I was well-prepared pre-op, because my Urologist (at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago) provided me with a huge packet of information detailing things pre and post-op, explanation of the surgery, catheter care, post-op issues, etc. The hospital offered a pre-op workshop at which everthing was explained best it could be. During my 1.5 day hospital stay it was required that I sit and watch (from my bed) a video explaining how to deal with the catheter, it's cleaning and care, securing, etc. Just prior to discharge my nurse worked with me and the take-home catheters (there were two different types - day/night) so I understood how to handle it. The catheter was tethererd to my thigh by a velcro strip which the hospital provided - no need for tape. The catheter presented no discomfort or problems and was removed 12-days post-op.
At Northwestern Memorial in Chicago all rooms are private rooms, and they are quiet. Nurses were in/out during my first night, taking vitals, checking on incisions (the holes punched in the stomach/abdomen for da Vinci), checking on the IV and medications, etc. - but I was, for the most part - 'out of it' - and remember little of those events. I was up and walking mid-day the day following surgery (didn't get to my room until about 1:30 a.m. following surgery, because of operating room delays ahead of me). I was eating light meals right away. I was discharged mid-Friday - following a late-day Wednesday surgery.
I live alone and the first several days at home would probably have been a little better had I asked for a visiting nurse to check on things a couple of times - but I handled the logistics and am no worse for the wear. Showering, changing the catheter bags, etc. took some juggling, but I did it without incident. I've had no post-op pains. It was, though, not easy to sit for long in the chair when the catheter was in, but once the catheter was removed I've encountered no sitting problems or discomfort.
My work involves sitting at a desk/computer for 8-hous daily and I wondered how soon I could get back to that, so I returned yesterday - 18-days post-op, and everything went well. Incontenence has been an issue, but an expected one. I leak when I get up/sit down, when I'm walking sometimes, when I get in/out of bed. At first, I was going through 10-pads a day. Now I'm probably at 7 or 8. I change often, though, because I don't like the wet feeling - or thinking I may be wet - and others may not change the pads quite as often. The pads are inexpensive and easily disposable. Thank God for those pads! There's no leaking through to my slacks, though - so just I know why I'm rushing through the office making a bee-line for the bathroom!
At my age, I've enjoyed a good sex life thus far and removing the cancer is/was more important to me than what may happen to my sex life post-op. I don't expect it to be the same, and if it is that's a bonus. A longer, overall healthier life is what I'm looking for.
Pre-op I hardly thought about the surgery. There was nothing I could do about it anyway. I remember nothing about the surgery itself and the hospital stay was very short. I've had no pains or real discomfort post-op. I've approached this like I've approached lesser medical issues - found out about it and let the doctor's deal with it. End of story (well, once the leaking stops it'll be the end of the story!). I was so relaxed pre-op I went to Rio de Janeiro for a week just prior to surgery.
Comforting to me was reading through these types of discussions and searching the www for helpful information. I knew what to expect, before it happened. Fear of the unknown often causes great stress. Take the time to read through the materials your doctor/hospital will give you (ask for those things now if you haven't received a packet) and post-op listen to your body and let it make some of the "when" decisions for you.
Best wishes for a successful surgery and complete recovery. Relax best you can.
Age: 59 (58 at diagnosis - June, 2008)
April '08 PSA 4.8 ("free PSA" 7.9), up from 3.5 year prior
June '08 had biopsy, 2 days later told results positive but in less than 1% of sample
Developed sepsis 2 days post-biopsy, seriously ill in hospital for 3 days
Dr. recommended robotic removal using da Vinci
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL
Dr. Robert Nadler, Urologist/Surgeon
Post-op Gleason's: 3+3, Tertiary 4
Bladder & Urethral: Free
Seminal vesicles: Not involved
Lymphatic/Vascular Invasion: Not involved
Tumor: T2c; Location: Bilateral; Volume: 20%
Catheter: Removed 12-days after surgery
Incontinent: Yes (19 days post-op)
Combination of Cialis and MUSE (alprostadil) three times weekly started 9-27-08
Returned to work 9-29-08 (18-19 days post-op)