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Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2019

Hi everyone!  I discovered this forum in search of how long it takes for cardio ability to return after a nephrectomy.  On July 11, 2019 my entire left kidney was removed.  Before that I was in great shape for a 57 yr old female. (No symptoms of cancer...discovered accidently)  I started doing my weight and cardio workouts again around the end of August, easing into them, of course.  Cardio seems to be the hardest thing to get back to my "normal".  I'm hoping, assuming that I just haven't waited long enough and that I should just keep at it.  Is that correct? 

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3336
Joined: Jan 2010

You are 13 weeks out. your body has not fully recovered. Rty backing off a little bit.











Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2019

Thank you.  I have had to back off my normal workouts and do some modifications because I physically can't do it.  I monitor my heart rate and it gets a lot higher in a shorter amount of time.  Thanks for the grace of backing off and healing.  Sometimes I feel like a wimp. Laughing

stub1969's picture
Posts: 897
Joined: Jul 2016

Are you feeling any pain?  I tried to get back into my old workout routine and ended up having some concerning pains for about a week.  I backed off during that time and gave it a couple more weeks.  

Don't worry, it will come back.  It may take a little time at first, but you will be fine.  I ran a half marathon less than a year after my surgery.  


Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2019

Hi Stub, I haven't had any pain thankfully.  I just can't seem to get my cardio stamina back.  I give out faster. I missed my whole summer hiking season, but might give a shorter hike a try in a few weeks.  My mind is ready to go, but apparently my body isn't yet. HA!  I have read some of the conversations here and it seems like 6 months up to a year is about the time that most start feeling like themselves again.  

Congrats on your marathon.  That gives me hope.  Maybe I'll put a goal of climbing the Incline in Colorado again....next summer! 

Manufred's picture
Posts: 241
Joined: May 2017

I was never as fit or active as you seem to be, but it took me a good 6 months before I got back into my regular exercise (swimming) regime, and even now (7 years after, although with some set-backs) I sometimes still struggle to do my 20 laps.

But then, I am alive and breathing, so I think I am in front.

Give yourself time, you will be OK in the long run.

Best Wishes, Fred

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2019

Thanks Fred.  Guess I'm getting anxious, but see many others with the same issue.  That doesn't fix it, but it does make it easier to accept that this is just the way it is. 

Apaugh's picture
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

I had left neph on July 18.  Came out of it fine and that night ended up going into  A-Fib.  I almost died.  The docs said my body was  in shock.  I had several procedures prior to the neph surgery and my body was sooo mad.  The docs kept me down until 2 wks ago I started water therapy at the Y. Low impact .   Silver Sneakers Program and my insurance pays for it.  I am lucky, no, I am blessed for the opportunity to get strong again.   I hope you get better soon.   



eug91's picture
Posts: 317
Joined: Jan 2019

The others have said it better than I could, and I'm in mediocre shape for my age, but just to add my experience-

My doctor said I'd be okay to start my regular workouts after 4 weeks, but I couldn't do it. My body was just not ready for running until 6 weeks. The plan was to get back to ice hockey at 8 weeks, but again, my body was just not strong enough. I had to wait until 12 weeks post-neph, and even then, it took me about another couple weeks after that before my cardio was anywhere back to where it'd been before. 

Just to echo what everyone else has said - take it easy and listen to your body. Good luck! 

Posts: 403
Joined: Nov 2016

Glad to welcome you and I echo the message to take it easy. I started training for half marathons about six months after my surgery.

Posts: 41
Joined: Feb 2019

I think your recovering is pretty good. I'm six weeks post-surgery of the partial nephrectomy, and have not started to pick up my previous workout and swimming routines yet. Hiking is my favorite activity sine the surgery since it is fully under my control. I typically hiked about 7~18 miles per day on moderate trails. But I am also concerned that I hiked too much. Hope you fully recover soon.


donna_lee's picture
Posts: 1005
Joined: Feb 2009

For every 1 day you were not training/running/exercising, it takes 3 days of activity to build back to the point you stopped.  So multiply the number of days you were not doing anything times 3 and you may see you are on track.  But cardio is the last thing that improves after strenghth and flexibility.

You had a very invasive surgery and the anesthesia shut your body down.  Every incised muscle, fiber, sheath, clipped vessel, etc. has to recover and almost start from scratch.

Hang in there.  It will take time; just more than you expected.



jazzgirl's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: Nov 2017

It will take time, as everyone else has said. I did make the trek up Skelig Michael in Ireland 8 weeks after surgery, but it pretty much took the waddin' out of me. The hardest thing for me was jumping up and down, like in a zumba class - took a long, long time for that to return. Lots of random scary pains that would eventually go away - I've been encouraged by the many people on this site who walked, ran, hiked this road before me. Slow, steady, be patient with yourself. I look forward to hearing about future hikes. Take care -

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