Working out after surgery

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7269
   Posted 2/17/2010 11:48 AM (GMT -6)   
I have a few questions. I am trying to return to the gym after surgery (1/26/10).
I returned yesterday.
I'm doing some easy treadmill work like 7 laps at 2.5-2.7 mph; I hope eventually to build up slowly to my presurgery level of 10-16 laps at 3.2-3.7 mph. However, I don't want to overdue it. Any suggestions on treadmill work.
Also, I tend to use a variety of the Nautalus type machines. (I don't do any free weights). I know I am advised not to lift over 20 pounds for maybe 6 weeks. I am assuming this also holds for the machines, such as chest press, pectoral fly, arm curl, back extension, and lateral pulldown. So I am not doing ANY of that for the 6 weeks and I plan to gradually return to that after the six weeks. Am I being overly cautious there?

63 years old . PSA-- 3/08--2.90; 8/09--4.01; 11/09--4.19 (Free PSA 24%),  after 45 days on cipro! DREs have always been normal. PCA-3

Biopsy on 11/30/09. 5 out of 12 cores positive. Gleason 4+3. 2 cores were 3+3 (one 5% and the other 30%) on one side. On  other side:2 cores are 4+3 (5%)--1 core 3+4 (30%) no peri-neural invasion. prostate is 45 grams. Stage: T1C.  

Surgery with Dr. Menon at Ford Hospital, 1/26/10. He says all looked good. Spared nerves. Unfortunately: Pathology Report: G 4+3 (65%-35%). Cancer in 15% of gland. Lymph Nodes: Clear.  Perineural Invasion: yes. Seminal Vessical Involvement: No.  Extraprostatic Extension: yes.  Positive Margin: Yes-- focal-- 1 spot .5mm. Final Weight is 52.7 gms. 

 Incontinence: joined that club-- definite leaks—1 pad/day. Night is dry, was  using 1 pad at night for security, but pretty much dispensed with that most nights.

Next Event: First post-op PSA on 3/1/10

James C.
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4463
   Posted 2/17/2010 11:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Yep, you suspect right- no machine work of any kind, except the treadmill. Nothing that will pull, push or strain your innerds (insides), for 6 weeks or whatever your doc says. My doc's regimin was, walk as soon as possible, natural or treadmill, work up as far as I wanted, on flat, not incline, After 2 weeks, could add up to 5 degrees incline. Continue for 6 weeks, at which time I was allowed to begin the bais or simple routines on the machines, slowly building up, at 8 weeks, all limited were removed, and I could continue on at my pace. Discuss this with you doc, or with a knowledgeable fitness trainer and see what they say..
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 110gms.- Path Report: GS 3+3=6 Stg. pT2c, 110gms, margins clear
32 mts: PSA's: .04 each test since surgery, ED Continues-Bimix .3ml PRN or Trimix .15ml PRN

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 2/17/2010 11:59 AM (GMT -6)   

I'm a lot younger but at 3 months I felt well enough to start doing pushups and going for 5 mile walks. I'm now at 5 months and 40 days into doing the p90x workout which is pretty hard core and I have had no surgery related issues so far. I think you will be fine and being cautious will let you slowly get back to where you were before.

Age 40
Pre-op PSA was 5.8 from wellness test on May 19, 09
Follow up test from uro was 4.6 with a 9.3% free psa
Gleason 3+3 in one core, 3+4 in second core of 12 samples taken
Surgery performed August 19th, 09.
One side nerves spared. Nerve graft on other side.
Six weeks incontinence almost over. ED a work in progress but seeing some response.
4 months no longer using pads. ED using trimix with positive response.
Post op October 2nd, 2009 All margins were negative. PSA results in a few days.
Post op pathology 3+4 PT2A NOMO
6 wk PSA .004
4 month PSA .003 12-18-09

mountain man
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/17/2010 12:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I think the recommendations vary by doc and probably by patient too. My doc had me walking ONLY for a month after surgery, but NO restrictions after that (cardio or weights). Same doc did same surgery on a neighbor and had him walking only for 2 months and no weights, golf, skiing, etc for 3-4 mos can't remember (although he was a bit older, 62 I think).
I was back on weights, free and machines, after 6 wks (waited an extra 2 wks) and am back to same weights/reps as before surgery now almost 4 mos out. I did start very light though but built up surprisingly quickly. On the treadmill, I started building in 1-2 minute jogging intervals 3X during a 45 min session. I'm up to three 5 min jogs at 6-7mph in a 45 min 4 mph stiff uphill (5-10%) walk. I'm working out 6 days/wk (4 cardio, 2 weights). Feeling great. I'm a bit of a fanatic (was before PCa too), but makes me feel like I'm doing my part to beat the beast!
Obviously make sure with your doc, whatever you do, but I think the keys are to 1) start slow, and 2) let your body tell you how much and how fast increases should come.
God luck!

age 56 (DX at 55) 
psa 6/09 - 4.0; 1/07 - 1.2
biopsy 8/09 gleason 3+3=6; T1C; 2 of 12 cores (40%/50%)
RRP 10/20/09, B&W/Faulkner Boston, Dr Jim Hu 
path report gleason 3+4=7; T2C NX MX; 1.9 cm & 10%
perineural invasion present
lymphatic invasion present
margins & seminal vesicles negative
lymph nodes not tested
post op psa 11/23/09 - 0.0!
no incontinence after cath removal (confidence pads for 1 wk)
ED complete so far (but some signs of life)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 3172
   Posted 2/17/2010 12:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm convinced that integrating Kegels with other exercises helped accelerate my continence.  Kegel hold-crunch-relax-Kegel relax.  I similarly started cardio workouts while still home from work, and started lifting and core work after 6 weeks.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 2/17/2010 12:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Mel,

After surgery for about 2 months all I did was walk.. I got up to about 5 miles a day. I then started using the elliptical machine (i like it because it doesn't have an impact on my knees) for my aerobic workout..including a 5 mile bike ride and slowly started pumping iron, both free weights and machines. I am now almost back to pre surgery condition..still have to take off 10 pounds. The only thing my uro told me was not to straddle anything...but he never told me how long so 2 months riding both ATV and snowmobile and of course bike with no ill effects. I find physical conditioning as important for my mental well being as my physical well being.

Age 70

PSA 5/2008- 3.6, PSA 7/2009- 6.1, retested 9/2009-5.1.
Biopsy 9/2009. 4 of 12 positive. Gleason 3+4=7
CT and bone scan negative.
Robotic De Vince Surgery 10/29/2009. 1 night in hospital. No pain. Cath out on 11/6
Pathology Report: Gleason score 3+4. Margins slightly involved <.1mm to .25mm. Perineural invasion present, stage pT2c. Tumor 18%. Seminal Vesicle - absent, Lymph Nodes 0 of 6.
Continence- first 4 weeks after cath out Dry at night, rest of time, bladder held nothing. 6-7 pads per day. as of 12/30 no pads most of time. almost dry except for a few drips. I keep doing Kegels.
ED. Started VED on 12/17. 15 min every other day. 20mm cilias twice a week. No sign of life yet.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 2/17/2010 12:38 PM (GMT -6)   
hi i am in harley st london as we speak.had robotic yesterday and physio here says walking only for 3weeks then add any yoga etc .light weights only after 1 month .i asked if i would be able to swim after a month ,she said yes which was great to hear because i couldnt prior to the op .just dont overdo it barry
PSA Aug 07 was 3, Mid 08, 3.5, mid 09, 7.27

First biopsy july 09 - t2a on left . 11 samples taken from 6 blocks. 4 blocks show positive for adenocarcinoma. 1 block 10%, 3 blocks 5%, overall gleason 3 plus 4. No perineural invasion seen. Seminal vesicles clear.

End Oct 2009, bone scan all clear, MRI shows 6mm lesion on bottom left and rest of gland diffused image. Late Nov 2009, a template biopsy of 32 from 20 sites adenocarcinoma, gleason 3 plus 4 at 10 sites; unfortunately spread over both left and right.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 664
   Posted 2/17/2010 12:42 PM (GMT -6)   
I'll comment on something that I can't explain.  My post-op running schedule has been extremely difficult to get back to my pre-op level.  On top of that I continue to struggle with poundage issues, as in, I still have an additional 20 pounds that I didn't have going into surgery.  I have been very active cutting and splitting wood and doing other physical activity and my tolerance with that stuff is back to normal but running is total different subject.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7082
   Posted 2/17/2010 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I had specific written orders - walking encouraged, but no running and absolutely nothing lifted, pushed, or twisted that involved more than five pounds until reviewed and allowed by the doctor. That review came after 12 weeks, and I am still advised not to stress the abdomen unduly until next review in March (surgery was October). He expressly forbade weights and exercise machines (other than treadmill).

James C.
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4463
   Posted 2/17/2010 2:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hero, I know what you're talking about. I eagerly got back into a walking routine for the first few weeks , considered it needed therpy, but my endurance and dedication had really took a hit. I found I had to force myself to keep up the routine and to add to it. I struggled with it for over a year, lack of motivation or endurnace to keep up a goo long exercise period. Was just wiped out after short periods, for months afterwards. I don't know if it was the after effects of the surgery or just laziness and being a year older that made me that way. It's still a struggle, but not as much now.
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 110gms.- Path Report: GS 3+3=6 Stg. pT2c, 110gms, margins clear
32 mts: PSA's: .04 each test since surgery, ED Continues-Bimix .3ml PRN or Trimix .15ml PRN

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 823
   Posted 2/17/2010 4:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mel
Walking will be ok but be careful and not overdo it.  I had a lot of fatigue after surgery especially in the afternoon.  I could tell you when it was 3:00PM without looking at my watch.  At about 6:00PM I would get over it.  You can wear yourself and make yourself sick.  I did it a couple of times.  I was lucky enough to have my wife with me when it happened and she stopped me before I passed out.  Take care of yourself and let us know how you are doing.
age at dx 54 now 57
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
ED is getting better
the shots work great, still can't give them to myself
two years of zero's

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 374
   Posted 2/17/2010 4:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Mel......all I did was walk, walk, walk for the first 4 weeks. I was in 10 mile running shape going into surgery, so at 4 weeks, i was able to do an easy 3, then 4, then 5 ,etc. miles when released to do so. I didn't go back to weights until about the 3 month mark, coincidently the same time my incontinence dried up for good. I too knew when it was about 3PM, because my body just said "time for the couch"....eventually it became 4PM, then 5PM, then......well you get the picture. Take it slowly and gradually, or you could just set yourself back even more. Hell it's long enough w/o setbacks------take care.

Age 56 (biopsy & surgery)
PSA at Diagnosis-3.9
Biposy 8/19/08--4 of 12 cores positive; 5% involvement, Gleason 6 (3+3)
Surgery 1/26/09-DaVinci Robotic Prostatectomy at Presbyterian Medical Center/HUP-Phila, PA
Dr. David Lee
Pathology Report- Adenocarcinoma, no capsular involvement, seminal vesicles clear, lymph nodes clear, negative margins, Gleason 7 (3+4), Stage T2C, NO MX, Prostate 61.8 grams, gland involvement 2-10%
Catheter removed after 8 days, totally dry at 3 months. ED issues continue, Viagra (via ADC) nightly (100mgs), VED use in earnest at 6 months. "Ball Park Frank" plumping at this point......ED at 10 months continues to improve, albeit slowly. Continued daily use of 100mg Viagra (ADC). Discontinued pump use; manual stimulation to varying states of erections; achieved penetratable erection on a couple of occasions
3 month PSA--<0.1
6 month PSA--<0.1
10 month PSA--<0.1

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 121
   Posted 2/17/2010 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I got the do whatever you want after 6 weeks. Before 6 it was walking
Dx'ed 5/08 one core 2%  out of 12  3+3 gleason
DREs all negative
PSA was in the 3-4 range then jumped to 7
I have the enlarged prostate, on the order of 100cc.  After taking Avodart for 3 months  my
PSA was cut in half.
I did Active S for a year but concluded that I didn't want a life
of biopsies and Uro meetings.
DaVinci on 6/24/09  UCI Med Center  Dr Ahlering, long surgery based on size and location
Final was 5% one side all clear, but had a huge 90 grm prostate
Now we work on pee control, ok at night but sitting is a big problem.

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