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New to Group and Panic Mode is Setting In

Lady Lou
Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2021

My partial open nephrectomy is scheduled for late next week and I’m starting to panic. I don't know if I'm more afraid of the cancer or the surgery!  Two complex cysts identified on right kidney (upper pole and lower) during a CT scan prior to my hysterectomy for endometrial cancer in 2019.  My urologist has been monitoring these for over a year and the cyst/mass in the upper pole has grown over a centimeter in that time (is now over 5 cm).  The cysts in the lower part has remained stable.  A CT and MRI in February this year and results are now suspect for RCC.  Urologist wanted to remove the entire kidney but I have gotten a second opinion with a Urological Oncologist & Surgeon and have opted for open partial in an attempt to maintain partial kidney function.  I’ve no symptoms, no pain, no bleeding that I’m aware of.  Having a previous cancer, I know this is probably the right thing to do but I am just petrified of this surgery.  Do I just have an irrational fear of not waking up from the surgery?  This surgery sounds so much more complex than anything I've been through before.

Bay Area Guy's picture
Bay Area Guy
Posts: 502
Joined: Jun 2016

Hi Lady Lou.  Sorry you have to be here.  The anxiety you're having is normal.  I've yet to see anyone looking at surgery be ho-hum about it.  I've had three major surgeries in my life.  The first two were for twisted intestines and they were done on an emergency basis as both times, the twists were so violent that my intestines were actually twisted shut.  I was in so much pain each time that I went to the ER and the next thing I knew, I was waking up after surgery.  So I had no time to get anxiety.

The kidney cancer was different.  I was first diagnosed in late 2013, but was on active surveillance until April, 2016 when it was determined my lesion had grown.  the surgery wasn't until June, 2016, so I had two months to get anxious about things.  I did a lot of walking and listened to music a lot and that helped to calm me down.  I also told myself that while the surgery wouldn't be fun, the alternative would be even worse.  And it turned out that the worst thing about the whole experience was waking up in my room with one of my nieces screaming in my ear to wake up.  LOL.  Not the calmest way to wake up.

My best wishes for a boring and uneventful surgery and a speedy recovery.

a_oaklee
Posts: 567
Joined: Nov 2013

The good news is that you are going to be asleep through the whole thing, and when you wake up it will be as if time has stood still.  You will wake up!   You are just stressing out as anyone would be prior to surgery.   My husband just tried to stay mentally preoccupied with work.  He did want surgery in order to be healthy.  If it gets to be too difficult with anxiety call the doctor.  Maybe they can give you something to help.   Best wishes for a quick recovery. 

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 3334
Joined: Jan 2010

At 5 cm it is small to medium size and tooo large to walk and wait. On my dscharge summary my surgeon wrote discharged without pain. What a jokester.

 

 

 

 

icemantoo

tgpath1's picture
tgpath1
Posts: 26
Joined: Apr 2021

I have had other surgeries (tubes tied, gallbladder out) and was never super nervous.  But this surgery made me very nervous!! In hindsight, I think the fact that it was cancer made me hyper aware of my mortality so the surgery seemed overwhelming.  But as others have said, you'll be asleep and you WILL wake up.  You'll have a recovery, just like any other surgery. Keep in mind that while this is a more complex surgery, this is what the urologists do every day so it's "more" to us but to them, it's just another surgery. 

Bay Area Guy's picture
Bay Area Guy
Posts: 502
Joined: Jun 2016

I think you make a great point about the psychological aspect of hearing "It's cancer".  

eug91's picture
eug91
Posts: 317
Joined: Jan 2019

All great advice above.

You're going to do great - all of us were scared before our nephs, too. We made it through and we know you're going to make it through, too. Two bits of advice from the great foxhd-

-It's not that bad. You are only having surgery. You aren't getting married. Go forward and think about what you want to be doing in 2-3 weeks. There should be some good ball games on. And you don't have to get up to work. Focus all your energy on how good a thing this is that you are doing.

-Everyone goes through this. You'll have a wonderful spring and summer. Patience. You will look back and wonder what the big deal was. We see it all the time. I promise.

You're gonna do great. We're with you! 

AliceB1950's picture
AliceB1950
Posts: 113
Joined: Jun 2019

My kidney cancer was found when I was getting a pre-op scan before breast cancer surgery, so I know how you feel. I also had endometrial cancer ten years before that. The kidney surgery hurt more afterward - or I'm more of a wuss as I get older. I had a full nephrectomy done laparoscopically, which meant just one night in the hospital. I did have a few qualms going into it; I think because my previous cancer surgeries had been for more expendable body parts, and other major surgeries I've had were for repair work. There's a saying on the breast cancer forum I hang out at: You don't have to be brave; you just have to show up. I found it very calming to repeat that as often as needed. Best of luck to you!

Lady Lou
Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2021

Thank you all for the comments.  Oddly enough it is reassuring that I am not alone in my experience and dealing with these feelings.  Hospitals and surgeons do this every day, I do not which is why it is so petrifying.  I have decided to view this as an opportunity to get this out now, hopefully before there is spread outside the kidney.  Hoping I've not waited too long but it took quite some time to get scheduled for the second opinion and then scheduling surgery.   I am still under  surveillance for the uterine cancer and have quickly realized I can never go back to life as it was pre-diagnosis.  I will put my big girl panties on and get this done.  I am tired of living in constant fear of cancer.  I'm old but not that old, I have a life to live!  Hopefully will see you on the other wide with results of a successful (and uneventful) surgery.

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 463
Joined: Oct 2016

Hi Lady Lou,

I'm sorry to hear about your predicament.

You know, you are talking to a room full of surgery survivors so in this forum you will only hear good news.  I hope that makes you feel better.

My most recent general anesthetic was just over 24 hours ago when I had a ureteral stent inserted to bypass a 6.5mm kidney stone.  Since I have only one kidney this was most likely life saving surgery and certainly saved a lot of discomfort. Waking up was kind of funny.  I was talking crap with a nurse who was looking after me while coming out of the anesthetic.  I don't remember a single would we said to each other or how long the conversation went for.

Anyway... I hope it helps you to know that everyone here knows how you feel.

All the best,

Steve.

Deanie0916
Posts: 403
Joined: Nov 2016

Hope your surgery went well and you are recovering. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

jazzgirl's picture
jazzgirl
Posts: 198
Joined: Nov 2017

Hi Lady Lou, I hope you are well into your recovery by now. Please let us know how it went and how you are doing. We all know that these first weeks after surgery can be rough in many ways. Know that you have support here from many people. Take care ~

Lady Lou
Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2021

Well today marks the start of week 6 of recovery from open partial nephrectomy.  Although this is taking a bit longer than I thought it would, I am in a much better place than I was 3 weeks ago!  Pain is much better and only seems to occur with yawning, sneezing or trying to sleep on my right side (still impossible).  Breathing greatly improved (practicing my yoga breathing and using the spirometer helped). Fatigue is an issue.  Honestly, I think I was so stressed out about the surgery and getting stuff done beforehand, that I’ve gotten very “apathetic” about getting stuff done now! Ironically my biggest problem is very bad knee and thigh pain when I try to sleep at night.  I’m pretty sure this is due to my arthritic knee that needs replacing and the fact that since I’ve had surgery, most exercising stopped (except walking) and I’ve not been able to do any yoga.  I have been sitting far too much! I will be adding some very gentle yoga back this week and maybe some water walking in the pool.  Still on restriction for lifting more than ten pounds so I think the weights shall have to wait a bit.  I’m sure not brave enough to attempt much core work at this time.  Maybe I’m being too easy on myself?  Thanks to all for sharing your experiences.  I had no clue what to expect and seeing what others have gone through has been very helpful for me in this journey (and kept me from goingoff the deep end!).

Deanie0916
Posts: 403
Joined: Nov 2016

Glad to hear your surgery went well. Take it as easy as you need. All the best to you.

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