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Cancer: Prostate board


Hi everyone!!!

Just found out that I have prostate cancer. A DRE in a regular checkup led to a visit to a specialist, another DRE then Biopsy, PSA etc. Got results and had discussion with the doc regarding options. I just turned 55, am in pretty good physical condition with no other health issues, we caught the little bugger early, so am going for the surgery option.

Could have gone in for it in July, but waiting for September, as it works out better as far as getting time off from my job, as opposed to going on medical leave. Doc says no big deal to put it off for that short a time.

I do not pretend to be an expert on this disease, all I do is HAVE it. So am relying on the uroligist to give me sound advice and hold up his end of the project. Apparently he is pretty good, for what that is worth....

I have to be fit, well and free enough to sail down to San Francisco from here (Vancouver) to take part in a singlehanded ocean yacht race out to Hawaii, then sail back home again, by next summer, about 6,000 miles all told. I am assuming this will not be a problem...comments???

Any hints regarding post-op recovery would be helpful. Anything pro-active one can do to help it (recovery) along???? Have booked 8 weeks off work for it - hoping the worst will be over by then.....Work is somewhat physical, I run a crane so lots of climbing ladders and changing cables. Is this long enough???

Also, back to the incontinence thing here for a minute....What do you use for diapers/pads??? I know nothing about this.... do they fit in regular clothes or do you need to buy new stuff??? This would be a good idea to do before surgery if required. I live on my own, so how limitied are you in the first few days home after the operation?????

I am sure I will have some more questions as time goes on. Will continue to check in with this forum and as time goes on to be able share my experiences with others.

bye for now....Jim K
[QUOTE=sailorguy;3062775]Hi everyone!!!

Just found out that I have prostate cancer. A DRE in a regular checkup led to a visit to a specialist, another DRE then Biopsy, PSA etc. Got results and had discussion with the doc regarding options. I just turned 55, am in pretty good physical condition with no other health issues, we caught the little bugger early, so am going for the surgery option.

Could have gone in for it in July, but waiting for September, as it works out better as far as getting time off from my job, as opposed to going on medical leave. Doc says no big deal to put it off for that short a time.

I do not pretend to be an expert on this disease, all I do is HAVE it. So am relying on the uroligist to give me sound advice and hold up his end of the project. Apparently he is pretty good, for what that is worth....

I have to be fit, well and free enough to sail down to San Francisco from here (Vancouver) to take part in a singlehanded ocean yacht race out to Hawaii, then sail back home again, by next summer, about 6,000 miles all told. I am assuming this will not be a problem...comments???

Any hints regarding post-op recovery would be helpful. Anything pro-active one can do to help it (recovery) along???? Have booked 8 weeks off work for it - hoping the worst will be over by then.....Work is somewhat physical, I run a crane so lots of climbing ladders and changing cables. Is this long enough???

Also, back to the incontinence thing here for a minute....What do you use for diapers/pads??? I know nothing about this.... do they fit in regular clothes or do you need to buy new stuff??? This would be a good idea to do before surgery if required. I live on my own, so how limitied are you in the first few days home after the operation?????

I am sure I will have some more questions as time goes on. Will continue to check in with this forum and as time goes on to be able share my experiences with others.

bye for now....Jim K

You mentioned "relying on the uroligist to give me sound advice and hold up his end of the project"...

That's the most important advice you'll get because we don't know your condition, HE DOES! Since most of us here on this forum are not urologists and don't know your specific issues, all we can do is share our own personal experiences and wish you the best.

I do heavy labor and quite a bit of outside work. I'm a lineman for the local phone company. I was away from work for 9 weeks but could have gone back at 6 weeks. For guys that do office work and "drive a desk" most of the day my uro says they usually go back to work in 4 weeks.

When it comes to Kegal exercises, I'm lazy and never really got serious about the minor incontinence issues that I have. I still wear a pad (Depends Guards for Men) a day for the minor dribbles that still exist. Not a problem under clothing but you have to wear them with "tightie-whities". Maybe some day I'll consider it important enough to work the Kegal routine and get back to 100 percent. Right now I'm at about 98 percent regarding leaks. Regarding ED, I'm back to my pre-op performance!

You say about your doctor, "Apparently he is pretty good, for what that is worth...."

Good at what?
Part III:

A pillow to hug early on to ease pain in laughing, etc.

A pillow to put between your knees while sleeping on your side

Grab bars in the area of the commode (don't use towel racks for grab bars!)

Have enough easy to prepare food on hand for 2-3 weeks.

Book(s) and Magazines you've been intending to read.

Fresh batteries for your TV remote

A cordless phone and up-to-date phone list

Two dozen inexpensive white washcloths (in a big bundle)

A watch or interval timer to remind you not to stay sitting too long. The small kitchen timers would work for this and to prompt you to get up periodically at night if you need to do so.

An electronic thermometer (about $10) for keeping track of your temperature for a couple weeks postoperatively.

A walking stick may prove to be helpful.

A safety bench (maybe a plastic lawn chair?) for the shower (sometimes you're a little light-headed when you first come home and it's nice to have something to sit on)

A raised seat to put over the toilet (as an alternative, or in addition to, grab bars)

A grabber for picking things up if you drop them so you wouldn't have to bend down

A "toilet seat lifter". I would be inclined to bend a coat hanger into a hook that I could work under the lip and lift, but there are probably commercial step-on type mechanical devices akin to garbage can lid lifters out there. Just use a stick or bend at the knees, keeping the back straight. Heck, just leave the lid up for a few days.

One person indicated his hospital made him wear a pair of anti-embolism stockings the whole time he was there. He bought another pair when he went home and suggests considering doing the same.

Drinking straws - you will want some for the first week.

Plastic cups - they're lighter than glass

Extra pillows - for sitting up in bed and as arm rests at night and for the couch.

A current phone list - one of contact people who must know, one of friends to come visit you, walk, and meals, shop for you. Spread the burden.

Travel bag - like a baby changing bag for when you go out or the keep women's pads in your pocket.

Viva paper towels - to help when wet - they're soft.

Toilet wipes - the first few times they're nice, along with baby wipes for everything.

To deal with the rash and itch consider getting tubes of Desitin and/or Butt Paste, both containing zinc oxide.

What items were nice to have on hand during the hospital stay?

A minor item but useful is a set of headphones and some favorite CDs and a portable player. I didn't realize how loud hospitals are and that would have helped me sleep.

Bring your own pillows and pillow cases to the hospital - even if you have to smuggle them in. It is so much nicer to recover on your own pillows.

One thing I will recommend is to burn a couple of CD's with favorite music. This is a great way to pass the time in the hospital.

If you have the hardware, fill up a MP3 player with your favorite tunes & use headphones to help "drown-out" the hospital noise.

How much time should a caregiver plan to take off from work to stay at home and help out?

My wife took off from work a couple of weeks, so after I came home from the hospital she was still around helping me for slightly over a week.

I suspect he will be glad for a little hovering for the first few days. I would recommend that he have assistance close by and available until the catheter comes out. As he is able to get up and around he will start feeling better.

I took off the week of the surgery and the following week but I could have easily gone back to work the week after the surgery.

I stayed with him at the hospital - believe me they need you.

He will not be bed ridden and can get along fine by himself in 4 or 5 days post-op if not sooner. He will want to nap a lot at first and by the end of the second week be ready to return to work but still need loose fitting pants.

There will be some pain after surgery and those days after are no time to be stupid and macho - enjoy the pain meds for the couple of days in hospital.

My wife was around that first week. She was home all day the first two days and half days after that. Really, I was a little rocky with the first shower and a lot of that had to do with being weak and have to deal with the urine bag. I could dress myself, albeit slowly, from the first day.

WE WERE BOTH RETIRED SO TAKING OFF WAS NOT AN ISSUE. NO MORE THAN TWO WEEKS IF THAT. HE WILL LEARN WHAT HE CAN DO AND WHAT HE CAN NOT DO VERY SOON.

BE THERE. PLAY IT BY EAR - WATCH HIM GETTING UP A FEW TIMES. IF HE DOES NOT NEED HELP THEN FIND A GOOD BOOK. AS FAR AS MEDS, IF HE NEEDS SOMETHING FOR PAIN, HE WELL LET YOU KNOW.

I would have been able to take care of my needs without any help at all times. It would be helpful to have someone around for a couple of days, because getting around was slow and sometimes painful, but I didn't need anyone to "hover", but it was nice to be "spoiled" a little bit.

My wife took off a week after we got home. After a week, I could get up and take care of myself for the day using my rope to get out of bed. It took me about 10 days before I could get my feet up on the bed myself. She helped me at night with showering and getting my stuff together to clean the catheter tube, etc.

Additional tips and information:

Try to get your doctor to write out your prostate cancer post-op prescriptions, so that you can get everything now. Your doctor will probably prescribe Viagra or Cialis, your insurance company won't pay for it: expect to spend several hundred dollars on this until your mojo recovers.

Bring a box of donuts to the nurses station...a little food bribe can go a long way.

I slept a lot. This operation consumed an enormous amount of my stamina. For the first week, I napped every morning and afternoon. But after the first couple of days, I felt competent to attend to all my own needs. Lifting is an issue. I was restricted to 10 pounds for the first month. My wife made sure that anything I needed was where I needed it to be so I wouldn't have to lift.

Walking is the best and only form of exercise he will be allowed for sometime following surgery. It will help him heal. He needs to get his walking muscles into shape before the operation. I was walking over a mile a day with the catheter in. Once it was removed, I quickly got up to 4 miles a day.

He should be doing his Kegel exercises now. They are the one thing that will he can do to help himself regain continence after surgery. I started doing mine about a month before surgery. I could easily do 100 of them the day before surgery.

I was surprised that the emotional shock of the whole process hit me more once I came home and was dealing with the catheter, etc... Sort of a post-traumatic shock. Prior to surgery it was all business. I didn't find the surgery to be all that bad and I had a large one to haul out. I was tired and seemed to feel more discomfort once I started walking a lot. I guess I over worried about the surgery. Friends told me to not think about it or try to visualize the surgery, I found that good advice.

To DO: Weekend before surgery

DINNER AT HIS FAVORITE RESTAURANT. NO KIDS

A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN JUST FOR HIM. AGAIN NO KIDS

SEX AS IF YOU WERE BOTH STILL 24 (or 18) IN A MOTEL ROOM

To DO: Throughout

TALK TO EACH OTHER

HAVE FAITH IN EACH OTHER

Get a haircut and trim your toenails before surgery

Diet plan - coffee is bad for bladder, eat more fruit, less meat, no cheese & bananas while on stool softeners. Diet and supplements are part of permanent recovery plan.

But be sure to get up and walk frequently as it will speed recovery.

Get him UP and WALKING! This is vital for his physical and emotional healing.

If he is doing well he will be walking - I walked around the block the first day out of the hospital, and by the end of a week was walking two to three miles in one stretch per day and up to 8 miles by the second week in one stretch. The exercise really helps.