preparing for post-surgical period

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 30
   Posted 2/12/2009 9:33 PM (GMT -6)   
I am going to have robotic surgery in two weeks, and am trying to 
prepare for what happens when i come home after surgery.  I know i 
will have a catheter for a period of time.  What kind of pads and 
pants should i get?  Would appreciate if you would tell me how to 
prepare for this post surgical period.  Do i need to have people close 
by? Thanks for your help.   

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 2/12/2009 10:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Banker, we will be glad when you are on the other side of your treatment choice, then you will be on the healing side. If you want to know more about the catheter time and care, I would be happy to answer any questions directly or through my email, having had 5 in 66 days after surgery, kind of got to know about them.

You need to drink lots of water in particular post surgery, to flush all the toxins out of you, and much easier to do while you are on the catheter. Walking is best exercise you can do for your self, but don't over do it, listen to your body. Whether you have your robotic, or open as I did, your body is still going through major surgery. Give yourself a chance to heal properly in the beginning, and later, you will be thankful for that.

If you need pain meds, and most men with robotic don't seem to need as much or as often, but don't be afraid to take. Healing takes much longer if you are fighting pain, that's a known medical fact. Toughing it out can delay your healing, and of course, make you feel miserable.

I was in the hospital for 4 days after my open, then my wife took a week off to be with me at home, kind of set up a spare bedroom as a mini-hospital room. Might have been a little overkill, but she enjoyed caring for me, as she is a nurse.

As far as pads, etc, very subjective thing. It will depend a lot on how "dry" you are after your catheter is removed, if you read here often ,you will get a million versions of how that works with different men. I am biased toward the real "depends" brand products at first. The guards are great for daytime, just make sure you wear brief style underwear, not boxers, and ones with good leg elastic helps. At night, I found a certain comfort in the depends "pull up" briefs. They fit just like regular briefs, but thicker of course, I found they helped me sleep better not worrying about wetting, even when they were bone dry in the morning.

Sure you will get all kind of good suggestions and answers here, hope we can help you.

David in SC
Age 56, 56 at DX, PSA 7/7 5.8, 7/8 12.3
3rd Biopsy 9/8 Positive 7 of 7 cores pos, 40-90%, Gleason 7
Open RP surgery 11/14/8, Right nerves saved, 4 days hospital, staples out 11/24/8, 5th cath out on 1/19/9
Post-surgery Pathlogy Report:Gleason 3+4=7, pT2c, 42 grm, tumor 20%, Contained in capsular, clear margins, clear lymph nodes 
First PSA Post Surgery   2/9 .05

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 270
   Posted 2/12/2009 10:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I would encourage you to go to "" - this is the website of Dr. Randy Fagin. He has a book available for patients and it tells everything step-by-step. The information or book is available on-line. Now, your doctor may be a little different, but most of the routine is all quite similar, and certainly what to expect and do after surgery is going to be the same. I found the book to be very helpful, and tracked exactly with what happened to me.

I would also tell you that my experience was not that eventful. Sure you have the nuisance of the catheter, and you have to modify your eating habits for a while etc., but for me it was no big deal. Loose cloths, neo-sporin, pads, stool softener, gas-X, tylenol (your doc will probably give you something). Be prepared to take it easy - watch lots of tube, or read. It will pass fast!

Age 61 (now 62)
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
2nd Post PSA <.01 10/30/2008

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4849
   Posted 2/13/2009 4:45 AM (GMT -6)   

Banker – good luck with your surgery. Pardon the pun, but I hope everything comes out OK.


The one thing I wish I had been more prepared for-> in the recovery room and the day in the hospital – I had the proverbial OVERWHELMING urge to want/need to urinate. The meds they’ll give you will help with this, but be prepared.

Age 53   - 5'11"   205lbs
Overall Heath Condition - Good
PSA - July 2007 & Jan 2008 -> 1.3
Biopsy - 03/04/08 -> Gleason 6 
06/25/08 - Da Vinci robotic laparoscopy
Catheter in for five weeks.
Dry after 3 months.
10/03/08 - 1st Quarter PSA -> less then .01
01/16/09 - 2nd Quarter PSA -> less then .01
Surgeon - Keith A. Waguespack, M.D.

James C.
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4463
   Posted 2/13/2009 7:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Here's some links to info and discussions by folks who have gone before.

Tips before surgery:

Shopping List before 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 62
Co-Moderator- Prostate Cancer Forum
4/07 PSA 7.6, referred to Urologist, recheck 6.7
7/07 Biopsy: 3 of 16 PCa, 5% involved, left lobe, GS 3/3=6
9/07 Nerve sparing open RRP- Path Report: GS 3+3=6 Stg. pT2c, 110gms, margins clear
16 mts: ED- 50 mg Viagra 3X week, pump daily,Trimix .35ml 2X week continues
PSA's: .04 each 3 months

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 2/13/2009 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   

Dr. Patel in Orlando, FL gave me a brochure with lots of info. It proved accurate in every detail. It also specified the worst case possible. So, the actual process seemed easier for me. I bought loose fitting tie warm-up pants in Costco for $10 each. Mochasins helped a lot. easy to put on with no bending. I bought lots of men's Depends pads for the day and some of the diapers for the night. I had no pain mostly tenderness. The worst part was the catheter. After it was removed I felt much better. I stayed near the hospital until the catheter was removed which was 6 days  after surgery. I traveled 3 hours by car to the hospital and staying close by made sense. Also the doctors medical staff was near by. I actually went to the office on several occasions for help such as removing the pain pump and tubes after 3 days and having the nurse look as some swelling and redness in the scrotum.


New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 2/13/2009 9:55 AM (GMT -6)   
All the above recommendations are great and I would add one more item that may help.

You'll want to have pants on while at home. To get around the catheter and tube issue, my wife bought me the nylon warm-up pants with the tie up and elastic waist. They also had a small zip up pocket on the side just below the regular pocket. In that pocket she slit the inside pocket lining. When you put the pants on, empty the catheter, fold it once or twice and slip it through the hole in the pocket lining. Be sure to have the tube taped to the side of your leg! With the bag on the outside, there is no problem having pants and walking around.
PSA - 4.3, T1C 
Biopsy - Nov. 17, 2008
2 of 8 cores positive
Gleason Score 3+3=6
Age at surgery - 52
da Vinci method surgery - Jan 22, 2009
Confined, no margins

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 158
   Posted 2/13/2009 10:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello banker , there are alot of simple things you can do , to be prepared, the sweat pants and pads are a good start, personally it is also a medical fact the moe pain meds you ingest,the slower the digestion track gets back to normal, the biggest thing i wanted to comment on is while its a good idea to be fully prepared for a worst  case scenario, the healing of your body is highly phsycological as well ,ive never heard anyone say there is a GOOD chance you will have a better than expected recovery ,the cath for some is NO BIG DEAL but everyone will say it is ,for some it might a little painful  non issue for me personally i went to hollywood blvd. in the rental car (with the wife driving of coarse) 2 days post surgery,went to universal studios the day after that (to walk only) and stayed in l.a. 5 days in a hotel till the cath came out ,then flew home . the "i could care less what other people think attitude" comes in handy with the pad thing, i wore womens panti liners the whole 10 weeks was back to work in 2 weeks as a result of this i have healed remarkably well this doesnt call for short coruse in stupidity ,NO LIFTING} 6 months out all was well and could still out work all my buddies .............just saying its not all a bad story all the time , there are lots of  guys on here who have similar stories, felt i needed to bring that to the surface your gonna be fine my brother myb wife took a week off and helped me out a bit but we mostly went places and rarely hung out at home  ............................................................DIRT

Diagnosed November 2007   (43 years old )
PSA 3.9 / Gleason 6 / TC1 6 cores 1 shows 25%
Sugery scheduled 5/29/08 - City of Hope - Dr. Mark Kawachi
 "First show of the day"
 and now for the new ive been waiting for
 FINAL PATH REPORT:gleason upgraded to 3+4 T2c bilateral disease,tumor involvment 5%
extra prostatic extention:absent
seminal vesical invasion :absent
pathological staging:pTNM pT2 ORGAN CONFINED
margins free of carcinoma
usable erections ;6-6-08 with little blue pill
continence; 1 pad a day, dry at night
continence a non issue at 10weeks

Post Edited (Dirtmover) : 2/13/2009 8:28:31 AM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 2/13/2009 10:52 AM (GMT -6)   


  hey Bank....I'm with Dirt on this. I picked up some new sweat pants to wear the first few days, never put em' on. I just wore regular gym shorts, flip-flops and T-shirts.....taped the cath tube to my leg, put the bag in a nice little canvas shopping type bag and I was walking down the street.

 I did sleep in the recliner for the first three, four days or girlfriend stayed with me for three days....I took one Depends pad with me when I had the cath removed, not a big issue for myself'll do fine.

 While waiting, have some some stuff you really like to do, have a little sex....but above all dont get too anxious about the process(I know that's easy to say, we all for the most part did)

 the waiting game is the do great my brother. Hang in!

  age: 53  Pre-op PSA Feb 08' 5.0, April 08' 4.1
  Biopsy 5.1.08, 5 of 15 cores postive, T2a, Gleason 3+4=7
  DaVinci performed 7.29.08
  Bladder sling installed, umbilical hernia repaired during surgery.
  Path report, "cancer fully contained, margins clear".
  Cath removed 8.8.08, ED therapy begins 8.9.08
  100mg Viagra three times a week, pump for ten minutes daily
  and hold for ten minutes.
  8.16.08 switched to Levitra 20mg, immediate results
  9.15.08 Pad free at night, one thin (light) pad during the day
  9.18.08 1st Post-op PSA Undetectable Zero's....Yes!
  12.22.08 2nd Post-op PSA  Zero's still...
  Pads gone 1.3.09, finally found the courage...Thanks ya'll
          ".....tryin' to reason with hurricane season...."

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 2/13/2009 3:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Banker, forgot to add on my post, if you have probably with bladder spasms, be sure to ask you dr. for ditropan or the generic version, it's cheap, and it works well, many men don't have the spasms, but if you have them bad like I and some others, the med works well and it is dirt cheap to buy.
Age 56, 56 at DX, PSA 7/7 5.8, 7/8 12.3
3rd Biopsy 9/8 Positive 7 of 7 cores pos, 40-90%, Gleason 7
Open RP surgery 11/14/8, Right nerves saved, 4 days hospital, staples out 11/24/8, 5th cath out on 1/19/9
Post-surgery Pathlogy Report:Gleason 3+4=7, pT2c, 42 grm, tumor 20%, Contained in capsular, clear margins, clear lymph nodes 
First PSA Post Surgery   2/9 .05

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 2/13/2009 9:38 PM (GMT -6)   
i am 7 days out on my davinci surgery, some abdominal swelling, is this normal?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 180
   Posted 2/13/2009 10:00 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for joining and asking. You have been given good advice. You will do fine, it will be very uncomfortable for a few days and then you will get used to it. The removeal of the Foley will not be as bad as you will anticipate. You will be fine. Please tell us more about your particular situation.

Best wishes. Scott
Diagnosed @ 48yo 04/07
focal, low volume tumor gleason 6
RRP 07/30/07 robotic
Persistance of PSA
IMRT 11/07-01/08
Emerg, cysto obstructed bladder 01/08
Persistance of PSA
08/08 learned Dr. left significant amount of prostate
12/08 PCA3 negative
12/08 saturation biopsy 36 cores 24 having normal prostate tissue
12/08 referred whole to med malprac attorney

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 30
   Posted 2/14/2009 1:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Banker,
I had my robotic surgery on Feb 4th and got the catheter out yesterday. Prior to my surgery I made sure to do all the chores around the house that I thought would be necessary for the week after the surgery so that I wouldn't have to worry about doing them while recovering, such as emptying the trash, cleaning up the house, etc. Another thing to consider is to put all the heavier items that you think you might need at countertop height so that you don't have to bend over and pick them up off the floor. One other consideration to think about is to keep yourself as healthy as possible before the surgery so that you don't end up having a cold or infection of some kind that causes you to cough or sneeze. You'll find out right away that for the first 3-5 days you won't want to cough at all because of the stress it puts on your abdomimals, so I made extra sure to try to stay away from people who had colds and I used hand sanitizer if I thought I needed to.
For sleeping and sitting I had two old plasticized tablecloths and I put one on the bed and one on the couch where I planned on spending most of my time. I also had two small plastic trash cans and set one by the couch and one by the bed for hanging the catheter bag in so that if it leaked it wouldn't be a problem, but I found out that those bags are very robust and don't leak at all save a drop or two when you empty them.
As for the catheter, this for me was the least enjoyable part of the surgery but it wasn't painful and is generally something just to be endured. Be sure to use the lidocaine jelly they will give you and that will help. When they removed it after 8 days I thought it would hurt but it was virtually a non-event and went quickly and easily, and Oh the relief!
I found it very helpful to have someone around, especially the first few days after surgery. My wife took off from work during that week and made things very easy for me in many different ways. She had also pre-made a giant pot of chicken soup which went down real easy those first few days and cut down on the need for cooking all the time.
I remember well how as the days got closer to the surgery I got more nervous about it, but I tempered that with the knowledge that I had picked what I thought to be the best solution to the cancer that was within me and tried to concentrate on that. I'm sure that you too will get through this just fine, and I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming surgery and recovery.

Age 52
Dx 11-07-08
PSA 3.1
fPSA 26%
1 of 12 cores with 5% adenocarcinoma
11 of 12 cores clear
Gleason grade 3+3=6
Robotic laproscopic surgery 2-4-09
Dr. Garret Matsunaga, Torrance Memorial Hosp.
Free hernia repair! 2 day stay.
Preliminary pathology: upgraded to 3+4=7
Awaiting full pathology report.

Ed C. (Old67)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2461
   Posted 2/14/2009 12:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Banker,
I had my Robotic surgery on Feb 9th and I'm scheduled to have the catheter removed on Tuesday the 17th. I had to take very few pills for bladder spasm the first 2 nights and only one pain killer to relief some colon spasm. The catheter is not painful but certainly not pleasant. You will have the urge to urinate that can disturb your sleep. Make sure you take Colate as a stool softener. My worse experience was sitting on the toilet. It was pulling on the catheter and causing slight bleeding. I ended up buying a riser for the toilet seat to minimize the pulling on the catheter. I started walking a mile2 days after the surgery and increased that every day. I now walk between 2 to 3 miles with no pain at all. I'm looking forward to getting the caheter out in 3 days. Good luck and hope to see hear from you when you are on the other side.
Age: 67
5ft 10 inches 182 lbs
Retired in 2001 and living in Austin TX.
Dx 12/30/08
Robotic surgery performed on Feb 9th
Surgeon: Dr. Randy Fagin, Austin TX.
12 sections tested 2 with cancer
Left Medial Apex 4.0 mm. Gleason score 9 (4+5)
Left Lateral Apex. 2.0 mm Gleason score 8 (4+4)
Negative CT scan and bone scan done on 1/16
PSA 3.5

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 2/14/2009 12:51 PM (GMT -6)   
My brother-in- law loaned me his set of Foyle's War. (WWll mystery series) This provided many hours of high quality entertainment while I recuperated. You will actually be up and walking around very quickly.

You asked about needing someone. Yes for at least two or three days it would be a good idea though probable not absolutely necessary. Good Luck!
Age - 55
2004 PSA 2.7
2008 PSA 5.8
Sept 2008 PSA 5.66
Oct 2008 PSA 6.67
Biopsy on 11/25/2008 cancer found in 10% of one core , gleason 3+3=6
open RRP done on 1/14/2008. Pathology showed 20% of prostate cancerous, gleason 3+3=6, contained in capsule
First post op PSA 2/10/09 - 0.07
As of 2/11/09 down to one or two pads per day

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 123
   Posted 2/14/2009 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
go to the website for John Hopkins ourological department. There is a video on there that takes you though getting to the hospital to when you well be discharged. You may have to look around site to find it but it is very helpful

 3-17- 8 went to Bruce Springsteen concert , great time
3-18-8 routine exam
3-19 doctor called said psa was elevated
what's a psa?
referred to Uro, had several more blood tests.
PSA steady at 4.75
biopsy  June 08 , 12 cores, 4 on left confirmed , right clear
gleason 3 + 3 T1c
research time.
decieded on open RP, Head of Uro  is my Doctor
Surgery done 10-1-8 by Dr See at Frodoret Hospital in Milwaukee
Cathater out 10-13 no problems
Post op,  organ confined, gleason up to 4 + 3, all clear margins
T2c 20% volume, very good outcome I feel
Incontinent and ED.  Time will tell, was told all nerves  saved.
back to work 11-5-8.
Rich man in a poor mans shirt.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 2/14/2009 11:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I found it easier to roll onto my side, then slide my legs over the edge of the bed, then push myself up to a sitting position with my arms, then use my arms to push myself up from the bed.  hurts less then trying to use your abs to get out of bed. 
I found it easier to sit in a office chair with armrests while watching TV, it is easier to get out of a taller office chair because you can push off the armrests than trying to get out of a couch or recliner.
I found it easier to get a toilet chair with armrests that sits over the top of your regular toilet.  it is taller and has the armrests to push yourself off of the toilet. 
do take the stool softeners.  I did not have a BM for 6! days after the RPP, very uncomfortable.  I finally got so desperate I had to use Milk Of Magnesia  (sp?) and it opened the floodgates so to speak. 
when I had to go out I would take a large paper shopping bag and cut a slit in the bottom of the bag to pass the Foley catheter through and carry the catheter inside of the bag so no one could see it as easily.  all that was visible was a short piece of the plastic tubing coming out of the bottom of my sweat pants.  a lot easier than messing with the smaller capacity catheter that you strap to your leg. 
try to keep a sense of humor throughout everything  (the nurses did not seem to find it very amusing when I told them I was in for a Lobotomy when they asked me what operation I was having during the admission process).  I would search out comedies to watch to lift my spirits during the recuperation process.  I must admit I worried too much before the operation and recuperation period as it was not all that bad once it was done and over. 
grab a pillow and hug it if you need to sneeze, cough, or laugh really hard.
do drink plenty of fluids post op to keep yourself hydrated and flush your bladder.  this helps flush out the blood clots and will also help with your BM's.  do moniter the color of your urine, if it is dark, drink more fluids.  I would try and get up and drink 8 to 12 oz of water every hour and walk around a bit.  I read that coffee and sodas irritate your bladder so I stopped drinking them post op.   

205 lbs.
age at diagnosis:  51
diagnosed summer of 08
no symptoms
PSA  4.4
bone scan was normal
Radical Robotic Prostatectomy done with Da Vinci at UCSF on 12/23/08 by Dr. Peter Carroll
catheter removed 1/7/09
my local urologist referred me to a urologist at UCSF for the Da Vanci operation mainly because I had two
mesh panels in lower abdomen due to 2 hernia repairs 12 and 16 years ago
3 weeks post op I get a path report:   
 Your pathology results looked great.  Your final tumor grade was a Gleason 3+3, which was the same as your biospy grade.  The tumor did not extend outside of the prostate and all surgical resecetion margins were negative (meaning no tumor left behind).  The tumor did not involve the seminal vesicles.
Basically, the pathology is about as good as we could have hoped for.

Post Edited (califlostnspace) : 2/14/2009 9:26:50 PM (GMT-7)

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