how soon to return to work?

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/26/2008 8:14 AM (GMT -6)   
After a radical prostectomy , is it possible to return to work with a catheter? I teach and currently I am on my feet for 2 hours in the morning, then have a break and do another lecture for 1 hour. I can do a lot more work sitting down but it is best if I can stand and move.

Any thoughts?

To date:

Current diagnosis:

Diagnosed Aug 14 2008
PSA 1.5
3 of 12 cores 5-10% cancerous
Gleason: 3+3 at one site, and 3+4 at second.
Palpable on one side.
Stage: T2

Bone Scan just completed (waiting on results)
CT scan just completed (waiting on results)

Family History:
father had prostate cancer (Gleason 6) at 70, treated with radiation. Developed Pancreatic cancer, diagnosed May 2004, died Nov 2004.

Overall health:

No weight problem.

Diagnosed diabetic Aug 2006. Insulin at first but now Janumet, diet, and exercise.A1C - 5.8.

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4840
   Posted 8/26/2008 8:38 AM (GMT -6)   
 is it possible to return to work with a catheter -> YES
I had my surgery on Wednesday...took the following week off and was back to work. You'll just strap the catheter to your hip inside your pants...No one but you will know it's there.

I got to wear my catheter for five weeks turn

Age 53   - 5'11'   205lbs
Overall Heath Condition - Good
PSA - July 07 & Jan 08 -> 1.3
Gleason - 6
(biopsy done March 4, 2008-> 2 of 12)
06/25/08 - Da Vinci robotic laparoscopy

Post Edited (Steve n Dallas) : 8/26/2008 7:47:39 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 270
   Posted 8/26/2008 8:42 AM (GMT -6)   
I returned to work after 3 weeks but I could have after two weeks or sooner if I had been willing to weather the inconveniences. I wore the cathedar for 8 days, and at home during that time I wore the small bag strapped to the leg during the day and was very mobile. As far as physical pain or weakness - it was minimal. The bag was more the issue (maintaining and emptying).

After cathedar removal, if you are like most of us, you will then be leaking at least some and wearing pads which is also something to become accustomed, but it is no big deal.

Alot of this depends on what kind of job you have, and your personal health. If you are required to be on your feet all day and physical it will be much more difficult. On the other hand, if most of your job is sitting you should be able to return reasonably soon if all goes as it should. I wish you the best!

Age 61
Original data - pre-operation
PSA: 5.1
T1C clinical diagnosis, Needle biopsy - 10 cores, Gleason 7 = 3+4 in 1 core (40%), 7 cores Gleason 6 = 3+3 ranging from 5% to 12%
All scans negative
Lupron administered 4/9/2008 for 4 months (with idea I would undergo external beam radiation followed by seed implants - then I changed my mind).
Robotic DiVinci surgery - Dr. Fagin (Austin) May 19th
Post operative - pathology
pT2c NX MX
Gleason 3+4
Margins - negative
Extraprostatic extension - negative
seminal vesicle invasion - uninvolved
1st Post PSA .04

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 328
   Posted 8/26/2008 10:55 AM (GMT -6)   
On my post-op instructions it stated you should not drive with cathedar in. Not sure if you have someone that can drive you there or not. While cathedar was in for me I was on stool softener and drank prune juice. Going to the bathroom was not a pleasant experience and I was in there for quite sometime.
Age 37
Diagnosed 7/2008
Da Vinci Surgery 7/2008
First PSA : 4.17 5/2008
Second PSA After 2 weeks of antibiotics : 3.9 6/2008
DRE: Negative 5/2008
Bone Scan/CAT Scan: Clear 7/2008
Cystoscope: Normal 7/2008
Prostate MRI: Normal 7/2008
Biopsy : 6 out 12 Postive all on right side, Gleason 7 (3+4).
PostOp: T2c (On Both sides), margins clear, seminal clear, nodes, clear. Gleason 6(3+3).
First PostOp PSA: 9/2008

Tony Crispino
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 8128
   Posted 8/26/2008 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I could have gone to work within a week, but I am glad I didn't. It takes time to completely heal the surgery. I would wait until the catheter is at least out. You need to see how your plumbing is working as you may have to adjust accordingly. With good luck, you will close to normal within a month ~ hopefully cancer free.

Age 46 (44 when Dx)
Pre-op PSA was 19.8
Surgery on Feb 16, 2007 @ The City of Hope
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 (May 9 '08): <0.1
I will continue HT until May '09. 
Years in Remission (3/23/07): 1
Visit my Journey at:
And at:

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/26/2008 3:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all of the information. It has really helped.

I return to see my urologist on thursday to determine what to do next based on the CT and bone density scan.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 598
   Posted 8/26/2008 6:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm a teacher too. The emotional energy needed to do a good job is just too intense that soon after surgery. You will be wiped out. Are you sure it's worth it? Remember, they don't give any raises for heroics. If it's a matter of paying the bills or keeping your job, that's one thing. If it is avoiding being an inconvenience to the admin - forget it.

Think of PCa as a wake up call from life. Start taking care of yourself. You deserve it. Be Kind to your body. if you MUST work, then please be careful. i overdid it at three weeks and paid for it. It set me back at least a week. i did not return to work even longer then.
We are all different, but take the time off for your emotions and your family as well.

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 Apr 2007
Total Posts : 823
   Posted 8/26/2008 6:23 PM (GMT -6)   
If you can stay out of work for a while do it. I would ask your Dr. what to do. I walked a lot with the cath in and carried the big bag because I didn't have to empty it to often. Got some funny looks with the tube coming out the leg of my shorts, but what the heck, I never was much of a fashion person.

age at dx 54 now 56
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
Tossed the pads this spring
ED still a problem
first year PSA less than zero

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 847
   Posted 8/26/2008 6:55 PM (GMT -6)   
You could certainly stand in front of a class and no-one need know of your new plumbing arrangements. I went for daily walks of an hour or so with the catheter in and my usual somewhat baggy trousers were good enough to hide everything (small bag strapped to my calf). I was not bold enough to wear shorts!
Age 63. Other than cancer, in good health; BMI 20
Pre-op: No symptoms; PSA 5.7; Gleason 4+5=9; cancer in 4 of 12 cores
7 March 2008, RRP, non nerve sparing
Two nights in hospital; catheter and staples out after 7 days
Continent, no pads needed from the get-go
Post Op: Stage pT2 M- N-; clear margins and lymph nodes; Gleason 4+4=8; prostate weight: 37gm
6-week PSA: 0 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1132
   Posted 8/26/2008 7:03 PM (GMT -6)   
i went to work after 3 weeks. i was told not to drive until the catheter was removed. i drove somewhat like a robot. i couldn't twist around the seat too much. remember this is major surgery and it does take time to heal. i wouldn't rush things.... listen to the body. if you are out for 3 weeks, that is not much time in the over all scope of things. i know it is easy for me to say now.... also, they say the effects of anesthesia hangs around for up to 6 weeks.....
Age 48
occupation accountant
PSA increased from 2.6 to 3.5 in one year
biopsy march 2008 - cancer present gleason 7
decision - surgery (robotic)
surgery may 9, 2008 - houston, tx
pathology report -gleason 8
margins clear
4 week and 6 week PSA >.04 (undetectible)
12 week PSA <.04
continent at 10 weeks (no pads!)
kegel's twice a day 20 reps

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 8/26/2008 8:49 PM (GMT -6)   


..nah, take your time if you can. I've still not gone back to work. Planning on going next week, we have a pretty good sick leave plan, plus I"ve been piling up sick leave for thirty-two years....I've decided I'm going to use some of it!.....I walked all over town with my cath in, put it in a bag, tube coming out of my gym shorts.....I'm wanted  someone to ask me what was up, my reply......."when was the last time you had your PSA checked"?....had a pretty fair number make appointments to get it done. That is still so surprising so many men dont' even know what a PSA test is.....I think it's up to us to help get the word out... 

   age: 53
   Pre-0p PSA  Feb. 08, 5.0
      4.22.08, 4.1
      PSA  spiked once about 8yrs ago to 5.0 three months later
      back to 2.9...then into the 1.2 range until my re-scheduled 
      "missed" appointment this past Feb.
      Biopsy 5.1.08 
      5 of 15 cores positive
      Da Vinci I read somewhere on this 
      site....."the first show of the day"
       DaVinci completed 7.29.08, Bladder Sling installed, hernia repair 
       completed during surgery.    
       3hrs in surgery, 2 in recovery...trouble starting the airway pre-
        Sent home 30hrs,  JP drain in place 7days,
       Path report "cancer fully contained"....Margins clear
        Cath removed 8.8.08(ten days) lightly used pad 24 hours
        ED therapy begins 8.9.08. 100mg viagra three times a week,
        pump everyday and hold for ten minutes.
        8.16.08 switched to Levitra 20mg.......whahoo, got lucky...
        immediate results..... 
           ..."just tryin' to reason with hurricane season"..

Navy corpsman
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 8/29/2008 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   

You can work with a catheter but it probably is not a good idea. An RRP is major surgery and all the quick recovery talk is somewhat misleading.  Everyone's recovery is different.  I'm 44 and in very good shape and it took about a month to start to feel somewhat normal.

Finding out you have cancer and having major surgery are life changing events, so take as much time as you can from your job and focus on yourself and your family. 

If you insist on going back to work ASAP you probably will regret it.  If I were you I would take a minimum of 2-3 weeks off, then go in for half days for a couple of weeks.

- John
Age:  44
We have a family history of PCa.  My Dad and uncle died from it at 65 and 53. My PSA velocity increased in the last 2 years and I had to talk my GP into refering me to a urologist.
Biopsy results:  5 of 11 cores positive, all 30%. Gleason 6. T1c. PSA 2.53  Date of biopsy 15MAY08.
Open RRP at Johns Hopkins with Dr. Partin on 09JUL08.
Pathology report:  Gleason 6, pT2, neg. margins, 0 lymph node and seminal vessical, organ confined, I lost 1 nerve bundle and 22 lymph nodes.
As of today, about a month after surgery, I feel at about 80%. Urinary control seems to be improving. Little Elvis has taken a nap and has not awakened yet. I hope when he wakes up he is well rested because he is going to get one heck of a workout.

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