What is the first day home like?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 10/7/2007 8:51 AM (GMT -6)   

     This may sound a bit strange – what is the first day home from open pc surgery like? 

My surgeon simply said that I won’t be sick, and should not be treated like I was sick.

Will I be limited from doing anything? Will I be in a lot of pain?  What should I expect that first day or two? 




Born 1940 - 67 yo
PSA 6.9 March '07 to 5.1 July '07
Biopsy May 2007
clinical stage T1c
Prostate size 25 by TRUS
Prostate Surgery scheduled for October 12 2007
Gleason 4+4

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 2542
   Posted 10/7/2007 10:11 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey ~ Walt & Diane,


Your question doesn't sound strange at all.... Not knowing is very scary!!  The mind can sure conjure up some "stressful" images...


This posting is a very personal posting and in no way takes away from the way others walked along their path. 


I’ll give you an overview of how Buddy & I feel about having major surgery.  It will definitely differ from most but we are different in many respects to most!  So ~ here goes.  tongue  


Our 1st and foremost thoughts were allowing our bodies to heal and giving the time necessary to do so.  Now ~ I realize with Buddy being retired…  this was an easy thing for us to do.  And not everyone is going to be able to do this.  We gave ourselves 8 weeks recovery rather than the 6 weeks.  Excessive? Yes in many eyes… but not for us!! 


The most important thing for healing is sleep.  And the things we were cautious about were food intake, pain, constipation, and bladder spasms.  After reading Dr. Walsh’s book ~ we had every answer to any question we had.  We read the book together before surgery (except Chapter 12) and after surgery if something happened that alarmed us ~ we went back to the book and it eased our minds…


We went in asking to have a 2 night stay in hospital... We are quite aways from the hospital and live on a gravel road... and felt the extra day there would be good for both of us! 


1st day home… Ahhhh it's nice to be home!!! 

Changed from the leg bag to “Mr. Hang” and then we both laid down for a nice long nap!!!  The wedge pillow was perfect for not having to lay down flat.  It helped when getting ready to get up too!  We had practiced with me standing beside the bed and Buddy holding on to my locked arms as I pulled him to sitting stance.  This worked beautifully and had no strain on his incision area at all.  He is a side sleeper and the wedge pillow kept him on his back.  And Mr. Hang did a wonderful job. We used the big bag 98% of the time.  And would have come home with Mr. Hang (big bag) if we had known what to expect "which we didn't"  :-)  


Medication:  We did take pain medication mainly to allow for the extra sleep and I did not want Buddy to have any pain so I may have given it to him more for me than him!  It worked for us!


Exercise:  1st day home…. his daily routine was walk/eat/sleep/walk/eat/sleep/walk/eat/sleep 

The day we saw blood in the urine with some particles floating around ~ told us he had over-done it a bit in the walking department…this was on a day he decided to walk a little further up the inclined lane… so he went back to his normal route and in a few days he tried the incline again and was fine!!!


Buddy is not a big eater of heavy foods even before surgery so again ~ our routine will differ greatly from other… but hey ~ it might be something you pull from so will continue to share.


Food:  We had lots of chicken noodle soup, crackers, Jell-o, and Gatorade!!  We did not eat any heavy meals for a week (our choice).  Hoping to help with constipation and allow the gases to get out of our system. 


Constipation:  You don’t want to have to deal with this…so start on the stool softeners as soon as your doctor tells you that you can.  This was a scary time because you don’t want to strain.  Your mind can do crazy things at times!!!  And you don’t need the stress that it causes…  so ~ head this off early on!  We did need a stool softener.  The one that worked best for us was not the prescription one!! I went to Wal-Mart and talked with the pharmacist… he suggested… equate natural vegetable laxative and this worked like a charm…     


Bladder Spasms:  We had medication prescribed.  Our doctor said to take them all ~ so we did.  Better to not have one at all.  Rather than have one and then take the medication.  We decided to play it safe.  And this worked for us.


During the 1st Week at home we kept the same routine  ~ walk/eat/sleep/walk/eat/sleep/walk/eat/sleep (a.m/noon/pm) and we continued this through out our recovery weeks but obviously as your strength returns you do a little more.


Your body will heal and your mind will begin to heal from the past many months of “turmoil”… but you must still take precaution not to over do it!  You will feel great and will push it and your body will tell you that you’ve over done it.  Give yourself time to heal and recover.  And the best advice we can share is...

Listen to your body!


I've updated "Our Journey" as of today.... hope you have a chance to see it!

Sending extra strength to wrap around you and Diane as you move forward.

If you find a wobbly stepping-stone ~ just reach out because we are all here for you!!

In Friendship ~ Lee & Buddy


Here's a little rainbow to help you to the other side.....



Post edited to add message to picture ; )

mama bluebird - Lee & Buddy… from North Carolina


v          We invite you to visit our personal thread:  Click Here:  “Our Journey” ~ Sharing is Caring 

April 3, 2006  53 on surgery day

RRP / Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy

PSA 4.6   Gleason  3+3=6    T2a   Confined to Prostate

3rd PSA 08-07-2007 Less than 0.1 Non-Detectable :)

Post Edited (bluebird) : 10/7/2007 1:58:45 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 823
   Posted 10/7/2007 11:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Walt.

I would echo everything Lee and Buddy said. It is important to rest and heal. Walking helps with the constipation but don't overdo it. Gas was more of a problem than anything else the first few days.

Take care


James C.
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4462
   Posted 10/7/2007 11:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Bluebird covered just about everything I experienced, so I have nothing to add.  Even though each person will react differently, I think you can expect about the same as us for the first day or so.  Any differences will come a few days later, as you begin your healing and recovery.  Use the first day or two to regain your equilibrium, let things settle down, evaluate just what condition your body is in, and get a feel for living with your new 'skin'.  You will have healing, maybe a bad day, mostly good days and improvement ahead.  The first day home is the lull before the storm, if there are any.  Just take the time now to adjust to your bodies needs and you will be fine. 

James C. 
Help support the forums so they can support you:  http://www.healingwell.com/donate 
Age 60 
4/19/07   PSA 7.6, referred to Urologist
4/26/07  Urologist prescribes 3 weeks of antibiotics/anti-inflam. due to past history of Prostatis.  DRE- nothing detected but 'gross enlargement"
6/5/07    Recheck of PSA: 6.7, biopsy scheduled.
7/11/07   Biopsy- 16 core samples, ultrasound size of gland around 76 cc. Staging pT2c
7/17/07   Pathlogy report:  3 of 16 cancerous/ 5% involved, left lobe top, center, bottom, Gleason 3/3:6. 
8/3/07     Decision made for conventional RP surgery, scheduled for Sept. 24.
9/24/07  Conventional  Radical Retropubic surgery performed 
9/26/07 Post-op Path Report: Gleason unchanged 3+3=6 Staging pT2c,
Prostate 110 gms, 2.2"x2.2"x1.75"
10/5/07  - Catheter out, no leaks, good control, so far, so good- end of first day
1st PSA scheduled 11/15/07

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 242
   Posted 10/7/2007 11:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I can't add to that great post by Bluebird, Walt, except to say that I felt well enough to take a walk around the block twice when I came home from the hospital. The neighbors couldn't believe what I was doing! However, I did take a long nap afterwards. The most important thing is DON"T over due it. Use a mix of patience and perseverance. I'll say a prayer for your successful outcome. Good luck, stay positive and see you on the other side!
Age: 49
Diagnosed: March 25, 2007
PSA: 3.0
Biopsy: Gleason 6. Five of twelve core samples positive with <5% each. No perineural invasion seen.
DaVinci Surgery: May 21, 2007 at Florida Hospital, Orlando, Florida. Surgery took one hour and 45 minutes. According to my surgeon, everything went textbook and the prostate peeled away nicely.
Post-op Pathology Report: Upgraded to Gleason 7 (3+4), negative margins, negative capsular penetration, negative seminal vesicles, lymph nodes left intact, multifocal perinural invasion, 15% of prosate involving cancer in both lobes.
Continence: Out of the pads at five weeks. Still have some very minor stress incontinence at times but it's not an issue. Still Kegel every day and will continue to do so.
Erections: Yes! With the assistance of Cialis.
1st Post-op PSA: <0.1
2nd Post-op PSA: <0.1
Family history: My Father had his prostate removed at age 67 in 1997 and has had a <0.1 PSA for the past 10 years. I was diagnosed at a much earlier age and had a more agressive cancer than my father. Go figure.

James C.
Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4462
   Posted 10/7/2007 11:48 AM (GMT -6)   
forgot about limitations.  I am restricted to no more than 4 lbs lifting for 4 weeks, then 10 lbs. for 2 weeks, then return to regular routine.  Bodily your restrictions will be catheter and your actions to regain your strength.  Exercise and rest in turn will do you the most good...Your Doc should encouraage early and increasing walking as soon as you get out of the recovery room, and especially at home.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 10/7/2007 6:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Bluebird, Mika, James and JCL.

They gave me what to prepare for the week before and what to expect during my hospital stay, yet nothing about the recovery period at home. In fact the surgeon told us that I was not to be “Treated like a sick person.”

4 pounds to ten pounds that James mentions is similar to what they instructed me upon my release from heart bypass surgery two years ago. It certainly makes sense to me; there should be no need to put undue strain and stress on wounds trying to heal as Bluebird mentions in their journey.


Born 1940 - 67 yo
PSA 6.9 March '07 to 5.1 July '07
Biopsy May 2007
clinical stage T1c
Prostate size 25 by TRUS
Prostate Surgery scheduled for October 12 2007
Gleason 4+4

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 626
   Posted 10/7/2007 7:54 PM (GMT -6)   

I was one of the lucky ones on my first day. My surgery was done at the hospital about two hours from my home so we stayed in a local motel just a few blocks from the hospital just for precautionary reasons. The day after surgery at was released at about 2:00 PM. We went to a Walgreens from there to buy some pads for the next week when the catheter was coming out. I walked around Walgreens without any problems. The we went and checked in. From there we went to a Panera Bread where I got chicken vegetable soup in a bread bowl. This was the first semi solid food I had in 4 days. I thought I would be starving but I could not finish the soup. Back to the motel after that. I had a couple BM's in the hospital and never had any gas pains. We were both wiped out and went to bed at 7:00 PM. I got up after about three hours and took some Tylenol PM and then slept the rest of the night until 7:00 AM the next morning. Got breakfast at the motel and drove home. I got home and felt real good. I took the dog for about a half mile walk then home to relax. I took a nap and then just took it easy. Friends brought over some good chicken stew and that is what I ate for the next couple of days. I had no pain but did have abdomen soreness and took extra strength Tylenol which helped a lot.

That is about it. Just kind of a boring day all in all.

Diagnosed 7/6/06, 1 of 10 core samples, 40%,Stage T1c, Gleason 3+3
Da Vinci on 11/01/06, Catheter out on 11/13/06
56 Years Old
Post Op Path, Gleason 3+3, Approx. 5% of prostate involved
Prostate Confined, margins clear
Undetectable PSA on 12/18/06
No more pads as of 1/13/07
Began injections in April '07
Undetectable PSA on 6/25/07

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 113
   Posted 10/7/2007 8:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Walt: I remember my first day home after open surgery. Took about two hours, by air, to get home from the surgery venue. It was a Saturday, Aug. 5, 06, to be exact. Got home around noon. Assumed the usual position on the couch and watched a little MLB. When we got to the seventh inning stretch, I got up and took a long walk around the neighborhood. Passed a little gas, which felt good. Got back for the ninth inning. After the game, had a little dinner. Took another walk. Passed a little more gas, which felt good again. Watched a little TV. Went to bed. Pretty boring, just like Tamu, don't you think?

Hope you get my point...it's not bad at all.

Tony Crispino
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 8128
   Posted 10/8/2007 12:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Walt,
You'll be just fine. But I'd drag it out. I will be coming up on my 8th month post op and kept it up real well. In fact while while watching a football game this weekend I told my wife that I was leaking one of my sutures and that I still had cath burn and if she could go get me a beer I would feel much better. After I got up and got my beer I limped back in front of the TV and told her the wives here at healingwell were getting beers for their husbands. She bought the whole thing. Sort of.

Seriously though, each day you will feel better until back to normal. I recommend walking as I now walk 4 miles a day and feel great for doing it. Even with the catheter I was walking half mile increments. eventually I was enjoying the walking and am now joined by my neighbor. My wife doen't walk with me, can't imagine why, but she does tell me that she knows how I can add another mile or two on the weekends.

Age 45 (44 when Dx)
Pre-op PSA was 19.8
Surgery on Feb 16, 2007
Post-Op Pathology was poor: Gleason 4+3=7, 4 positive margins, Stage pT3b (Stage III)
HT began in May, '07 with Lupron and Casodex 50mg
IMRT radiation for 38 Treatments ending August 3, '07
My PSA did drop out after surgery to undetectable.  It has not returned and I will continue HT until January '08.
My Life is supported very well by family and friends like you all.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 10/8/2007 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Tamu, SJC and Tony for sharing your detailed descriptions. Because of this thread I increased my walking, doing stairs and kegels this week so I can be better prepared to do it after my surgery.

Born 1940 - 67 yo
PSA 6.9 March '07 to 5.1 July '07
Biopsy May 2007
clinical stage T1c
Prostate size 25 by TRUS
Prostate Surgery scheduled for October 12 2007
Gleason 4+4

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25382
   Posted 12/1/2008 9:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I remember my first day home, after spending 4 nights in hospital. A little scared leaving the hospital, theres a sense of order/security in their routines. The drive home made me nervous, right at rush hour, but wife tried real hard to watch out for all the bumps/pot holes. Got home, so nice to see the old house. After a careful trip up the front walk and steps, she got me settled down in a nice bed with plenty of pillows. I lay on my back, knees propped up with pillows, and took a pain pill. Mostly rested the rest of that day/evening. Had first home cooked meal that evening, didnt feel like eating, but what I did was really good. Many family members came by and visited for short periods, then at last, peace and quiet. Actually slept pretty decent that first night, so made the transition from hospital to home fine. Just my experience.

David in SC

PS Didnt have my first BM after surgery till I had been home 2 days.
Age 56, 56 at DX
PSA 2007 5.8
PSA 7-2008 12.3
PSA 9-2008 14.9
3rd Biopsy 9-2008 Positive
7 of 7 cores positive, ranging from 40 - 90%
2 tumours noted, Gleason 4+3 and 3+4
Periunual Invasion noted & High Grade PIN noted
Open RP surgery completed on Friday, November 14, 2008 at
St. Francis Hospital, Greenville, SC, Dr. Ronald Smith - Surgeon,
Nerve bundles not able to be spared, awaiting pathology report, Cath scheduled to be removed on 12-15-2008, staples removed 11-24-8

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1732
   Posted 12/1/2008 2:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Being treated as if one is sick is counterproductive to the healing process many times. Walking gingerly is no more being sick than managing postoperative pain by taking simple pain medication for a few days might be. Remember, almost all postoperative management is a very, very temporary situation and shoud be treated as a temporary thing. No need to panic and dwell upon a lifetime of pain or whatnot. There is a big difference between acting / being treated like an invalid and taking it easier for a few weeks while the surgical site heals.

If a person "thinks" bad thoughts then he/she tends to act them out as well. Knowing what normal postoperative discomfort is, helps. Yep, surgery does smartz; it sure can. Swelling, bruising, bandages and drains are the norm in intra-abdominal / intra-thorasic surgeries and these things take a bit of time to heal. The best part to me is that we know from nearly every experience on this forum, prostatectomies are difficult surgeries to master but generally well tollerated and men do tend to heal nicely. Good luck to all.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 407
   Posted 12/2/2008 10:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Positive mental attitude helps to overcome a lot of things. I read comments from people who've allowed the cancer to consume them and their lives and to change how they live, negatively. I was one of the lucky ones in that my cancer was caught early and removed quickly - and I've considered the process like I consider having an abcessed tooth removed. I know the cancer is/was more serious, but I really don't think about it much. For me, it's over. Best wishes to all.

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 (getting better, though)

Combination of Cialis and MUSE (alprostadil) three times weekly started 9-27-08

Returned to work 9-29-08 (18-19 days post-op)

PSA test result, post-op, 10/08: 0.0


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