Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Miles from Nowhere, Columbia County, OR
Bikes: 1980 Schwinn World Sport, 1982 Schwinn Super Le Tour, 1984 (?) Univega Single Speed/Fixed conversion, Kogswell G58 fixed gear, 1987 Schwinn Super Sport
This is an email I sent to another BF member on February 19, 2007.
My experience is as follows:
My family Doctor referred me to a Urologist in April, 2006. The Urologist, who was to be my surgeon later, confirmed with a biopsy on June, 29, 2006. I was a Gleason Scale 8 and the cancer was confined to the prostate. I then had a full body bone scan and a MRI to look for signs of metastasis... results were negative. After further consultation with my Brother (a prostate cancer survivor), my Doctors and a Radiation Oncologist, I decided to have a Robotic Radical Prostatectomy and was admitted on October,1 2006.
I had some complications, possibly due to my age (61) and the newness of the procedure and equipment at that hospital. The procedure was supposed to take 5 hours but it took 10. This is not a complaint... It's just the way things worked out for me. I had a fever due to an infection of the drain in my abdomen and some bleeding which was probably caused by my being more receptive to the effects of an anti inflammatory than expected. My blood/oxygen saturation was not up to the desired level. As a result, I was in the hospital for 5 days instead of the normal 1-3 for this procedure.
When I was discharged, I was not allowed to lift more than 4 pounds for the first two weeks. I was allowed to drive and after a couple of days, was making short trips to the store and the mailbox. By the end of the first week, I was walking (very slowly) up to a mile a day. I still had a catheter installed at this time.
Two weeks and 2 days after the surgery, I had the catheter removed and at that time I asked the Doctor when I could begin to get some real exercise, as in gym workouts. He said I could do as much as I felt was prudent but warned me that incontinence would be the limiting factor. The next two weeks was the most trying time so far. The best I can say about it was that things got noticeably better each day but it was still an ordeal I would not want to repeat. It may not be the same for you but be aware that it might.
After the two weeks was up... now it's 4 weeks post surgery... I began some light workouts at the gym. As is my tendency, I over worked myself the first day and had to cut back on the level of effort in order to keep relatively pain free and still make some progress. I was working out twice a week, with 2 days off between workouts. a typical workout was: 15 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical, a reduced weight lifting routine (3 or 4 exercises at 60% of the pre surgery effort and weight), then 15 more minutes on the treadmill etc. I continued at this reduced level until about the first of December and then tried a 20 minute stint on a recumbent stationary bike. Not a good idea. I had significant pain at four of the seven incision sites much, too soon for the abdominal muscles. I took a week off and then went back to the gym workouts as before.
By the end of December, I felt I was ready to ride a real bike. I put on a soft, cushy saddle and hit the road. Pre-surgery, I was riding five times a week... four rides of 15-20 miles and 1 ride of 30-45 miles at an average speed of 15 mph. My first ride after the surgery was 3 miles... a flat out and back at 9 mph. It was plenty for me at that time. Since then, weather permitting, I have been getting out 2 to 3 times a week and ride 12 to 18 miles at 12 mph. I stop and rest my butt every 3 miles for 1-2 minutes. Improvement has been slow but steady and I feel I could ride more if the weather was better. My current goals are a metric century on April 29th and a 40 miler (a Livestrong ride) on September. I feel I will be able to make both of these rides... the biggest obstacle will be losing the weight I have managed to find in front of the TV during my convalescence.
To sum up:
Go slow. Listen to the Doc. Recognize that there will be minor setbacks. Remind yourself that it is easier today than it was yesterday. Try not to get too impatient... folks who have been here before tell me that it will take 9 months to a year to get back to where I was before the surgery.
Since February, there have been further developments.
On March 4th, I went for a 22 mile ride on my road bike (high pressure tires, stiff ride, hard Brooks Pro saddle). I experienced some numbness and soreness of the perineum and took 2 days off from bike riding. On the 6th, I took another 22 mile ride... more soreness and passed some blood. Four hours later I was in the ER with a urinary blockage. I had to have a catheter installed and after a couple of weeks, My Doctor determined that the cause was scar tissue at the site of the surgery and that the bike ride was an additional irritant but not causal. He advised not being so aggressive with the biking, using a softer saddle and using a more upright riding position to put less pressure on the perineum. After a month, I felt I was ready to try the bike again and have been riding my Single Speed MTB. It has soft tires, a soft (Serfas RX) saddle and an upright riding position. I started with an easy 8 mile ride and have worked my way up to 15 miles, as of this week. I stop and rest (off the bike) every three to five miles, for a couple of minutes. So far, all is well and I think I can make my goal of completing the 40 miler in September... the Metric Century this weekend has been scrubbed.
On a positive note, my PSA level remains at zero and my Doctor is quite pleased with that aspect.
Good luck with your surgery and recovery. As you know, my experience will probably not be the same as yours. Just go slow when you get back on the bike and keep your Docs informed of your progress. If you want to discuss this further via PM or email, don't hesitate to get in touch
Last edited by Dogbait; 04-28-07 at 12:32 AM.