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a man enjoys playing pickleball

Staying Active During Recovery

In May 2018, I was diagnosed with T2C prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 7 (3+4) and opted for da Vinci robotic surgery to remove my prostate. To start my recovery I spent a week with a Suprapubic Catheter, six incisions sealed by glue and the knowledge that two of the main muscles down below were gone. I prayed the remaining sphincter muscle will work correctly once the catheter is removed.

Leaving surgery optimistic

The good news is that the nurses had me on my feet the evening after my surgery and the next morning. My recovery was underway. I was discharged with the catheter bag strapped to my leg, and a list of don’ts and dos for the next eight weeks. I headed home optimistic.

The recovery begins

I quickly learned that sitting for long periods of time (30-45 minutes) increased my need to pee. The answer for the first week was to stay on my feet, walk around the house. Once the catheter was removed, I then started walking around the block. Each week I increased the distance, aware of my bladder adjusting to a new normal.

As the eight week recovery period ended, the next challenge was jump-starting my golf and Pickleball game. Lifting heavier items around the house caused some anxious moments. I started with the vacuum cleaner, emptying the trash, and pushing/pulling the trash carts to the street.

Getting back to pickleball, bicycling, and golf

I started Pickleball slow. One hour the first day, added thirty minutes the second, and could hardly move the third day as my joints hurt. I limited play to an hour per day for a week, drank lots of water which thankfully didn’t exit my bladder before its time. No runs, no leaks, no errors on the court. Finally, three months later, I was able to abandon the light pad as I had control over my bladder. I got used to driving my golf cart to the courts a half mile away. It dawned on me that I should walk to the courts. Of course, the walk home was a long one after a hard few hours on the court.

Then it hit me. I have a bicycle which is gathering dust in the garage. I started riding and it helped my leg muscles. Also, the ride home was a great cool down. This incremental improvement sped my recovery. I would achieve 6,000-10,000 steps per day and ride for a mile which cleared my brain for writing my book. Exercise clears the brain for thought leadership and led to becoming an author writing articles and publishing a book.

My golf game required patience as I started with my pitching wedge and practiced putting for a couple of weeks. At twelve weeks, I played my first round of golf. The hour drive to meet a friend at the course was worrisome, but I had no incontinence issues.

Meeting the challenges head-on

My surgeon mandated dietary changes were. My wife and I increased the amount of plant-based foods, high in protein: quinoa, hummus, vegetables (instead of crackers) for dipping, and salads daily.

The key to my successful recovery was to meet the challenges head-on, but cautiously at first. I learned from other survivors that setting goals was essential. This is not the time to throw a pity party. Who would want to show up to that?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • sevensix
    6 months ago

    Prostate biopsies enjoy a poor reputation and that need not be the case for any patient. Let preface my comments/experience that are not typical because I have MS with diminished sensation below the waist down to my toes. The rectal ultra sound probe, the second most common complaint was not uncomfortable at all. Of the 14 injections (two anesthetic and 12 needle aspiration)s, only one was felt like a very brief pinch. It is fascinating to observe the procedure on the video screen as samples are quickly withdrawn. Unfortunately, all 12 samples had cancer, some aggressive. A very easy radical DaVinci prostatectomy was performed and, again, painless recovery. I, too, had needlessly feared the biopsy process. The most uncomfortable part was getting positioned on the table. I wish the best for you.

  • hsfj
    6 months ago

    Hello Bob,

    I’m about 4 years older than you (74). I was diagnosed with T1C prostate cancer with the same Gleason score as you. About 2 weeks ago I had a single-port, Davinci surgery to remove my prostate. My subsequent lab tests were all clear. I’ve read your articles and have enjoyed them. My question to you is this: I am still having what I would describe as fatigue with little energy. Prior to surgery, I walked 5 miles every day and have been doing so for years. Did you have a “fatigue” period and if so how long did it last before you felt like really doing something?

  • Bob Tierno moderator author
    6 months ago

    @hsfj, after the 8 week recovery period i started back at Pickleball, cycling, and some golf. I did have afternoon fatique which originally I chalked up to getting up at 430-500A every morning. Surgery is what it is —- a trauma to the body and particularly in the prostate area. I decided to take my time and work my way back to “peak” condition because it’s just too stressful otherwise. The upside is I take a nap in the afternoons. Cheers, Bob Tierno

  • Misiones
    6 months ago

    I was dignose with a tumor in the prostate they going to do a biosy my prostate is enlarge and i had traces of blood in my urine.i dont know what to do everybody saids that a biosy is a painful test could get infection is there another waybesides an biosy.im very confuse and have alots of stress dont know what to do anymore i need help.

  • Bob Tierno moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi Misiones, you are not alone and a biopsy is a necessary step in diagnosing prostate cancer. I would describe it as uncomforable . Your urologtist should explain every step of the procedure which shouldn’t take more than 12-15 minutes. If you need a calming medication ask for it prior to the procedure (as in when it’s booked). I wish you the best on your journey. Cheers,Bob Tierno

  • Richard Faust moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi Misiones. The stress you are feeling at facing a biopsy is understandable, but know that many, many men undergo them without a problem. In this article several of our community members talk about their experiences: https://prostatecancer.net/living/what-biopsy-like/. There is a risk of infection and this article looks at this risk, along steps to mitigate the risks and alternatives to the biopsy: https://prostatecancer.net/living/infection-prostate-biopsy/. Finally, your doctor should be able to walk you through the biopsy and what next steps may be. Wishing you the best and know that you are welcome here for information and support. Best, Richard (ProstateCancer.net Team)

  • Bob Tierno moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi Misiones, you are not alone and a biopsy is a necessary step in diagnosing prostate cancer. I would describe it as uncomforable . Your urologtist should explain every step of the procedure which shouldn’t take more than 12-15 minutes. If you need a calming medication ask for it prior to the procedure (as in when it’s booked). I wish you the best on your journey. Cheers,Bob Tierno

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