will still get into the chiropractor this week, mostly because I know what this did to my spine while it was in there. You could see on my MRI how much pressure it was causing. I don't think it will hurt any to get some adjustments done to make things go back to where they should be a little quicker. 

One month since surgery down, now I wait until June for my first scan and hopeful this will be over and done with. 

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1322
Joined: Oct 2013

I agree! Glad your massage helped a lot!

Yes, there is a mind-body connection, and stress disconnects harmony.

Stretching, centered BREATHING techniques, and learning new ways to cope HELP! Changing your attitude and how you think about the situation is under YOUR control.

Best to you!

Jan

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

@ mlph's house next weekend!

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

Everyone deserves one for sure! 

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

I've never had a massage in my entire life.

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

But I highly recommend for the post-op everything aching basket case patients! Tongue Out

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