Partial Nephrectomy- recovery and tips please

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Hi All,

Exactly a week ago on Thursday (14thSep) I had my laparoscopic partial nephrectomy done to remove the 7.5cm tumour on my right kidney. I spent a total of 4 nights in hospital, safe to say it was a rollercoaster ride and I think I’m traumatised by it all. Surgery took 6 hours and spent the first night in HDU. I was on PCA Fentanyl which made pain management a dream with a press of a button but of course the side effects of vomiting was absolutely horrendous. Friday afternoon, I was moved to my room and pretty much was out of it until the next day. Saturday was more eventful to say the least. Fentanyl stopped and was moved over to just codeine and paracetamol. I was finally able to get out of bed, move around and sit on the chair for a while. My cathether and drain bag were removed, and I was able to pee pretty immediately after having it out. Then things got a little complicated late afternoon, I ended up with a fever and blood results showed infection and my haemoglobin had decreased massively. This led to being back on IV antibiotics and fluids again, despite finishing on Friday night. I had to have a blood transfusion, 2 bags took about 6 hours to finish and barely sleeping throughout the night due to the constant checks performed throughout the transfusion. At this point, all my veins in both arms were exhausted, with an average of 5-6 attempts daily since Saturday to get blood out before having to call anaesthethists/specialists in to do it. They were taking blood out from arteries, my feet and I was just so done with it. Monday night, I finally got discharged and sent home with some antibiotics. For pain medication, they only advised paracetamol so was surprised i was not given codeine.

I was so happy to be finally home, no more blood tests and I could be in the comforts of my own home. Tuesday, I finally had bowel movement which was such a relief. I’ve been walking in the mornings starting with 10 minutes and increasing it daily. Practicing the stairs, keeping up with the breathing exercises and making sure I walk around the house every hour. Pain is a mixed bag, the first day was fine and yesterday was a nightmare.

I’m really struggling with the bloatedness/trapped gas, did you guys experience this too and do you have any tips on how to make this more manageable? Been trying peppermint tea but doesn’t seem to be the best. Sleeping at night, seems to be an impossible task sometimes, I can only sleep on my back as the side is too painful. I feel like I have to lay still and not move, but this just adds to the stiffness pain. How are you guys dealing with this? Also just in general, do you guys have any other tips for recovery? I’ve been reading other posts in the forum and i feel like i’m doing so little for the time already since surgery.

Thank you all x

  • Hi nice to meet you, I had a partial nephrectomy 22nd Feb this year. Like you I had a few complications. I felt not too bad after my  rrobotic surgery but  the day progressed and the pain relief wore o off I felt much worse. Terrible nausea and pain was off the score sheet. Nothing would touch it. I was seen by the consultant who said I looked a bit pale and the pain was normal. The night was horrific I was shouting out in pain. Was given something to try and knock me out as I was disturbing the other patients. It didn’t work. The next morning a nurse tried to get me out of bed and I fainted. I was taken for a CT scan and I had internal bleeding. It was very serious and I was taken that evening to another hospital for another operation to stop the bleeding. I also had two blood transfusions and was monitored over night with a one to one nurse. After  that episode I started to recover and to cut a long boring story short I went on to recover enough to go on holiday beginning of June to Mexico for two weeks!!! I too had to sleep on my back with pillows either side so my hubby didn’t knock me. It was very uncomfortable and I hardly slept but you will start to recover quickly now your home. I did without codine as it makes you constipated !!! I just rode it out. No lifting for you ! I am now 100% and feel very fit ! Looking at my belly you wouldn’t know I had had any surgery. My 7 incisions have vanished ! I still have a faint colouring where a massive bruise was though ! His knows what they did ha ha ! It looked like I had been stood on ! All of a sudden you will wake up and think, I feel better. It just happens. Eat as well as you can. Plenty of fruit and veg. Eat to heal your body it deserves it ! Take care xx

  • Hi, I agree with the comment about codeine. I've had 4 surgeries, the first of which was a right nephrectomy in 2002. I bought a v-shaped cushion to aid with sleeping and it has been a godsend, even while sat during the day. When it came to my 4th operation last year I was adamant not to to be given codeine and was put on other painkillers. You will get there. Plenty of fluids along with patience and perseverance

    Ormebeau

  • Hi Pinkx

    Just looked at this website yesterday and been looking at the chats going on and saw yours...my circumstances are;

    - Partial nephrectomy on 19.10 at Charing Cross - 4 night stay.

    - A few days later rushed into Hillingdon in excruciating pain - 12 hour wait in A&E. Eventually bluelighted back to Charing - diagnosed with a bleed.

    - Luckily, no further operation needed and bags and bags of drugs went in; 3 further nights in there.

    - Follow up with the surgeon next Thursday at Charing.

    In terms of recovery I'd mention;

    1. Be patient - operation is a major one (I had 5 "entry" points) and is a real trauma to the body.

    2. Sleep - going to bed early and needing an afternoon sleep as well. Tiredness is normal. Like you, I can only sleep on my back at the moment.

    3. Exercise - currently doing a 10 minute walk morning and afternoon. Looking to gradually increase that from next week.

    4. Fluids - drink plenty; not only gets your insides working but, heaven forbid you have to go back in, a hydrated body's veins are easier to access!

    5. Gas - no real issues there...

    6. Food - eat well; classic 5 a day intake.

    7. Pain - there will be good and bad days I'm afraid.

    Hope that helps, and best wishes...

  • They normally prescribe laxido with codein meds