4 March 2020: I am hugely blessed to have gone through such major surgery so easily and to be quite obviously on the mend. Robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery is absolutely magnificent treatment. It is indeed minimally invasive – given that they are cutting out an organ that is deeply buried in a particularly inaccessible part of my body. I am truly grateful for the technology and the remarkable team that cared for me so skilfully.
I am also deeply blessed to be getting so much loving care from so many family and friends. Later today my catheter will be removed. I hope it is going to be like the cherry on top of my first week of recovery.
Mobility is such a blessing! With Colleen by my side I am already able to walk around the longer block above our home, about a kilometre round trip.
Great hospital care
The first few days after surgery passed relatively easily, in a bit of a drug-induced fog. Day 1 was filled with joy to be alive. It is completely miraculous to go to sleep in an operating theatre and wake up alive, with my wife by my bedside and holding my hand.
I was blown away by the quality of care in the Netcare Waterfall City Hospital, such kind people throughout the High Care Unit. And very pleased when an in-house physiotherapist helped me walk and also gave me breathing exercises with the “toy” shown below.
Powerful blowing out and sucking in breath needed to get my lungs working properly after the anaesthetic (photo added later).
Safely home and out walking the very next day
I was amazed that I could already go home just 36 hours after surgery. The doctor encouraged me to walk as much as I liked. On Day 1, it was a big thrill to get out of the car 200 metres from our front gate and literally walk home from there – see photo. Each day since then we have increased the distance and frequency of walking – out in the street at least twice a day.
Pain medication is wonderful
I have been taking strong painkillers every 8 hours this week. They are opioid based. It is no surprise that they can be addictive as they really do induce a pleasant buzz. I really don’t feel much pain. Most of my troubles just wafted out of the window. All the walking seems to help – I haven’t suffered from the constipation that is common after anaesthesia and the drugs.
Hopefully I can wean myself off the drugs over the coming days. Also, I am getting anxious to hear from the doctor later today – I suppose he will give me a report on how the surgery actually went.
Having a catheter (ew!) and surgical stockings is a small price to pay
About the only real hassle is the catheter and urine bag system. It is really weird to be totally out of control of my urine flow. And this pipe just emerges from what was a private part of my body! Not very elegant. During the day I strap the collection bag to my leg. At night I keep the bag in a bucket by the bedside to stop it falling over. I can’t really turn over in bed for fear of ripping the tube from where it disappears into my private parts. I also have to wear tight surgical stockings to prevent blood clotting in my legs. They are itchy and frustrating.
After six days I am sick and tired of the catheter and I can’t wait to be released from these frustrations later today. Overall these are small prices to pay for being healthy and having a good chance of taking out the cancer for good. Robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery is indeed magnificent treatment.
[Editor’s note: read this guest post to learn what it was like to have open (non-laparoscopic) prostate surgery in 2008]