Returning Trip From Surgery – What to Expect

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/20/2008 9:58 AM (GMT -6)   

I have open surgery scheduled at Johns Hopkins with Dr. Partin.  I am concerned about the travel home after surgery and am wondering what others that travel for surgery have experienced.


The surgery is Wednesday morning and the return flight is Saturday morning.  The return trip is a 2.5 hour flight, a 1.5hr connection and then another 2.75 hour flight.  Is this travel schedule realistic, any advice / tips?

Age: 46 (2008)
11/07:  DRE normal, PSA 9.44, Free PSA 6%
02/08:  12 core biopsy, right apex 1mm = 10%, right lateral mid 1mm = 10%, 3+3, 24cc gland
03/08:  Diagnosed, T1C, Gleason 3+3=6
06/08:  Open Rad. prostectomy Scheduled @ Johns Hopkins

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 4/20/2008 10:52 AM (GMT -6)   

A childhood friend of mine traveled to Johns Hopkins from South Carolina by car and drove home (actually, his wife drove him) 3 days post-surgery without any problems.

I would guess that air travel might be more difficult, however, due to the fact that you will be around a large crowd of people, wearing your catheter and bag, subject to possible flight cancellations/delays and still weak from the surgery.

As a very frequent air traveler, even pre-surgery your flight schedule would have been a very tiring one for me, but then again I am 11 years older than you.

Sorry that I do not have more info to provide.  Perhaps others who have actually done what you are scheduled to do can lend insight.

Best of luck to you.


Danman Bob
Age 57
Nerve-sparing, open prostate surgery November 13, 2007
Gleason score 9, PSA 14
Biopsy result - 9 of 12 sticks showed cancer
Despite high Gleason score, cancer was confined to the prostate
Possible post-surgery radiation therapy...decision likely in late April 2008, depending upon PSA at that time
Unrelated surgery January 2008 delayed incontinence recovery, which is now showing good signs of improvement (fraction of a pad a day as of March 2008)
Began using Viagra 3 times a week December 2007 to stimulate blood flow
Began using Osbon Erec-Aid Esteem manual pump for therapy mid-February 2008
Will probably begin using bimix injections in addition to Viagra and pump in May 2008

Tony Crispino
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 8128
   Posted 4/20/2008 12:32 PM (GMT -6)   

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Tony Crispino
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 8128
   Posted 4/20/2008 12:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello HowCome,
And welcome to be best place on the web I could find for patient to patient interaction. I too travelled for my treatment. I live in Las Vegas and drove with my wife to Los Angeles where I was operated on at The City of Hope. The travel was not too much a burdon. We stayed in the area for 13 days, my family lives in beautiful Laguna Beach so we hung out. Because of the extended stay there was no burdon for me and it was good to be in the area should something go awry. Nothing did and I healed the surgery well. You chose a great facility and will be well taken care of by Dr. Partin. Good Luck and be well.

Age 45 (44 when Dx)
Pre-op PSA was 19.8
Surgery on Feb 16, 2007
Post-Op Pathology: Gleason 4+3=7, positive margins, Stage pT3b (Stage III)
HT began in May, '07 with Lupron and Casodex 50mg
IMRT radiation for 38 Treatments ending August 3, '07
Current PSA (1/08): <0.1
I will continue HT until May '09. 
Years in Remission (3/23/07): 1
Visit my Journey at:
Prostate Cancer Forum Moderator

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 598
   Posted 4/20/2008 2:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Be SURE to take a donut cushion. Sitting upright is going to be painful for several weeks. Those hard airplane seats will not be easy. Also, lean back as much as you can. I can't imagine doing this travel arrangement three days post surgery for me, but perhaps my discomfort post davinci was more than normal. Good luck. Use those pain meds - they don't give any medals for suffering.
47 at Diagnosis.
Father died of Pca 4/07 at 86.
1/06 PSA 3.15
1/07 PSA 4.6      (Biopsy 3/07 just suspicious)
10/07 PSA 5.06   (Biopsy 11/07  1 of 12 with 8% involvment) (1mm)
Da Vinci surgery Jan 5, '08 at Mt. Sinai Hosp. NYC
Saved both nerve bundles.
Path Report:  Stage T2cNxMx
-Gleason (3+3)6
-totally contained to prostate,
-10% involvement in L & R Mid lobes
PSA 0 at six weeks
Pad free on March 14 - (10 weeks.)
ED - Take 100mg viagra every night.
Totally usable erections at 10 weeks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 686
   Posted 4/20/2008 5:06 PM (GMT -6)   

I did not need to travel far for my surgery.  My wife drove me home  (one hour drive) about 30 hours after surgery.  My surgery went well with few problems, but I was shaky on the ride home.

You will be about three days past surgery, and if all goes well you can make the flight home, but it won't be a picnic. Be sure to prepare yourself with wipes, sterile pads, pain pills, a baggy sweat suit and more (especially a good attitude)....  You might consider swinging your catheter around and maybe they will upgrade you to first class. lol

Good Luck

biopsy 10/16/06
T2A,  PSA 4.7
Gleason  4+4=8  right side
DaVinci Surgery  1/16/07
Post op confirms gleason 4+4=8
no extension or invasion found
no continence problems
PSA 90 day -.01  , 6 month -.01 , 9 month +.02 , 1 year +.02
Ed problems continue
Now using Bi-mix

Post Edited (lifeguyd) : 4/20/2008 4:11:01 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 823
   Posted 4/20/2008 7:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Howcome .

I travelled 3-4 hours going home, but I stayed in a hotel for 1 day after I got out of the hospital. If you can stay there in a hotel until you get your cath out I think you could travel better. All the waiting and standing around in the airport will be tough. You may have trouble when you empty your bag if you use the leg bag. Take care and let us know how you are doing on your journey.

age at dx 54 now 55
psa at dx 4.3
got the bad news 1/29/07
open surgery Duke Medical Center 5-29-07
never more than 2 pads
wear one for insurance now
ED still a problem
last PSA undetectable

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 315
   Posted 4/21/2008 4:54 AM (GMT -6)   
They may tell you this at hospital before you leave, but make sure you don't sit the whole time on the plane, I had a 3 hour car ride home and was told to stop half way and walk a little bit because of the clotting possibility, even if you haven't had surgery, it is always a good idea to get up and walk to the back of plane to get the blood flowing in the legs, and also stretch your legs or move them while sitting, just don't keep them in the same position.  Good luck with your surgery, you certainly will have one of the best surgeons and hospitals in the world.

diagnosed sept 2006 @ 54 years old, live in Georgia
 biopsy report gleason 3+4=7, right lobe only
psa 4.7  (psa rose 1 point per year for 3 years, urologist said still under 4 and no concern.  If I can find out about PSA velocity, why didn't he know!)
Told not to have surgery at Dana Farber as cancer had already penetrated prostate, in seminal vesicles, would have positive margins. Would only treat with radiation and HT
RP Emory Atlanta December 2006
Path-negative margins, negative lymph nodes
negative seminal vesicles, multifocal perineural invasion, both lobes involved
40% gland involved
gleason 3+4=7
Fully continent 2 weeks post catheter removal
1st psa April 2007-<0.04
 6 Mos PSA <0.04
9 mos PSA still <0.04
12 mos PSA still <0.04
15 mos PSA <0.04 (3-21-2008) 

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 4/21/2008 6:55 AM (GMT -6)   

I would have substantial concern about this much travel so soon after open surgery.  Even though I was in very good-excellent condition going in to my surgery, and even though the surgical results were excellent, there's no way I would have wanted to do that much travel so soon.  I realize that a few people could probably manage it OK, but this is major surgery and there is no way to predict that you would be up for it.  To my way of thinking this would be very risky.  Can you stay longer locally, before heading home?

Best wishes,

Diagnosed 1/25/08 @57 years.
Gleason six.
PSA 3.0
Open surgery 3/07/08, Wenatchee, WA.
Post surgery Gleason six.
Margins clear, both nerve bundles saved.
Staged pT2c.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 30
   Posted 4/21/2008 11:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Sounds like you are far enough away so that car travel is not an option.  Something soft to sit on for sure.  The catheter bags come in two sizes (at least), and a larger one might be advisable.  First, you won't be carrying anything, so someone else needs to handle the luggage/carry on.  If the gates seem far (based on your in bound travel) you can get a wheel chair to get you to the gate and through security, which might be a good thing.  Aisle seat?  Get seated early (talk to the gate staff).  Get conversant with catheter bag emptying.  Check bags at curb.  Do anything to pamper yourself.  Don't know about travel after open surgery.  My husband felt ok from robotic.  Good luck!
Age 59
PSA ; PSA 9/07=3.4; '06=3.2 DRE Negative; '05=2.4; '04=1.7
Biopsy 11/07 =  Stage T1c, 12 cores, 2 positive
Gleason score= 3+3=6
DaVinci Robotic RP surgery: 2/14/08
Path report: Gleason= 3+4=7; Stage T2c

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