My October 29 da Vinci Experience

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 121
   Posted 11/6/2010 9:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I know everyone's experience is different, but I wanted to share mine so those who are "looking forward" to treatment will have an idea of what to expect. My surgeons, team of two, each have 700+ da Vinci prostatectomies, so my confidence was(is) high.

Last Friday (10/29) I was subjected to robotic "slice and dice." When first wheeled into the operating room, I couldn't help but think I'd been abducted by aliens. What was expected to be a 3-4 hour session was finished in less than 3. Doctor didn't have to perform some of the contingent procedures, such as bladder lifting. Nerves and lymph nodes were also preserved.

I felt pretty good Friday night and was encouraged to walk. No problem I thought. Nurse on one side and my adult son on the other. I felt like a weeble. Made it around the hospital "circuit" but was exhausted afterward. Each subsequent walk was easier and longer.

Was expecting to be released Saturday, but developed a low grade fever and was kept a second night. about 1:30 AM Sunday, I woke up and felt the need to walk. It was very quiet on the ward, the lights were dimmed and the nurses were minding their own business at their station. Being it was then Halloween, I thought they'd appreciate my zombie imitation. I came around the corner dragging one foot and my "special bag" and one arm stretched out ahead of me. Must have made an impression because I was expelled first thing the following morning.

I have arthritis, so sleeping on my back all night has been a little difficult, especially after I slacked off on the pain pills. Sleeping with a plastic bag and the associated tubing wasn't too much fun either. I was prescribed Lovenox injected as a blood thinner. My wife, who's never done anything like this before, has been giving me daily shots in my stomach. She was apparently taught well by the hospital nurse, because it's been virtually painless for me.

Yesterday (11/5) morning I was subjected to a cystogram. They filled my bladder with some ice cold solution and then with my bladder full, asked me to move around on a table. When finished, they drain the stuff back into the bottle in preparation for the next guy. I must have done something right because the radiologist commented "perfect" and told me I'd likely be rewarded by having my catheter removed. Oh happy day!

Then met with urologist/surgeon and, as "promised" had catheter removed. Holy moly, glad I was asleep during the insertion. It wasn't really painful, felt more like urinating at 100 psi for 1-2 seconds.

Incisions are healing as expected. Pain is very manageable with minimum medication. Pathology report indicated both sides of the prostrate were effected. (Gleason 6) No sign of any cancer outside the prostate. Was given some instructions on going forward with a follow up visit in December.

During the past week the greatest challenge has been bowel regularity. I guess the intestines are among the last to start functioning again after the surgery and all pre-surgical liquid diet. Walking was very helpful and I found it to be easier with each passing day. As mentioned, the other big challenge was the catheter. I compare it to a ball and chain. Mr. Happy frowns when it gets pulled on. End of my urethra was irritated, so I found applying Neosporin helpful as a medication and a lubricant. Hats off to those who have them for extended periods.

Update:  12/14, PSA "undetectable" and doctor removed restrictions, with a note of caution about strenuous activities.

Age 61, Diagnosed July 2010
PSA 04/09 - 2.5; 05/10 - 3.7; 07/10 - 4.7
DRE and Ultrasound - Negative
Size at biopsy - 32 grams
T1C, 3+3=6, 1 core of 12 60% positive

Age 61, Diagnosed July 2010
PSA 04/09 - 2.5; 05/10 - 3.7; 07/10 - 4.7
DRE and Ultrasound - Negative
Size at biopsy - 32 grams
T1C, 3+3=6, 1 core of 12 60% positive
da Vinci 10/29/10
Post op biopsy indicated bilateral Gleason 6 tumors
Continent 90%
Minor ED - 85% naturally, 95% with Cialis
6 week PSA < 0.1

Post Edited (Pocketman) : 12/15/2010 11:17:08 AM (GMT-7)

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 11/6/2010 9:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Sounds like you had a pretty decent and uneventful robot experience, except for the fever and extra day in the hospital

Sounds like a good pathology report too, good luck during the rest of your recovery

Best advice: listen to your body!

david in sc
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos marg
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06 11/10 Not taking it
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/23/10

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 3892
   Posted 11/6/2010 10:15 AM (GMT -6)   
And walk as much as you can! It will really get your bowels functioning correctly again! It will take a while before you begin having "normal" movements...

Ed C. (Old67)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2461
   Posted 11/6/2010 1:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Walk, walk and walk some more. Good news overall, welcome to the other side.
Age: 67 at Dx on 12/30/08 PSA 3.8
2 cores out of 12 were positive Gleason (4+4)
Davinci surgery 2/9/09 Gleason 4+4 EPE,
Margins clear, nerve bundles removed
Prostate weighed 57 grams 10-20% involved
all PSA tests since (2, 5, 8, 11, 15, 18 months) undetectable
Latest PSA test (21 months) .005

2 time survivor
New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/6/2010 1:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Congratulations on the good report! I had RRP on Oct 12th went home on the 13th. Had my first cystogram on the 26th and my second on the second of Nov. Finally got the catheter out on the second of november. Not fun, but feeling a lot better now. Took a while for things to start "moving" normally, but eventually.... Hang in there.
Age: 61

Gleason score 3 + 3
PSA 9.6

DaVinci RRP 10/12/10 contained, clear margins,Both nerve bundles spared
5 yr survivor of vocal chord cancer

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 818
   Posted 11/6/2010 2:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome back and congratulations on the good report. By the way, having been awake for insertion, I can tell you that the catheter is easier going in than coming out. Reminds me of something Bart Simpson would say.

Diagnosis at 53. PSA 2007 about 2; 2008 4.3
Biopsy Sept 2008: 6 of 12 cores pos; Gleason 4+3 = 7
CT & Bone scan neg
Da Vinci at City of Hope Dec 8, 2008
Rad prostatectomy & lymph node dissection
Cath out on 7th day, in on 8th day, out again 14th day after neg cystogram
Path: pT2c; lymph nodes neg; margins involv; 41 grams,
PSA 1/08, 4/09,7/09, 10/09, 11/09,2/10 <0.01, 10/10 0.1

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 121
   Posted 11/6/2010 2:44 PM (GMT -6)   
DJBearGuy said...
... catheter is easier going in than coming out.

Thanks DJ - I'm hoping I don't have to have another, but I am a bit comforted by your info.

2 time survivor said...
... Took a while for things to start "moving" normally, but eventually.... Hang in there.

I assumed as much Ed. I need to be patient and listen to my body as Purgatory mentioned. Patience is not my strong suit. I'm feeling so much better that I expect it all to be magically "normal."

Day two - 98% continent. No overnight leakage. Bladder and stream seem a bit weak, but overall the plumbing seems to be working.
Age 61, Diagnosed July 2010
PSA 04/09 - 2.5; 05/10 - 3.7; 07/10 - 4.7
DRE and Ultrasound - Negative
Size at biopsy - 32 grams
T1C, 3+3=6, 1 core of 12 60% positive

Cajun Jeff
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4119
   Posted 11/6/2010 8:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Pocketman your post will be of help to the new guys that are facing the alien! Thanks for being a trooper on HW...Welcome to the other side.

Cajun Jeff
9/08 PSA 5.4 referred to Urologist
9/08 Biopsy: GS 3+4=7 1 positive core in 12 1% cancer core
10/08 Nerve-Sparing open radicalSurgery Path Report Downgrade 3+3=6 GS Stage pT2c margins clea
r3 month: PSA <0.1
19th month: PSA <0.1
Only issue at this time is ED

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 2680
   Posted 11/6/2010 9:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Congratulations on the successful surgery and the good reports.  Thanks also for the interesting narrative.  No leaking overnight is a really good sign.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 664
   Posted 11/6/2010 10:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Best of luck...however i must ask about your statement (lymph nodes were also preserved)> I wanted as many as could be safely collected (14 was what the surgical team collected) this may have added an hour to my surgery, however it gives me some peace of mind.
Age 51 PSA 6.8
Bxy 10 of 12 Cores positive for Gleason 6. up to 75%
Robotic surg 11-02-09
Post op path. 20% neoplasm;4+3=7 Gleason
All nodes (14) and other related tissue negative for cancer
Post op PSA x 3, all <0.01
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