My Da Vinci Surgery experiences for you to share.

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 10/5/2009 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   

This might get a little lengthy, so you may want to grab a coffee and make yourself comfortable.


At 8:00 am on Tuesday morning of last week, they wheeled me from the pre-op prep room to the operating theatre and my mind was awhirle with all the possibilities.  As we entered the room, my surgeon, Dr. Pautler greeted me and introduced me to Da Vinci. Standing off in the corner of the room, was this large octopus with arms extended down, covered with a large poly sheet. He pointed across the room to the console where he would sit.  I was curious about the bed they transferred me to which had a large foam mattress with large foam points pointing upwards. I asked him what the points were for and then woke up in my hospital room a 3:30 pm. The surgeon and Da Vinci had done their deed and I was past the stage that I had waited seven months for.


It might be interesting to relay my experiences over the next few days after surgery. The room was very nice with a view of a quadrangle between the four wings of the hospital with lots of air conditioning and heating equipment on the roofs. Along the edges of the roof were a group of about a hundred pigeons who periodically, at the call of the leader, took off in unison and swooped and dive bombed down into the quadrangle and eventually repositioned themselves along the roof edges.  They were quite content with this until the periodical visit of a beautiful red tailed hawk, which seemed to command the position of king of the castle.  The pigeons left in rather a hurry whenever the hawk installed himself on vent pipe extending from the roof.  But I digress…………………. Sorry, I will now get back on track here.


It soon became apparent that checking my modesty at the door was quite correct as a couple of nurses descended upon me and prepared all the necessary accoutrements to get me comfortable. This included, but was thankfully not limited to, the inspection of the wound sites and my dangly bits.  Let me rephrase that, my shrivelled dangly bits which will heretofore be referred to as my SDB’s for brevity.  It occurred to me that they at least could have inserted a larger diameter catheter to make a half decent show of it, but again, I digress……………………….. and we must move on.


Nurse Jen was the usual brightly dressed cheery soul who made me feel quite comfortable, but I  must, at this time take a minute to describe her companion, Nurse Ruth. Standing at about five foot nothing and cheerily dressed in a jet black top, jet black pants and jet black shoes, she weighed in at about 140 pounds. Her husky voice was at a “low growl” pitch which matched her attire. With a permanent scowl on her face and shoulder length stringy hair, her posture must be described to you to get the full picture. Her upper abdomen inclined forward from the vertical at approximately 15 degrees while her head then straightened to vertical. The side view from the small of her back down was dead flat. ( the no cheek version ), and she walked with short stubby steps, arms hanging straight down with no swing. Are you forming an image yet? Needless to say I dubbed her Nurse Kong from then on and soon learned that to remain on the good side of her and obtain maximum bang for my buck, I must pour on the sweetness augmented with, perhaps the odd banana.  But I digress……………… and I know you all want to know about the medical stuff.  But before I leave Nurse Kong, I must relate her advice to me upon leaving the room.  In her exact words, “ don’t pull out the catheter or you will trash the surgery and, to get your get out of jail ticket, you need to fart before Wednesday. You should also get some rest”.  With that cheery note, we moved on.  But I digress……………. on the the medical stuff.


I then decided to grab a nap after completing my deep breathing, ankle pump, ankle twists RH, ankle twists LH, ankle extension and ankle pointing up exercises. Just as I drifted off into a nice sleep, I was greeted with what sounded like a low rumbling sound with grating ear piercing scraping noises. It seems that in the continued efforts of the hospital to upgrade the facilities, they were constructing a new fire extinguisher station in the wall right outside my room. The noise was an industrial drill needed to drill through the one inch marble floor covering and the underlying eight inch concrete superstructure for the insertion of water pipes. I soon determined that the drill was operating at low C, and immediately started humming in harmony the song “Windy” in the hope that the floor vibrations and the association with passing gas might get the plumbing moving. This attracted a buzz in the halls which diverted attention from my SDB’s while doing hall laps. This continued for two days from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. That combined with the visits of the nurses every two hours pretty much negated rest, but who was counting on that.  But I digress…………………., on to the good stuff.


I was soon up and walking hall circuits which included  a trip up to the nursing station at the end of the hall and back. Always curious, I continually searched for evidence of vines in the nurses lounge, but was unable to discover any. I soon became known to all in the hall.  I am not sure if that was my continued presence or the fact that in order to push the IV pole and keep the other hand with the IV straight down, I may have occasionally flashed my SDB’s and rear adornments.


Just digressing a bit to SDB’s again, my care staff over my stay in the hospital consisted of seven female nurses, a female physiotherapist for walking and breathing exercises. A female resident Urologist and her female assistant and two female med students with the lone male being Dr. Pautler. It would appear that I was destined to have the SDB inspection entirely by female and made a note to speak to Dr. Pautler about a larger catheter. But I digress again………….. on to the medical stuff.


Food consisted of a liquid diet until I was able to pass gas. There were a plethora of exciting items that landed on my tray including water, apple juice, simulated Jello of assorted mock fruit simulations of flavour, cranberry juice and the main event, cream of whatever soup supplied in rainbow colours to facilitate the use of everyday descriptions, such as cream of celery when in fact, they all tasted alike, a good description being cream of cardboard. Now, jumping ahead a bit, I was treated to two suppositories, one on Wednesday evening, as you may have guessed that there was no passing of gas to this point, and one on Thursday morning.  Both these produced a table spoon sized elimination with a small gas accompaniment.  This resulted in me being upgraded from liquid to mush status in the food department and extended my stay by one day until a real gas event came along.


Thank goodness, that occurred at 3:30 am on Thursday morning, and the mush diet was firmly installed. BY Friday morning, discharge day, I was treated to Special K, my first solid food since the previous Saturday, remembering that Sunday and Monday of pre-op preparation consisted of Citro-Mag for bowel preparation and frequent visits to my new BFF ( best friend forever), the toilet.  But I digress……………  on to the main food event.


As a special treat on Friday for lunch before discharge, I was served comfort food in the form of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Note that the soup is a refined version of cream of whatever with a slightly redder colour. I finished the soup and started on the sandwich. During my first attempt to take a bite, I found myself straining as I pulled the sandwich away from my firmly clamped teeth and quickly did an engineering force calculation which took me over the equivalent of a 10 Lb weight lift that I am forbidden to do. It soon twigged that since my last visit to a hospital in 2007, they had made significant advances in the perfection of rubber toast. It now had a more springy and elastic property that confirmed they were making real progress. Quickly, as my transport was coming to wheel me to the hospital exit for discharge,  I formulated a plan to peel the two pieces of toast apart and use my tongue to extract the melted simulated cheddar cheese spread. This resulted in the toast reverting back to flat and partially cutting off breathing through my nose. ( Does that remind you of anything?) Suffice to say that the final overture in the food extravaganza was a bit of a letdown.  But I digress………….


Thirty minutes later I was discharged and on my way home to Niagara-on-the-Lake and all the creature comforts of home.


I bet your coffee is cold……………………….


Keep well, Regards,


Age 64. Diagnosed with Pca January 2009, PSA 5.6, Gleason 3+3=6, T1c, TRUS biopsies of prostate left adenocarcinoma of prostate involving part of 1/4 biopsy fragments, less than 10% of the surface area involved, CT scan clear. Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy surgery for treatment - September 29/09.  Pre-op PSA down to 5.28 which I atribute to visualization techniques and a new vegetarian diet. Robotic Prostatectomy done 09/29/09, back home 10/02/09.

Post Edited (Modelshipwright) : 10/5/2009 4:08:02 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 10/5/2009 12:36 PM (GMT -6)   
We all appreciate that PCa is a serious subject and deserves our respect, but we also know that humour is a healer. I submitted this whth those thoughts in mind.

Age 64. Diagnosed with Pca January 2009, PSA 5.6, Gleason 3+3=6, T1c, TRUS biopsies of prostate left adenocarcinoma of prostate involving part of 1/4 biopsy fragments, less than 10% of the surface area involved, CT scan clear. Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy surgery for treatment - September 29/09.  Pre-op PSA down to 5.28 which I atribute to visualization techniques and a new vegetarian diet. Robotic Prostatectomy done 09/29/09, back home 10/02/09.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 187
   Posted 10/5/2009 12:47 PM (GMT -6)   
“ don’t pull out the catheter or you will trash the surgery and, to get your get out of jail ticket, you need to fart before Wednesday. You should also get some rest”

I'll make sure tell my husband before he gets into surgery room. smilewinkgrin
husband 55 years young
PSA July 2009 5.5
Diagnosis confirmed Sep 21, 2009
12 Needle Biopsy = 7 clear , 5 postive
<2%, 10%, 25%
Gleason Score (3+3) 6 in all positive cores
stage T1c
May be Surgery, but where? who?

55 and healthy in NJ
Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 10/5/2009 12:57 PM (GMT -6)   

I well remember leaving my dignity at the door. Good luck during catheter week. If you want to compare post-op experiences, check out my journal at


Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 10/5/2009 1:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Bill, great story, loved it and all the details. Are you sure your accounts of these organized pigeons and mystical hawks weren't the product of the every delightful appertif otherwise known as Morphine? I was convinced there were messages embedded in the ceiling tiles over my bed in the hospital room, couldn't understand why no one else could see them.

Glad you are home, sounds like a decent experience, and now you can join us, on the recovery and healing side. It is pretty sad state of affairs, when building up for a crowd pleasing (at least medical staff) fart is the joy of your week and gives you that special sense of accomplishment. about the only time you can really get away with farting with immunity from the normal scorn and shame.

Good luck, brother, and heal well.

David in SC
Age: 57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3
Open RP: 11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Post Surgery  PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Latest: 7/09 met 2 rad. oncl, 7/09 cath #6 - blockage, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 - out  38 days, 9/14/9 - met 3rd rad. oncl.agree to start radiation, mapping on 9/21/9, 9/24 - mtg with uro/surg, 9/29- pre-op, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - suprapubic cath/hard dialation, 10/5 - first treatment IMRT.

Worried Guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3739
   Posted 10/5/2009 2:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome home. I'll bet you didn't just check your modesty at the hospital door - you lost it completely when they took out the walnut. Wait until you start your walks outside with your bag in a bucket and your shirt stained from incision leaks. One of my neighbors saw me walking and asked her husband if I was in a car accident. I figured "who cares?" And you know, I was right. Nobody called the police. Whew.
Relax for a bit and enjoy the pampering. Remember to moan every now and then, and sigh wistfully while looking off in the distance. She'll feel sorry for you - that is very good for men's prostate health.
DX Age 56. First routine PSA test on April 8th: 17.8.
May PSA: 22.6, 3 weeks later: PSA: 23.2.
Biopsy 6/10/09: 7/12 scores positive, Gleason 6=3+3. Bone scan and C/T scan negative.
RP DaVinci -7/21/2009 @ Univ of Roch Medical Center
Left nerve gone, right partial spared.
Catheter removed - 7/31/2009 Pathology report received:
Gleason 3+4=7 Tumor size: 2.5 x 1.8 cm location: both lobes and apex. No Malignancy in Seminal Vesicle, vasa deferentia, lymph nodes 0/13
Extraprostatic extension present; Perineural invasion: present, extensive
Prostate mass 56 grams. Pathologic Stage: pT3aN0MX
Post Surgery Status:
Potency - 9/17 2 months, Still no activity
Incontinence - 8/20 4 full pads per day
. 9/7 3-4 full pads per day (I'm going to try cutting down on fluids. Bad idea. I know.)
9/17 2 months: Still 3 pads per day. At this rate I'll be fine in 2011.
Post Surgery PSA - 9/3 6 weeks - 0.05

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2448
   Posted 10/5/2009 3:12 PM (GMT -6)   

Thank you for the very entertaining recount of your experiences. Those that follow us on HW will surely take great comfort and solace that they can be prepared for almost anything. SBDs are not something that the medical community gives us enough warning about. I am sure that you have equipped a lot of folks with some very interesting questions for their dr.s in the pre-surgery interviews.

Rest well and enjoy the attention of the recovery process.

61 years old
PSA 11/07 3.0
PSA 5/09 6.4
Diagnosis confirmed July 9, 2009
12 Needle Biopsy = 9 clear , 3 postive
<5%, 90%, 40%
Gleason Score (3+4) 7 in all positive cores
CT Organ Scan - negative
Nuclear Bone Scan - Negative

da Vinci 9/17/09 Dr. Mani Menon Henry Ford Medical Institute

Post Surgery Pathology:
Gleason: Changed to (4+3) = 7
Stage: T3a
Tumor Volume 12.5%
Margins: focally positive right posterior mid level
Perineural Invasion: present
Seminal Invasion: absent
Venous Invasion: absent
Angiolymphatic Invasion: absent
Left Internal iliac lymph node: reveals zero
Right Internal lymph node: reveals zero

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 10/5/2009 5:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey David in SC,

The only pain medication I had were two Tylenol three on the evening after the surgery followed by four regular tylenol each on Wedenesday and Thursday. It was and still is an incredibly pain free episode except for the gas pains and cramps. The visions of the pigeons and the hawk were real.

Yup, baby steps on the fart and the first bowel movement. What a relief!

Keep well,

Age 64. Diagnosed with Pca January 2009, PSA 5.6, Gleason 3+3=6, T1c, TRUS biopsies of prostate left adenocarcinoma of prostate involving part of 1/4 biopsy fragments, less than 10% of the surface area involved, CT scan clear. Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy surgery for treatment - September 29/09.  Pre-op PSA down to 5.28 which I atribute to visualization techniques and a new vegetarian diet. Robotic Prostatectomy done 09/29/09, back home 10/02/09.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 12/6/2009 2:52 PM (GMT -6)   

I think but dont know for sure I think you were on the right track looking for vines.I woke up soon after surgery and thought I seen pygmy head shrinkers down by the family jewels.And now I know what they were doing! I must say they are as skilled as any of our doctors.

age 55dx 12-2008,psa at biopsy 8.6
biopsy 12/12 gleason 3+4=7
da vinci surgery 6-09 by DR. John W. Scott (my hero)
Hospital 3 days cath 7days still leaking from cough(bad lungs)
still have ed may be the hormones.
9-09 psa 2.2 hormone inj
10-09 nuclear bone scan no results yet I will have gold markers placed 12-29-09
start rad 1-10-09
organ confined
extracapsular seminal vesicle involvement
lymph node involvement

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 1267
   Posted 12/6/2009 6:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Bill, it sounds like you had a fine time at BGH --- Bowel Gas Hall.

Your account made me glad I was eviscerated at the Royal Alexanrda in Edmonton. No bowel prep the night before --- except don't eat or drink after midnight. Then, when it came time to leave the hospital the next day (not much more we can do for you here except give you a staff infection, seemed to be the thinking) there was one old style nurse who thought a patient should pass gas before they left, but the one I had laughed and said no one ever died from not farting. I was to go home, the hotel in my case, and if my guts weren't working in a few days let them know. And then she said, 'no one ever calls, and no one ever dies. People go when they're ready to go.' I don't know which approach, your hospital's or mine, is the best one medically, but I sure liked the one I had. But, I digress ...... welcome to the happy camper club of the other side and here's to a long life of zeros for you.

Sheldon AKA Sleepless
Age 67 in Apil '09 at news of 4 of 12 cores positive T2B and Gleason 3 + 3 and 5% to 25% PSA 1.5
Re-read of slides in June said Gleason 3 + 4 same four cores 5% to 15%
June 29 daVinci prostatectomy, Dr. Eric Estey, at Royal Alexandra Hospital Edmonton one night stay
Flew home to Winnipeg on July 3 after 5 nights in Ramada Inn  ---  perfect recovery spot!
Catheter out July 9, so far, so good
Final pathology is 3 + 4 Gleason 7, clear margins, clear nodes, T2C, sugeron says report is "excellent"
First post op PSA Sept 09  less than 0.02
PSA on Oct 23 test again less than 0.02
Oct 1st 09 -- dry at night, during day some stress issues, but better every week. 
Feel free to email me at:    

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 12/6/2009 10:59 PM (GMT -6)   

Welcome to the other side. Find your favorite place to sit and relax. Rent alot of movies. You will develop a method for dealing with the new plumbing appendages after a few days. This is an interim stage but one that was a time for reflection and assessing values. I recall my first venture outside on an April morning with my leg strap bag and it rained a serious Spring shower. I loved it and thanked God that I was through surgery and walking in the Spring air. It was almost like a movie, but it was all in my head.

After catheter, then the next stage- continence and pads.  Take it one stage at a time and life starts fitting back together, though with different perspectives.

Best wishes,


Age 55, two teens, very fit cyclist (avg 2000+ miles per year) and weight, diet, etc. consistent with good habits. Stressful job as attorney; very supporting wife who is helping me through every stage of this war.
2006 PSA - 1.5
2007 PSA - 2.3
2008 PSA - 5.3 (18 mos.)
2009 Jan. 20 - Biopsy 12 samples
        Feb 3 Dx 2/12 samples positive, low volume  (5% and 7-10%)
Gleason 3+4, later downgraded by second opinion at Johns-Hopkins to 3+3, but "it's still PCa" as my Doc said.
Laproscopic surgery April 9,  University of KY Medical Center, Lexington, 3 days in hospital, catheter removal April 21.
Pathology: clear margins, no cancer in prostate: told that this is very rare and Doc has only seen it in 3 out of over 1400 cases; I rearched the concept of "vanishing cancer" and found a tumor classification of tP0 and asked Doc if it applied to me. He said that it was unlikely because if a pathologist had done a much more detailed analysis of the tissue, he would likely find more foci somewhere, and biopsy found "needle in the haystack as opposed to the tip of the iceberg"; Nevertheless, it is a blessing;
Regardless of the science, my family says "miracle."
Now working w/ post-surgery issues....

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 215
   Posted 12/7/2009 7:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Well, it all seems like it was quite awhile ago. I have forgotten the unpleasent parts and have focused on recovery for the last 9 weeks. I still snicker every time I think of nurse Kong and the events in the hospital. Laughing is the best medicine.

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