Usage - This is my personal diary. You may link other web pages to this post, but you may not re-post or reuse this information without written consent from me.
Disclaimer - I am not medical professional. I am describing my experiences in hopes I may help others facing this cancer.
I begin at what I hope is the middle of my story. I want you to know how things have progressed at roughly five weeks after surgery.
Today is November 26, 2020. It is Thanksgiving Day and I am thankful. I am thankful for my wife L., who for four weeks since surgery has managed everything unassisted because I could not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. I am thankful for my son C. who has become the person I always hoped he would be, and then some. I am thankful for friends who check in periodically to make sure I am recovering successfully. I am thankful for both my parents and especially my father, who beat this disease before me and is still with us. I am thankful for the progress I have made in a short time.
I recovered quickly from the robotic surgery discomfort. I have a slight tugging feeling in the abdomen with certain movements and the areas around the incisions are still a bit lumpy under the skin. I also have an ache in the bladder area, which is mostly of no consequence, but more noticeable and uncomfortable at other times. Coughing and sneezing are triggers for increased discomfort, but I have learned to tense the pelvic muscles to negate the discomfort. Walking also helps. Within a week or less after surgery, I was mostly able to sit/stand/get into and out of bed with little discomfort and took a couple Tylenol only at night to ensure sound sleep. I never had debilitating pain.
More on that bladder ache – I think I caused it. There are no instructions for the Depends and the guard pad inserts I am using for incontinence. I experimented with the insert and discovered it is the root of the ache. I was inserting it so that the bottom end of the pad was against the perineum. Apparently, that was the cause of the continued aching. I began attaching the pad closer to the Depends waistband in the front, and the ache is almost totally gone. I suspect this will get better as time advances. if you use the pads in addition to Depends, I suggest experimenting with the pad position.
I restarted my exercise program four weeks after surgery. That program consists mostly of fast walking and weightlifting with dumbbells. I am back to my pre-surgery walking pace of 3+ MPH. I have further to go with my weightlifting, being able to lift roughly 40% of the pre-surgery weight. Pushups are still off the list, as are lower body leg exercises like squats and lunges.
Incontinence is my enemy. It involves bladder leakage during movements that stress the abdominal and pelvic areas. Early in the recovery process, almost any movement caused incontinence and lots of it. It seemed I had no control whatsoever. Lately, it seems bending forward at the waist is the main cause. However, since adjusting the insert pad position, even that has decreased markedly for now. I say for now because the healing has not been a steady improvement. Some days have been better than others.
Kegel exercises are my friend. Kegels involve contracting the pelvic floor muscles to regain continence. I do roughly sixty per day. Thirty are flex and hold for ten seconds. I follow those with quick flexes and releases. I do kegels in various positions – standing, walking, sitting, lying down. I space them throughout the day, doing ten reps of each type at a time. Standing and walking kegels are the toughest.
My general trend is improvement. I try to focus on the good days while monitoring the bad days, to determine if they are also improving. Continuing, overall improvement from week to week is my hope.