I had my prostate removal therapy (da Vinci) September 10th, as scheduled. The process was delayed 4-hours because the operating room with the equipment was unexpectedly occupied longer than expected by a patient in front of me. Northwestern in Chicago is an excellent facility and as I awaited surgery in the preparation/staging area surprisingly relaxed.
My memory of the surgery is blank; nothing. Just prior to being taken from the staging area to the operating room I was given an injection and before I reached the OR I was sound asleep. Thr surgeon, surgical resident and several nurses spoke with me while I was in the staging area, explaining what would happen before, during and after surgery - and all of that information further contributed to my calmness. Surgery took about 4:15 hours and though the pathology report hasn't come back yet, my surgeon has told me all went well and that he's confident the report will show that the cancer was removed entirely.
Awoken in Recovery Room I spoke with family, and then was again awoken in my room where I was experiencing pelvic and back pain - and the nurses administered pain medication which permitted me to sleep for maybe 4 hours. Whatever pain I was having was quickly relieved by additional injections of the pain medication. Since I didn't get to my room until about 1 a.m. I wasn't encouraged to be up and walking until after lunch. I walked a rectangular lap around the floor where my room was and returned to rest - and continued my walks every 90-minutes. I didn't feel dizzy or experience any special pain. The catheter then, and now, wasn't much of an issue. It's there, they tell you how to handle the logisitcs of it - and you move forward.
Since I handled the soft diet of two meals well my dinner the first day in the hospital was solid, and I had no problems. I didn't sleep well that second night in the hospital, but I didn't feel tired or that I had the need to sleep. I'd been taking 'cat naps' throughout the day and I unplugged my telephone so I could get some rest. My surgeon and some of his team made separate visits to assure me that the procedure was 'text book', that all went well and that what I was experiencing was normal following such a surgical procedure.
On Friday the surgeon told me the drain would be removed and I would be released mid-day - and that's what happened. The ride home in the car was a bit rough because it wasn't easy - comfortable - to sit upright in the vehicle, so I sat on an angle, alternating the buttock on which I was resting. I was prescribed some pain medication, but the surgeon asked me to refrain from using it - except in cases of severe pain - and to take Tylenol instead. Now three-days after the surgery, I've not yet felt the need for the stronger pain medication. Continuing with the stool softner, I had my first post-surgery BM today - maybe 1 day later than predicted by the surgeon.
There are certain catheter logistical issues that take getting used to, but I've handled them well . . . for someone who lives alone and handles these things himself. Finding a comfortable position to sleep in is a challenge, but I think I have two ways to sleep now and last night's sleep was a good one.
It's been raining 'cats and dogs' in Chicago the last couple of days - 6.6 inches yesterday - and the rains continue today - so I've been doing my walks indoors. I live in a large condominium building and the hallway outside my unit is long - about 1/2 city block in length. I'm having some burning in the chest but think it's related to a prior acid reflux issue, and I've been taking Nexium to relieve the matter - though friends suggest the burning may be an after-effect of the surgical process (anesthesia). I continue with my breathing exercises, coughing, etc., and that seems to go well.
One after-affect that has begun to concern me, maybe unnecessarily, and some of you who've been through this can help me out on th ematter - is the increased (day-by-day) swelling of my testicals, which are now mostly purple. The swelling has been substantial. I've read some material online about this, but nothing good enough to give me comfort, and it's a matter not discussed by my surgeon as something to watch for (i.e., a danger).
This is something best experienced if you have a wife or partner to assist in the early days - but I'm on my own which adds some degree of complication. I stocked-up on food and supplies, and clean laundry, beforehand, and some of my neighbors have prepared meals and/or called to see what I need - so I'm not completely alone.
I'm glad I stocked-up on Depends pads to catch catheter leaking - because I'm experiencing that as I bend over, get in/out of bed, try to sit, etc. I understand the leaking is normal - stress related - and I'm prepared for that and handling it well.
I do feel better each day post-surgery and consider myself fortunate to have had the cancer identified very early and, as I'm expecting, completely removed. I'm 59 and this was my first surgery and I wouldn't have anything to say to discourage another person from undergoing surgery via the da Vinci robotic procedure.
Thanks, again, to all of you who've taken the time to share your stories because your experiences helped me deal with the issues I'm confronting.