Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

A T.U.R.P Experience For Anyone Interested

with 2 comments

Lee TURP Recovery

Its Still Here

Transurethral Resection of the prostate –  Or TURP as it is better known, is a common procedure performed by urologists to improve urinary symptoms that occur as a result of an enlarged prostate restricting the urethra.

In commoners English, it is better known as a RE-BORE (YouTube) and since my latest little adventure, this  is a much more accurate description of the procedure.

For anyone about to undergo this procedure and anxious about it, I can offer the following first hand account of my experience and a few tips that might help. Now how do I start, lets see.

The procedure takes about an hour to 1.5 hours to complete. I was given a mild sedative and an epidural anesthetic and admit to being stressed about being awake during the procedure never having an epidural before.  I needn’t have worried, the epidural was administered with no real drama and the mild sedative had me in the clouds a bit in any case.

During the re-bore I had a sheet between myself and the surgeon so I was not able to see a lot just a bit of an outline on the sheet caused by the backlighting behind the surgeon. It was a little like making a shadow rabbit on a sheet like we did when I was a kid.  Mate I was thinking that this was a breeze, I could only feel a bit of pulling and tugging and no pain at all until finally it was all over. It was only when they were unloading me across to another mobile bed to go to the ward, that I fully appreciated how weird the epidural was.  I had no sensation whatever from the waist down and could not move anything try as I might. This effect was to last approx 2 more hours until slowly restoring feeling back to normal.  I can now appreciate a little on what paraplegia might be like.

The next couple of days recovering were pretty ordinary, with a three way catheter complete with pressure ball hanging off the end of what used to be my dangly bit. (since ADT and this latest bit of treatment it has taken refuge up inside my abdomen with just its head sticking out from time to time looking for an escape) I can attest to the catheter being uncomfortable for its duration and at times it was painful, so much so I was taking pain killers from time to time.  After the procedure and up until the removal of the catheter the bladder is constantly being flushed out by saline bags set on a drip through the three way catheter.

The patient doesn’t feel anything with the flushing it just goes on and out into a bag which is emptied by the nurses regularly and is monitored for blood and blood clots. Mine was pretty clean for most of this time and I think myself lucky.  The hour was approaching when they were to take the god awful catheter out, in my case at midnight on the third night.  Oh, my god it sounds like a celebration (New Years Eve) and I can tell you I was really looking forward to getting rid of that thing, it was driving me insane, it felt like a half inch garden hose, for the sake of Auld Lang Syne.

In the early evening Greg happened to ring to find out how I was getting on and offered the following bits of information. 1) the catheter coming out doesn’t hurt much. 2) the nurses will want you to pee into a bottle a few times after the catheter comes out.  This will hurt and my only advice to you is to push the bottle up into your groin hard enough to create a greater pain which will help.  Well he had one out of two right.  For me the catheter coming out was not a pleasant experience, I felt like I was giving birth to an alien, the top of my head felt like it was getting sucked through but the relief was immense when it was over.  The peeing in the bottle was, as Greg had forewarned and I was grateful for his advice, and as I discovered there is quite a lot of blood and clots in the peeing events over the next few hours, this is normal.

Me checking the tide level

Me checking the tide level

Some Tips for those about to rock.

Take (or purchase ) loose fitting boxer type pyjama pants. (at least 4 pair) and some clean T shirts. These were my pyjamas during my stay, underpants don’t come into it until the catheter comes out.

Bring some pads or pant type pads with you. these will be needed after the catheter is out along with underpants to stabilize the pads. There is quite a bit of blood and clots coming out for a few hours and the pads will help here.  Little peeing accidents are normal in the first few hours and the pads will help here also. The nurses were only supplying me as I was able to ask but sometimes the nurse would not be available for a few minutes and I needed a change straight away so I had my own supply brought in.

Make sure you give yourself a short haircut down below before having the procedure it will give you many advantages. I was not offered this treatment on admission and during the next few days I rued the fact I did not do it myself.   There is ongoing leakage of stuff happening all the time around the section where the catheter enters the uretha and when the catheter finally comes out there is some blood and clot material exiting while peeing.   The poor old dangly bit gets lost among the hairs and they in turn end up glued to said appendage creating some painfull adjustments to be made and hindering good hygene.

Be better prepared than I was by practising the pelvic floor exercises prior to having the procedure done.

Now that this is all over I can advise, that to me it has been a godsend in that I now have an unrestricted flow for the first time in months. There is still a little pain but way better than it was. I am still up a few times in the evening but it is no longer the ordeal it used to be. There is still a control problem happening but I feel this will improve over time. All in all I am glad that the TURP has been successfully completed.

Written by Lee

14 May 2012 at 5:58 am

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this. 3 months later I am still having pain in the area between the anus and scrotum…. very down about it

    Alan Sparrow

    20 October 2012 at 11:29 pm

    • Hey Alan: Not sure if you will receive this as this is an early post of mine and you may not come back to it, but anyway. I had my TURP done in early May and did have some real problems with pain, incontinence and dysuria for quite some time (approx 3 months) It turned out I had contracted bacterial prostatitus which was causing the problems. I continued with antibiotics and the problems have finally subsided into a more manageable state.
      I do not have any pain on urination any more and my flow is pretty good. I still get up throughout the night approx 2/3 times as the overall volume I pee is down on what it used to be. I still have some minor, nuisance incontinence, mostly with dribbles just after a pee or when bending or coughing etc, It is certainly manageable and I use pads mainly when I go out (just in case).

      In hindsight I am thankful I had the TURP as I was in terrible trouble prior to the procedure and although it has taken months for the after effects to settle down I am back to nearly normal and can get back to worrying about the cancer stuff. At this time I am at the Sunshine Coast (QLD) about to start IMRT at Nambour on Monday afternoon and will be here being treated until Christmas.

      Alan I am sorry you are experiencing ongoing pain. You dont mention if you still have urination issues or other symptoms, in 3 months things should be starting to resolve themselves by then. I have pain from time to time around this area and sometimes depending how I am sitting I get a pain like someone has kicked me in the testicles. These pains and dull aches come and go but I have convinced myself they are a result of the hormone therapy I am on preventing the production of testosterone from this area. In my mind the hormone therapy is my monster and responsible for a whole lot of side effects effecting my quality of life but I have to manage these as it is my only defence against the cancer at the moment.

      Lee aka Popeye

      Lee Gallagher

      21 October 2012 at 6:14 am

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