My husband's radical cystectomy experience
I was inspired to share my husband's recent radical cystectomy surgery after reading on this blog about someone else's husband's similar story (except he had a neo-bladder which my husband could not have because of prior radiation treatment for prostate cancer).
My husband (who is 80)was told ahead of time that after this surgery you will feel like you have been hit by a two ton truck and there is the possibility that you may end up with a colostomy bag (temporary but would require a further surgery later: this,thankfully, did not happen. ) This is a long surgery: 8 hours. My husband needed blood transfusions during the surgery and after the surgery because he was anemic due to bleeding from the bladder for more than two weeks prior to the surgery. The surgery creating the Ilial conduit was a success. However what was supposed to be a six night hospital stay ended up being 20 days. He got an infection and needed antibiotics. He had horrible persistent post operative hiccups which happens from abdominal surgeries. A portion of the small bowel is used to create the ilial conduit. He then started getting laryngeal spasms. My niece, a pediatric resident working in another city, had seen this in children, and called my husband's doctor (urology resident) during morning rounds and suggested trying a drug called metoclopramide. It worked. He also needed to have his stomach pumped. He was put on solid food a little too soon. The bowel wasn't working properly yet. It was quite the experience.
Surgery was on November 24th. He has made an amazing recovery. A nurse still comes in 2 days a week to change the bag but that will end soon. He is back to doing his Tai Chi and seems back to his old self. Weakness and fatigue gone. He has adjusted really well to the pouch and is quite capable of changing it himself and all the self-care involved. His followup appointment was three days ago and he received a good report. The only thing that needs improvement still is low hemoglobin but that has moved up and probably an iron supplement to help speed things along. My husband went into the surgery in good shape physically. Be prepared for weight loss. He lost 17lbs! But, he has already gained back 10. I let him eat all the cake he wants!