Preparing for surgery

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 460
   Posted 10/5/2008 12:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone want to thank you all for your advice and support.  I will be having my suregery in a little over three weeks at Flordia Hosp. with Dre. Patel. I have finished all my pre op tests and are cleared for surgery.  The waiting is the worse I just wish it was over and the cancer was out of me.  I have some questions that may seem stupid but not sure where else to go when I have the surgery I will be standing at a hotel in Orlando until the catheter is removed the doctor told me 4 to 5 days.  The hotel is on the grounds of the hospital and has a kitchen and living area so should be ok.  Can anyone tell me what type of pants I should bring I bought some lose sweatpants and shorts but with the catheter not sure what is best and most comfortable.  Since I will be away from home I want to be prepared.  I guess it seems like a small thing but my mind is working overtime these days.  Also what type of pads do you use after the catheter is out is it the depends underware or what.  Any information you can provide to make this part a little easier will be appreciated.  I find I am on this site more and more everyday reading as much as I can.  Also after the surgery how long is it before I can eat a regular diet or do on stay on soft diet?  Any other tips for me to prepare for this will be a big help.
Age 69
DX 8/13/08
PSA 4.0
Biopsy 14 samples 1 positive for Prostate Cancer 12% of sample
Second option of biopsy from Methodist Hospital Houston same DX
Gleason Score 4+4 =8
Da Vince surgery on Oct 30, 08 Florida Hospital Dr Vipul Patel
Bone Scan and MRI negative

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 847
   Posted 10/5/2008 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Baggy sweatpants should be fine (no elastic around the lower leg). If you can comfortably shove a fist up the leg while wearing them, that is about the right amount of bagginess. I found a feeling of tightness around the lower leg when my bag was getting full that told me time to go "pee".

Peeing is a lot different to usual. If your bag is like mine, it will have an angled tap on the bottom. I rested my foot on the toilet bowl, lifted the trouser leg to expose the tap. Then angled my leg to point the tap in the correct direction, and flipped the tap. Keep hand clear and don't forget to close the tap again when done!

Shorts would be more convenient -- if you don't mind your new hardware being on public display!

For pads I suggest just a small number of heavy duty, and light duty pads. You don't know what you will need -- maybe none at all! When you know your continence state -- then you can buy a larger quantity. I didn't use pads, so can't advise on brands.

For diet, I think you will be back to a "normal" diet immediately. You want your stools to be as soft as possible, so therefore, plenty of fiber and fruit is helpful. It takes two to four days for your first BM.

Good luck with the surgery.
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 

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 10/5/2008 9:09 PM (GMT -6)   

My catheter was apparently the same. I just put my foot on the rim of the toilet bowl and could empty the bag.

Loose pants work great. Dress pant material flexes pretty well and yet doesn't reveal teh tubes, bags, etc. Sweat pants are nice as they are so flexible.

I was told to use brief type underwear. I found a type of pads made by Tena that were triangular and worked well. Some of my wifes work ok also for light times.

Keep asking, Taking the fear out of surgery is a big bonus!


Don't get discouraged!!
Diagnosed Feb 2008  54 years old
3+4=7 gleason
7.5 PSA
4 out of 20 biopsies were cancerous
daVinci Robotic surgery July 24, 2008
Univ of Calif San Francisco Med Center  Dr Peter Carroll
In hospital 2 nights altho I had option of leaving the next day but stayed due to distance home.
Contained in prostate, not spread
Six weeks post surgery PSA less than .01

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 82
   Posted 10/5/2008 9:10 PM (GMT -6)   
My doctor had me cut out caffeine entirely after surgery, as it is a diuretic and interferes with your working to control leakage. It was hard at first, but Now, almost 6 months out, I don't "crave" coffee as the first thing when I get up anymore. I have an occassional soda pop now, but that's about it.

As a coffee replacement, I first bought Postum cereal beverage (no longer made) and have since switch to Inka, a Polish cereal beverage that is actually better tasting than Postum.

I never wore sweatpants, worrying that leaks would readily show up. I wore shorts at home and jeans when I went back to work.

I bought heavy duty pads over the internet, two cases are first, when I went through 3 or more pads a day. Now I am down to a third case, but using only 1 pad during the day and none at night, but everyone is different in their recovery.

Good luck on your surgery!
Age 59 - diagnosed in Jan. 08 after biopsy
da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy 4/11/08 - both nerves spared
Catheter removed 4/25/08
Prostate Pathology:
Gleason Grade 6 (3+3)
5 wks post-op Continence: 1 pad night, 2 during day
7 wks post-op Continence: 2 pads every 24 hours
First post-op PSA at 7 wks: 0.1
14 wks post-op Continence: 1 pad days, no pad nights
Post-Op PSA at 5 months: 0.1

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 883
   Posted 10/5/2008 9:40 PM (GMT -6)   
I also cut off the coffee, soda and don't forget about Tea. It will make a difference. I have always used the Depends Guards for Men. I have been "happy" with them..Not that I liked wearin them. Wish you luck on your recovery.

    43 at Dx and Surgery (RRP)
    PSA 5.7, Biopsy 3 of 12 positive (up to 75%) all on left side of prostate, Gleason 7
    RRP on Oct. 17, 2006 - Nerves on right side saved. All Lab's clear. 
    Cathiter in for 28 days due to complications in healing. Removed Nov. 9, 2006
    First Post op PSA on Dec. 11, 2006  Undetectable 0.00.
    ED workable and usable with Viagra.
    Feb. 20th, 2007 - Feb. 4th, 2008  Cystoscope, Two Collagen injections,Second Opinion Consultation for Incontinance at OU Medical Center, Bio-Feedback training, Chiropractic, Accupuncture  to try to resolve ongoing incontinance (4-6 pads a day)  All PSA's 0.00.
    Feb. 22nd, 2008 - Surgery to install the AMS AdVance Male Sling.
    March 27th, 2008 - Sling not working, Little or no improvement.
    April 18, 2008 - Collagen injection.  Back to using 4-6 full pads a day within a week.
    May 14, 2008 - Another collagen injection to try to Band-Aid the leaking for our June cruise.  Will start making conusultation appiontments for AUS after we return.
    July 14th, 2008 - AUS consultation with Dr. Morey at UT Southwestern (Dallas).
    July 30, PSA 0.00.
    Aug. 22nd, 2008 - AUS Surgery by Dr. Morey
    Oct. 6th, 2008 - AUS Activation by Dr. Morey

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4849
   Posted 10/6/2008 5:46 AM (GMT -6)   
These are what I used from CVS...
I also had to go out an buy some breifs since boxer no workee.
Age 53   - 5'11"   205lbs
Overall Heath Condition - Good
PSA - July 2007 & Jan 2008 -> 1.3
Gleason - 6
(biopsy done March 4, 2008-> 2 of 12)
06/25/08 - Da Vinci robotic laparoscopy
10/03/08 - 1st Quarter PSA -> less then .01

Surgeon - Keith A. Waguespack, M.D.

Las Colinas and Plano Offices


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 270
   Posted 10/6/2008 7:39 AM (GMT -6)   
I wore PJ bottoms (light & comfy) most of the time. When I had visitors I put on my swet pants. As my cathetar leaked a little I found myself needing to wear a pad even with the cathetar. I taped the tube to my inside thigh to keep it from messing with my privates. When it was all said and done it was not a bad situation, and I was really getting into the routine when it was removed.

Depends can be purchased at any drug store, and they are amazing for what they are able to absorb. Let me encourage you that you will be fine. I think you will see when it is over that the surgery is generally not a big deal from the side of the patient (who is out), and that the events that follow are usually pretty routine and not that challenging. It is almost nutty that the hardest part of PC for most of us is determining what to do. After that decision is made it all plays out. Blessings.


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

James C.
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4463
   Posted 10/6/2008 8:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Here's some links to info and discussions by folks who have gone before.

Tips before surgery:

Shopping List before surgery:

Supplies-post surgery:

What is the first day home like?:

the thing to remember is each person had an individual course of recovery, and not like anyone else's, and so will yours be. However, there's enough common things that you can learn from and prepare for by reading these threads. Hope this helps.
James C. Age 61
Co-Moderator- Prostate Cancer Forum
4/07 PSA 7.6, referred to Urologist, recheck 6.7
7/07 Path report: 3 of 16 PCa, 5% involved, left lobe , GS 3/3:6.
9/07 Nerve sparing open Retropubic Radical Prostatectomy
9/07 Post-op Path Report: GS 3+3=6 Staging pT2c, 110gms, margins clear
16 mts: ED- 50 mg Viagra 3X week, pump daily,Trimix .35ml 2X week continues
PSA's: 3 mts-.04, 6 mts.-.04, 9 mts.-.04, 12 mts.-.04, 16mts.-.04

Post Edited (James C.) : 1/22/2009 2:47:43 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 10/6/2008 8:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Don't worry to much about the catheter. I personally was more worried about that than anything, but it was really no big deal. I never thought about it after the fact until I had to empty it. Also, you can drink all you need without having to get up and pee every few minutes! IMPORTANT: Keep the catheter clean everyday. Just takes a minute, Dr. will show you how.
Staying in a hotel is smart. I decided to travel home the following day (3 hrs). Big mistake.
I wore my undies for several days, then shorts.
They will give you a large catheter bag, and a small bag that straps to your leg for getting around. Be careful with the tape that straps the tube and bag to your leg. Try and move it around or it will eventually agravate your skin.
The pads are small and nearly unnoticeable. You just stick them in your undies. They are sticky on one side, which is why you need briefs (to hold it in place). You shouldn't be peeing a lot, its just a little leakage that you may have to deal with.
I stopped on the way home and ate a hamburger. For me, however, they would not let me leave until I had a BM, which was the following day.
Good luck
Age: 43
RP: 9/06
Robotic, nerves spared
PSA: good (less than .05)
Currently dealing with RSD (nerve damage) in right arm, caused from breaking my wrist in spring 08 while trout fishing with son. Not related to ED, just general info about the year I'm having so far.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 407
   Posted 10/6/2008 10:08 AM (GMT -6)   

My physician / hospital provided me with a good 'kit' of information pre-surgery which was specific in detailing all of the post-op supplies I'd need - and there are more than one or two.  I arrived at the hospital on the day of the surgery wearing sweatpants and continued to wear sweatpants during the 12-day period my catheter was in.  I'd alternate with shorts when in the house, but when I'd go for the mail or start to walk in the halls of my building, and outside, the sweatpants worked well for me. 


My hospital wouldn't discharge me without my first watching a video on how to care for the catheter, and I was given printed material to take home with me outlining the same procedures.  My nurse attached the catheter bag the first time and demonstrated each step, also.  The  hospital also sponsored a pre-surgical seminar of 1-hour where many things were discussed and questions were answered.


I suggest arriving at the hospital with a shirt that buttons down the front, because you'll have some small incisions that'll be taped and possibly leave with a drain (though mine was removed immediately prior to my departing the hospital). Raising your arms to put on a pull-over shirt could be uncomfortable at first - though after a couple of days I wasn't bothered by it.  Also, I wore sandals my feet could slip into, so I wouldn't have to bend down and tie shoes (because I was concerned I'd have difficulty bending down because of the surgery / incisions).  The sandals worked well and I was pleased I'd brought them.


My at-home post-surgical supply list included:  sterile gauze pads, alcohol wipes, tape, thermometer, vinegar (used in cleaning the catheter bags), alcohol (bottle of it), cotton balls, Q-Tips, stool softener, antibiotic (Cipro for when the catheter was removed), pain pills (codeine to be used only cases of extreme pain - and I never used one of the tablets), Tylenol (for pain relief, and I used it on occasion and it relieved whatever was slightly bothering me), antibiotic ointment (to apply to incisions and catheter tubing), band aid strips, saline solution (for care of catheter bags), Depends underwear, Depends pads, pad for bed (placed under mid-section of body) in case of bed-wetting at night (when you sleep you don't always have control of your bladder - after catheter is removed).  I change my pads often, and even when I wear the Depends underwear (principally overnight) I use a pad for added protection.  The pads are relatively inexpensive.  By the way, I found that the generic pads sold at CVS and Walgreens (as two examples) aren't as good as the Depends brand and I've gone back to Depends because of the quality and better fit.  Jockey-type briefs are what you’ll want to have on-hand, not boxer shorts – because the pads don’t work well with the boxers.


I purchased most of my supplies before going to the hospital, because I live alone.  On the way home from the hospital I had to stop at a pharmacy to get the prescription items, though - and I had the benefit of a friend driving me.  Sitting in the car for the 40-minute ride home and stop at the pharmacy was very uncomfortable, though.  You may need to have a pharmacy or someone fill your prescriptions for you - if that cannot be accomplished at the hospital before you're discharged (you could arrange with a nearby pharmacy to do this, before you go into the hospital).


Regarding diet, I stayed on a bland diet - light foods, not much 'heavy' - for the first week, then I began eating what I wanted.  My physician has recommended small snacks/meals instead of two or three large meals daily for the first month post-op - and that's what I've been doing.


I hope some of this helps you in the process of planning for your soon-to-be successful surgery.

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

Gleason's 3+3=6

Developed sepsis 2 days post-biopsy, seriously ill in hospital for 3 days

Dr. recommended robotic removal using da Vinci

Surgery 9/10/08

Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL

Dr. Robert Nadler, Urologist/Surgeon

Post-op Gleason's:  3+3, Tertiary 4

Margins:  Free

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)


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 966
   Posted 10/6/2008 11:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Jerry, I just had the surgery two weeks ago and I am now back at work. In addition to what was posted above, the only suggestion that I can offer about the catheter is that I found it uncomfortable and getting it into the right position was difficult. I could get it where it was comfortable walking but not when I sat down or visa versa. What I found was making a small J loop and then using the paper tape up close to the groin helped alot. Made the movement of the tube alot less. I wore briefs with a pad to soak up the leakage which will happen around the catheter. Also, the day after the surgery is difficult or at least it was for don't get pushed out the door too soon if you can avoid it. I spent 5 days and glad I did. My recovery has been great so far. Oh and removing the problem at all. I was concerned but it was really painless and not as uncomfortable to remove as I had imagined. And boy did I feel so much better after it was removed.
Age 58 at Diagnosis
Oct 2006 - PSA 2.6 - DRE Normal
May 2008 - PSA 4.6 - DRE Normal / TRUS normal-Gland 38 cc
July 2008 - Biopsy 4 of 12 Positive 5 - 30% Involved Bilateral (Perineural Invasion present at base)
Gleason (3+3) 6  Stage T1C
August 23 - Bone Scan - Hips, Spine and ribs marked uptake - X-Ray showed clear -Hooray
Sept 9 2nd DRE - questionable - TRUS...shadow in base - Gland now 41 cc
Robotic Surgery Sept 18, 2008
Pathology October 1,2008
Gleason 7 (4+3) Staged pT2c NO MX
Gland 50 cc
Seminal Vesicles and Lymph Nodes clear
Positive Margins Right Posterior Lobe
14 tumors in prostate - largest being 6 cm 

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 460
   Posted 10/6/2008 2:07 PM (GMT -6)   


Wow, this site is the best, thank you all so much for the information it is all so valuable and will make it so much easier to have all the necessary items before leaving for Orlando.  I will keep you all posted on how things are going.  Thanks again for all your replys.



Age 69
DX 8/13/08
PSA 4.0
Biopsy 14 samples 1 positive for Prostate Cancer 12% of sample
Second option of biopsy from Methodist Hospital Houston same DX
Gleason Score 4+4 =8
Da Vince surgery on Oct 30, 08 Florida Hospital Dr Vipul Patel
Bone Scan and MRI negative

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 308
   Posted 10/6/2008 4:43 PM (GMT -6)   

Holy Cow,

What a responce.  What did we forget?  Netflix (movie rentals).  Got it as a gift from my neighbors.  Ordered my movies and they kept comin. Made the time go by nicely.

Basketball pants or pants that snap up the side.  Makes the world alot better with the Cath.

Oh,  dont forget to walk baby walk and then walk some more.  Helped me alot.





Diagnosed 01-08-08 @ 53 years old 
DRE normal , 2004 Biospy negative - 2008 Biopsy positive (01-08-08)
10 cores, 1 positive and at 1% of that one core
PSA @ surgery 6 
Bone and Ct scans negative
clinicaly Staged at T1C - Gleason 3+3 = 6
Robotic Da Vinci performed March 27th, 2008
University of Chicago,Hospital stay 30 hours - Catheter out in 7 days  normaly expected leakage Erectile function better with Viagra
Post Pathology T2C, Gleason 7, 10 % of both portions of prostate, Seminal vessels clear, fat tissue clear,Tumor on top of prostate. 1 positve margin measureing less than .5 ml at urethra and bladder..
Six week PSA < 0.1 , 4 month PSA <.05 Gen II test.  Urologist recomends to hold off on Radiation and watch PSA closely. Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist seem to lean to doing pre-emptive radiation.Uroligist says 50/50 chance of PSA re-occurence.  
I have decided to hold off and see for 3 months.
Next PSA October...
Six Month PSA 0.010,  undetectable per Urologist
Next PSA Six months or at one year (March)

James C.
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4463
   Posted 10/6/2008 5:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Forget? Maybe a bucket or trashcan to sit next to the bed to keep the bag in at night. A plastic coat hanger stuck between the box springs and mattress makes a handy-dandy catheter bag holder while sleeping. Go practice how you are gonna get into and out of bed, best way is to keep your hands and arms firmly at your side and imagine you are trying to get out of bed with sore stomach and such. A recliner with heat and massage (that saved me, I swear). It doesn't hurt to review and share these things once in a while to keep them available closer to the front of the Forum messages.
James C.
Co-Moderator- Prostate Cancer Forum
Help support the Forum so it can continue helping you- donate at
Age 61
4/19/07 PSA 7.6, referred to Urologist, recheck 6.7
7/11/07 Biopsy- 16 core samples, size of gland around 76 cc. Staging pT2c
7/17/07 Path report: 3 of 16 PCa, 5% involved, left lobe , GS 3/3:6.
9/24/07 (open) Retropubic Radical Prostatectomy performed
9/26/07 Post-op Path Report: GS 3+3=6 Staging pT2c, 110gms, margins clear
10/15/07 ED- begin 50mg Viagra and Vacurect pump nightly, Fully continent
1/14/08 Caverject started/stopped, aching. 2/24/08 .5ml Bimix started-success
Present- 1 year: ED- Viagra, pump continues, no response- Trimix .10ml x 2 weekly continues
Post Surgery PSA's: 3 mts-0, 6 mts.-0, 9 mts.-0.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 823
   Posted 10/6/2008 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
HI Jerry 1

Good ideas here. I used most of them during my post surgery. I stayed in hotel a one day after getting out of the hospital. It was a big help. The only other thing I would suggest is to not use the leg bag. I had trouble emptying it so I used the big bag all the time. When we went out I just put the big bag in a cloth bag and ran the hose out the bottom of my shorts. Most people did not notice the tube. I walked a lot because I hate being cooped up in the house.

Take care

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

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