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How I returned to bicycling after prostate surgery

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A notation on a desk calendar I saw this morning reminded me that one year ago I took a short ride on a gurney into an operating room to have my cancerous prostate removed.

Looking back, it also was a relatively short road back to bicycling, although at the time I worried whether I would ever be able to sit on a bike saddle again. As it turned out, I was able to ride the 2-day, 200-mile Seattle to Portland bike ride with my son less than 10 months later (here we are with our patches).

In the past year, I occasionally receive e-mails from men who are about to undergo prostate surgery or who have recently undergone the operation. Because they read this blog, they’re interested in how the surgery will affect their bicycling. Here’s how it affected my riding.

Diagnosis

I went in for surgery about six weeks after I received the definitive word that I had cancerous tumors on both sides of my prostate. The tumor had not yet escaped the confines of the prostate, however, and my doctor said removal of the prostate would probably stop the cancer.

He recommended minimally invasive prostatectomy using the da vinci robotic device. Instead of opening my abdomen like a zipper, the procedure required making five small incisions to get at my prostate. Only one incision required stitches (the one in my navel); the others were closed with tape.

Early recovery

Even with the small incisions, my abdomen was plenty sore after the operation. That soon passed, although my navel was tender to the touch for months afterward. There was no scar to heal though, no blood loss. I was walking around the block with my catheter the day I got home and was walking four-mile roundtrips to the shopping center a couple of days later.

A nurse removed the catheter a week after the operation, which made walking much easier and more comfortable. Incontinence wasn’t much of a problem; I wore a pad for a couple of weeks but it stayed dry most of the time.


Any long-time sitting was uncomfortable though. I kept walking, wondering if I would ever get back on my bike.

Back in the saddle

Near the end of October, however, I started riding again. The first ride was about as short as my first walk after returning home — about a half-mile. I stopped 2 or 3 times to readjust my seat — a newly purchased Terry Liberator Y — to find a comfortable spot. I never did find it, but settled on a position slightly forward. About a month later I moved it back to its normal position.

On Oct. 31, I recorded a 5-mile ride. That’s 35 days after my operation. I never stopped riding after that.

In November, I went on 15 bike rides. The average distance was about 11 miles. I see notations like: “A little tender.” “Feel OK.” “Took it easy.” “Picked up pace.” I was avoiding hills when I could and taking it slow.

I rode 21 miles on Nov. 24 (about two months after the operation) at a 13 mph pace, and did a couple of more 20-mile rides in December. All in all, though, most of my rides were slow (12 mph) and short (8 to 10 miles) through the end of the year.

2008

My first 50-mile ride came on a visit to Sacramento in January, four months after my surgery. I bicycled 312 miles that month and have been bicycling that much, or more, every month since.

The pleasure rides turned into training rides when my son and I decided to do the STP on July 12 and 13. By the time that ride rolled around, I had no problems riding the back-to-back centuries, finishing the second century in 6 hours and 15 minutes.

Success

I’m not a bike racer and never was. I rarely even get into the hammerhead mentality of racing anonymous cyclists out on the road. I’d rather match their pace — if I can — and chat with them.

So for me, success isn’t measured in winning races or even hanging onto the peloton. It’s measured in getting the opportunity to ride my bike out in the fresh air.

This is what worked for me:

1. Minimally invasive surgery. I had very little blood loss and could get on my feet the next day. Not for long periods, but I was on my feet. I’ve read and have been told that surgeons using the da vinci procedure can reconnect the bladder to the uretha better so the healing is quicker, causing less incontinence.

2. Post-operative walking. I walked several times a day; not fast to get out of breath but far enough to feel tired. No straining, just easy walking. (Also not much coffee or alcohol, which also helped me retain continence.)

3. Short, easy rides. When I returned to the bicycle, I did short rides. I didn’t go fast or hard. Think of the old lady with the wicker basket on the handlebars. That was me (although not in an upright position).

I did feel discomfort in my urethra after riding at first. But it was still sore anyway, with the stitches and scar tissue.

4. Picking up distance after a month. My early rides, every other day, were pretty short. When I could  ride without feeling much soreness down below, I picked up the distance occasionally.

5. Back to normal bicycling. By the end of January I was feeling fine all the way around. I had no deadlines for bicycling or racing or touring. My only goal was just to be able to get back on the bicycle and ride like the old days.

State of mind

Probably more important than all those recovery techniques was my state of mind during this.

Lance Armstrong’s efforts to increase the visibility of his anti-cancer crusade by returning to professional cycling recently made me think about how I was feeling at the time.

I never felt like a victim. I didn’t wonder why this happened to me; it happens to one-in-six men. Fortunately there was a cure — surgery — and I had insurance coverage to afford it.  (There are other types of surgery and radiation. You decide which is best for you. I just chose what was best for me.) Also, I have a loving and supportive family.

Now, I almost never think about my run-in with prostate cancer when I ride. But if I ever do, it’s only that I feel very happy to be back on the bike again.


See also: Norwegian cyclist, 72, seeks advice about prostate surgery recovery

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2008/09/27/how-i-returned-to-bicycling-after-prostate-surgery/

44 comments

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  1. Joseph Naylor

    Thanks for sharing your story. My recent experience with prostate cancer is is similar to yours. I was fortunate to have a great surgeon perform the DaVinci robotic surgery with very minimal side effects. I was in fairly good shape prior to the surgery which always helps. I was an active cyclists prior the being diagnosed and the biopsy procedure. Its been about 10 weeks since the surgery and I have been aggressively working out running elliptical and weights. I have been afraid to get back on the bike for fear damaging any work that was so sucessfull. I did take a short ride about a week ago (a 3 min trip in the neighborhood). Afterward I was sore and concerned I had made a mistake but was feeling better in a few days.

    What was your experience with beginning to ride and the soreness experienced?

    1. Gene Bisbee

      I’m glad your recovery is going well, and I hope things continue to improve for you as time goes on. Be sure to stay on track with regular doctor visits and PSA tests!

      I do remember being sore for weeks after the surgery, but I don’t think it was made any worse by bicycling, which I started 4 or 5 weeks after the surgery Just sitting in a chair made me sore, as I recall. My first rides were very short, and I spent as much time adjusting my saddle as riding. The soreness should go away as you ride more, but TAKE IT EASY!

  2. Dave Hoeltje

    Gene, great article! It was just the information I was looking for. My first question to my surgeon was not what the surival rate or post surgery issues were but when and if I could ride again. I just bought a 2012 Cannondale Supersix and I was terrified that it would go to waste…lol. The general concensus seems to suggest a 5-6 week hiatus and then slowly easing back into it. I suspect that most of my muscle tone will be lost by that point so slow and short rides should not be a problem.

    Thank you again.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Good luck, Dave. I’m sure you’ll be back on our bike before you know it! I still remember my first decent ride after surgery; I felt like a kid riding away from home for the first time.

  3. Bob Sinche

    After riding for the last 5 years, including a fabulous 3-day rise along the Icefields Parkway in the Canadian Rockies, I am heading to prostate cancer surgery at age 60 and hoping to get back on my bike. Your article is very encouraging. Has anyone found a seat that feels more comfortable after the surgery? Looking back I don’t think my seat did me any favors! Any suggestions? EasySeat? Horseshoe seat? Schwinn No-Pressure? My big riding days are behind me…just want to find comfort so I can continue post-surgery. Thanks.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Good luck on your operation. It sounds like you’ve been keeping yourself fit and that certainly helps with the recovery.
      As for saddles, I switched to a Terry Liberator Y after the surgery and got it tuned in after what seemed like endless adjustments. It’s a touring saddle, so it made for a little more upright bicycling. There’s also a gel version that should be even softer, if that’s a problem.
      There could be many other saddles that would be better, but that’s the one that worked for me.
      Good luck…

      http://www.terrybicycles.com/Saddles/Mens-Endurance

  4. Meredith

    Thanks for sharing the information on your operation.
    My operation was 10-24-2013. Same operation. I am doing GREAT.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Good! Keep on rollin’!

  5. Jerry Z

    Just had my 6 week checkup this morning for prostate removal via DaVinci robotic surgery. When I asked about bike riding my surgeon said “no, no, no, no”. He thought riding a bike this soon after surgery was probably the worst thing I could do. Hopefully when I see him next time he will have better news for me.

  6. Gene Bisbee

    It’s always good to hear from someone recovering from prostate surgery. Let’s hope he allows you back on the bike soon… I’m sure you’re looking forward to pedaling again. In the meantime, take those walks.
    Good luck!

  7. Rich Hoeg

    Green Laser surgery was the ticket for me when an enlarged prostate actually sent me via ambulance to the emergency room. Four weeks after my operation I took my first long ride (2 hours) without a single problem. I would have biked sooner, but the Spring Nordic skiing conditions were the best in years. I actually cross-country skied over 22 miles in one day just 8 days after my operation. Folks reading this blog should definitely research Green Laser surgery. No actually incision is involved, and at least for me the road back to being normal has been very fast.

    I documented everything via my own blog through a series of five posts. I had the same worries as everyone else, but the results have been fantastic. Here is my final post:

    Four Weeks Post Op: Enlarged Prostate Surgery – Bicycling!

  8. Philip

    Thanks for sharing this story. I will have my surgery on June 10, 2013 and have been concerned about riding afterwards. I have a Livestrong friend who I ride with and he has been supporting me with encouragement and weekly 25-30 mile rides. The rides and company have been wonderful for my spirits and have been helping me stay in shape for the surgery. I hope to continue riding asap after surgery. Your blog has given me hope. Thanks!

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Good luck, Philip. Just give everything time and take it slowly. You’ll do great!

  9. rin manns

    I’m looking forward to Da Vinci surgery in April after we shrink my cancer a bit. Thanks for giving some guidance on coming back. I’ve been commuting for years and had worked up to about 100 miles per week before my diagnosis. Winter and reaction to hormone treatment have reduced that dramatically. I am as anxious about returning to cycling as I am the surgery. I depend on my bike to keep my weight down and heart healthy.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  10. Bill Rister

    Gene,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am six days past my Da Vinci surgery. My Gleason score was a 9 and there was originally concern that the cancer had escaped the prostate. However, preliminary frozen sections of the surrounding lymph nodes taken during the operation came back negative. At least initially, what a relief!! I am now beginning to focus on recovery and moving forward.

    Like you, I have started walking, and even after a few days, I find that I can go further without tiring as much. The old adage of “listen to your body” is extremely true in this case. I was questioning when I might expect to get back on my bike and came across your wonderful commentary. I will plan to try a very easy ride in about four-to-five weeks and see what happens. At that point “listen to your butt” should truly control.

    Thank you again for your encouraging words and insightful comments.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      You’re welcome, Bill. Good luck with your recovery. I’m sure you’ll be itching for a ride when the time rolls around!

  11. James Card

    My robotic surgery was February 4, 2014. The cancer was confined to my prostate. Thank God that it didn’t spread. I have 2 more weeks before my six week check. I have been taking it easy but I’m chomping at the bit to climb back onto the saddle and ride. But I’ve learned during the recovery that I must listen to my body. Thanks for your article. It definitely has helped me. Good luck to everyone that has to go through the surgery. Stay positive and listen to your Dr and your body!

  12. Ian McClarron

    Hi, I had robotic surgery a week ago ,The technology now is just fantastic,.
    I have been given the all clear in regard to the cancer being contained within the prostrate but have been informed I was lucky as it was about to spread. One section was a 9 on the Gleeson score.
    I’m 59 Years old and love riding my bike, I only ride for fun and fitness ,and love exploring new bike paths etc.
    I have started walking again, and I’m listening to my body and not pushing it, going further every day.
    I have just ordered a moon saddle for my bike as I’m worried that in a month when I start riding again I may do damage with my old racing type saddle. So I’ll see how that goes.
    Thankyou for your inspiring letter, and great advise. Good luck to all.
    Cheers from Brisbane Australia. Ian.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      I’m glad you had your surgery when you did! I’d be interested in hearing how that moon saddle works for you. Good luck with your recovery…Gene

      1. Ian

        Thanks Gene, I’ll give you an update on the saddle when I start riding again.
        Cheers, Ian.

  13. Ian McClarron

    Hi Gene, its been about 20 days since my surgery and I have just tried out the moon saddle,
    I barely noticed the difference in riding from a normal saddle, except for the lack of pain of course.
    I found that I could ride one handed easily and could probably ride hands free with a little practice. Your weight is on the sit bones and nothing is between your legs so it is pain free.
    The control of the bike feels the same to me.
    I didn’t ride far, I’m as weak as a kitten now and will have to build up my strength again, but it sure was great to be zooming along again.
    Cheers and regards to all, Ian.

  14. Reed Markley

    Hi all,

    I had a green light PVP several years ago. Had to use laser since I am on Coumadin due to lone afib. Tried the saddle I had been using and a couple of others from the local bike shop. All caused urinary bleeding. Did a bit of research, and my urologist agreed with me that the Selle SMP saddles should work. They did. No more bleeding. Expensive but worth it. Have been monitoring PSA, and last one was noticeably higher. Got another one a month later, and will see urologist shortly. When he ordered the PSA redo, the C word was mentioned, as well as radical prostatectomy. My first thought was will I still be able to ride?

    This blog has put that issue to bed. Robotic surgery seems to be the way to go. Has anyone had such good results with regular surgery?

    Can anyone in the northeast US recommend a good surgeon – Boston maybe.

    Good luck to you all-Reed

  15. Klee

    Had my deVinci surgery on 16 June. it’s great and encouraging to see your biking results. I expect to be on my Tour Easy in August. Looking forward to the ride!

  16. Lee

    Had my DaVinci surgery on 16 June. it’s great and encouraging to see your biking results. I expect to be on my Tour Easy in August. Looking forward to the ride!

  17. Jim Din

    Reed, in answer to your q about reg surgey. It all depends on your surgeon. I read for a year and a half on all alternatives. Robotics is fine if your surgeon is well experienced. It takes at the very least 200 surgeries for a doctor to become comptent at it. One tiny mistake and you have incontinence for your life. A good regular urologic surgeon with 1000 surgeries under his belt would be better than a urologist with 100 robotics . The down side on reg surgery is possible long recovery time. Dont be the guy your robotics urologist is practicing on or else he will not get all the cancer and you are then in for radiation. I opted for seeds and radiation at Dattoli clinic in Fl because of the small size of my prostate and that the cancer had gone outside the prpstate, I am free and clear for 2 1/2 years. I chose Dattoli because they only do prostate work and are one of the best in the world. I didn’t want to take any chance and regret it later. Good luck.

  18. John Goddard

    I thought that I would add my experience to this. I had the DaVinci procedure in London a little over seven weeks ago. I was home after a couple of days and back to work after four weeks. I had initially thought that I would be fit enough to return to work sooner than that but I did need all of that recovery time to face my longish commute by train. Since then, my recovery has been swift; I had anticipated a phased return to work but in the event got straight back into it. As for cycling, I tried out a Wattbike in the gym at four weeks; a brief spin up the road on my tourer at six weeks and a couple of 15 milers last weekend, seven weeks after surgery. I haven’t needed to replace the Brooks saddle that I favour but I suspect this must just be the luck of the draw, in fact I think that I had more discomfort cycling after the biopsy. I am now looking forward to building up my fitness and getting some miles in. As far as the Big Project is concerned, I have a post-op PSA test next week which will dictate what further treatment is required; hopefully none!
    Thanks for the information provided here. I found it really encouraging to read prior to the surgery when I was wondering whether I would ever be able to cycle again, and to lose what has become a major of my life was quite gloomy to contemplate. I am sure others had similar thoughts, so chapeau Gene!

    1. Gene Bisbee

      I can understand not being able to take long train rides after the surgery. Sitting is definitely an issue for the first few weeks. Nice that you’re back on the bike! Good luck with your continued recovery!

  19. iain

    Inspiring thread ! As a very keen MTB, road and track cyclist and 48 yrs old its been tough getting diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully bone and MRI scans are normal so going for keyhole prostatectomy in a few weeks. Lots of depressing stories online but this thread is helping with the post op planning of route back to riding.

  20. Earl

    Thanks for posting this. I just had my catheter removed yesterday and am getting twice daily walks in to warm up. Sadly DaVinci was not an option for me and my prostrate was removed via full frontal assault. I have been worried about bike riding since I too experience discomfort when seated for long periods. While I need a little longer to heal due to the invasive surgery I can at least look forward to the start of the Spring riding season. Thanks!

  21. Greg T

    For some additional encouragement, I want to tell avid riders that I underwent DaVinci prostate removal At the end of April 2014. I went into surgery in the best cycling shape of my life. I started walking a bit a day after the surgery, and started walking more after catheter removal a week later. After 2 weeks I started using my Nordic Track ski machine which provided a good endurance workout without having to sit and risk problems. Two months after surgery I started riding again, settling on a Selle Italia Superflow saddle which I have come to really like. By September I was able to repeat as fastest rider in my age group (65+) in a good-sized Gran Fondo, bettering my performace of the previous year. So far this year I have ridden 4,000+ miles and am feeling great and look forward to more competitions.

    My pathology report indicated a Gleason score of 7 (3 + 4), extension outside the prostate capsule, clear margins, and extensive perineural invasion. My latest PSA count last month continues to stay at the zero level ( < .02), initial problems with leakage have disappeared, and sexual function is probably 75% restored.

    1. Rudy

      Hi Greg, I am glad all went well in your recovery, and your enjoying being back on the bike. But I had a question that I haven’t seen mention. After your initial first rides, was there any blood in the urine? I too just had my prostate removed in May 2015 and its going on 12 weeks, so i started riding 10 weeks and after surgery short 5-10 miles and after a 25m ride I noticed some light blood. So I wondered if anyone also experienced this at first and if so will it go away.

      I am 45yr old and I am worried that i just sent my self back a month in recovery. If any one has had a similar experience please comment.

      Thanks

  22. David Flaten

    I had robotic surgery 15 weeks ago to remove my cancerous prostate(25percent) contained to the prostate. I have minimal incontinence and have started 7 1/2 weeks of radiation. My doctor will not allow me to get back the bike. I can run and walk but no bike. Prior to the cancer I was riding close to 70 miles per week.
    Anybody advice or comments you could provide would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    David Flaten

  23. Jetshack

    Thank you. I’m 3 months post surgery (42 yrs old) and want to start riding but was worried that it would be an impossibility.

  24. david flaten

    I had the robotic surgery in March of this year. I started 7 weeks of radiation on as June 22nd. Now that radiation has concluded I want to begin to riding the bike. My problem is incontinence. Is it possible that riding will increase the incontinence level. Also, I did purchase a nose-less saddle.
    Any advice?

  25. Gene Bisbee

    I did not experience any incontinence in the weeks after surgery, but that was probably due to luck rather than anything I did. There are exercises to help control incontinence …

    http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/mens-guide/urinary-incontinence

    I have no idea how bicycling will affect your incontinence. I would think that it might help to tighten the muscles in that area, but I have no real experience with that. Here are some suggestions from road.cc.. http://road.cc/content/forum/74748-urinary-incontinence-how-do-i-ride-now

  26. George

    I am scheduled for a davinci prostatectomy on April 22, 2916, 1 week after the BP MS-150 ride (2 days, 170 miles from Houston to Austin). Accordingly, I should be in good shape at the time of the surgery. I typically ride 60 miles every Saturday. Before diagnosis I had been planning to do the Copper Triangle ride in Colorado in August – which will be 3.5 months after surgery. The ride is 78 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing. Any thoughts on the likelihood that I can still do the ride? I know best case I’m pushing it.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Hey George, it’s always good to hear from someone who plans to return to bicycling after prostate surgery.

      There’s really no way to know how quickly you’ll recover. Some of it depends on your doctor’s expertise. Also how you respond to the surgery and wearing the catheter for a time. I think you’ll know by listening to your body as you start riding again. There’s a lot of plumbing that needs to heal, and I’m sure you don’t want to risk complications in the long run. If you’re unsure as the time for the ride approaches, you can probably sell your registration to someone and just plan to do it next year.

      Either way, good luck.

  27. Don McHose

    Thank you for the information Gene. I needed this. I’m recovering from a davinci prostatectomy , Jan 25th. Cath removed Feb. 8th. I was trying to find any information when I could start wheeling. A quick Google search pulled this up ;-)
    Wife has a Electra cruiser I can try out tomarrow. Incontinence is not much an issue but I am careful when I caugh , laugh , sneeze and ya know dribble .
    Won’t have a follow up PSA till May. Hopefully be fully back at work and back to norm as fast as you. This article is great.
    Don

  28. ROHAN

    Just got diagnosed. Thanks to all for sharing your experiences which are encouraging. You may remember trying to figure out what this will mean to your lifestyle, all while hoping to survive. Very helpful. Thanks again…

  29. Marco

    First, thank you Gene Bisbee for sharing your story! Your first-hand account helped relieve a lot of anxiety while recovering from my own prostatectomy.

    i have been an avid mountain biker for roughly 20 years, riding 2 or 3 times per week with a regular group on Saturdays and solos in between. Then came the diagnosis of prostate cancer. The only warning was a modest, but gradually increasing PSA reading that reached 4.6 last February. The urologist recommended an MRI, which looked suspicious. A follow-up biopsy confirmed cancer within the prostate (Gleason scale 3+4=7). I am 70 years old (but could pass for 55), and otherwise in great shape.

    Different treatment options were discussed, but all things considered, da vinci robotic laparoscopic surgery made the most sense for me. That happened a little over 6 weeks ago in March, 2016. According to the surgeon, all went spectacularly well. Then came recovery. I was not psychologically prepared for it, I think because mainly I was unaware of what to expect in the weeks following surgery. Which is why I am sharing this now.

    I spent only one night in the hospital and was sent home the following afternoon, weak and totally dependent on my wife to prepare meals and run interference for me while I dealt with the foley catheter and changed urine bags around the clock for a week – counting the minutes until the catheter could be removed.

    The catheter was removed on schedule and I was handed a diaper and instructed to be sure to do Kegel exercises twice a day. Naively, instead of going straight home, I accompanied my wife to the grocery store as the diaper got heavier with dribbled urine. I had to change diapers often for most of the week with visions of enduring a lifetime of this while spiraling into despair – which sharpened the pain from my abdominal muscles and referred pain from I don’t know where. The urine flow gradually abated over the weeks. But even as leakage slowed, the feeling of urgency to pee left me deeply distracted.

    A friend sent me an ‘adult coloring book’ along with a set of colored ink gel pens to help pass the time. Coloring in between the lines is NOT my thing, but this gift took my mind off the pain like magic for hours on end – for which I am truly grateful.

    Then the pains abruptly stopped week 4 post-op and I began walking 3 mile circuits around the neighborhood and regaining strength.

    At week 6 post-op, I still leak a little, about 90% recovered from incontinence and without that sense of urgency to constantly pee. The surgeon tells me that I am right on schedule for recovery. Expect to regain full continence at around the 3rd month post-op (with an occasional leak now & then). I guess my expectations for a super quick recovery were unrealistic.

    The good news is that as of week 6 post-op, my PSA is undetectable. As for my sex life (none, post-op) I was prescribed 5 mg daily Cialis on Monday, and woke up with an erection on Thursday. Life looks beautiful once again!

    As for bike riding, the surgeon strongly cautioned me to wait 3 to 6 months post-op before attempting a bike ride. As much as I miss riding, I’m inclined to wait to heal before risking building up unnecessary scar tissue in that sensitive area. The doc also wanted me to increase the Kegel exercise sets from 2 per day to 3 sets per day. I assume they are helping because the old bladder seems to be obeying my commands.

    Finally, the surgeon also urged me to use a noseless saddle once I resume bike riding. Anticipating this, I recently replaced my very comfortable Selle SMP Lite 209 saddle with the ISM Adamo Peak (mountain bike version to the Adamo Road). This is a short-nosed split saddle that allows stable control for the sit bones, and with the saddle moved aft, allows one’s junk to hang off the front. I wont know whether this will really work for me for a few months, but I think it will. Any thoughts?

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Hi Marco… So glad to hear all this prostate business is in the past and you’re making a great recovery.
      I don’t have any experience with a “noseless saddle,” although I have talked with a couple of guys who swear by them. There’s certainly no harm in giving it a try. I’d be interested to know how it works for mountain biking. Good luck!

    2. Jeff

      Marco & Gene,
      Thanks for the stories. I’m 57 and scheduled for da Vinci surgery the middle of June, PSA 9.13 Gleason 3+4 and one 4+4. I road ride 4 days a week about 200 miles each week, 22-24 mph average. The anxiety of the recovery process seems to be formost in my mind and your stories help me understand what to be prepared for after surgery. I have a couple of questions. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for pre-surgery ride routine. Is there any reason to cut back or slow down before surgery? Secondly, I work from home and sit in front of a computer almost all day, how should I prepare for post surgery discomfort and for how long can I expect it? Thanks so much for your input.

  30. Marco

    Hi Jeff,

    You should be okay maintaining your regular riding schedule before surgery up to a day or two before, and then rest a day or two to build up energy reserves. Obviously, try not to crash and injure yourself, but being physically fit helps recovery.

    It would be a good idea to purchase a small supply of Depend Fit-Flex for men underwear. This is in preparation for after the catheter is removed. I recommend buying online through Amazon for convenience and to save embarrassment. I needed these for a couple weeks and then switched over to Depend for men Guards – pads that fit inside your regular cotton briefs. A close friend of mine had the same surgery a couple years ago with the same surgeon. He had no incontinence issues at all. Not me. It has been 7 weeks since my catheter was removed and, although mostly dry, I still have occasional small leaks throughout the day.

    After da vinci surgery one tends to underestimate that prostatectomy is major surgery because the incisions are so small. Just heed your doctor’s instructions. They will want you up and walking soon, but not jogging or weightlifting.

    Stay ahead of the pain with pain medication. There were a few times I forgot to medicate on schedule and experienced random unfocused achiness until hospital strength ibuprofen eased it away. Drink lots of prune juice to keep regular and counteract constipation caused by any opiates you may be taking.

    You will probably not feel like sitting in front of a computer or dinner table or anywhere else for long stretches at a time. I was often more comfortable walking around the house or backyard than sitting in a chair and feeling pressure pushing into my groin. Occasionally shifting weight sideways onto one buttock would help for a while. It was also helpful to focus attention on some mindless project like a coloring book, for example, as a pleasurable distraction. My pain stopped week 4 post-op and I could sit comfortably for long periods at about week 6 post-op.

    Like I said earlier, my expectations for a super-quick recovery were unrealistic. Allow yourself the time to heal. I have to keep reminding myself that I had prostate cancer a few weeks ago, and now I don’t.

    All the best!!!

  31. Brian (Rocketsprocket)

    Thanks to everyone for their helpful and encouraging posts.

    Hope the following adds further encouragement:

    I’m 70 and have been riding about 6,500 miles per year.

    da Vinci surgery on 12 April 2016. Histopathology upgraded stage from T2c to stage T3b (bummer!). Apprehensive but hopeful. Catheter was miserable and kept me mainly housebound for a week. Everything else has been brilliant. In hospital for only one night. Not much pain. Only needed 4 paracetamols in total since discharge. 95% continent on catheter removal and pad free after 3 weeks.

    Walking 4 miles a few days after catheter removal and up to pre-surgery speed about 2 weeks later. In the gym 4 weeks after surgery using weights at about 80% of pre-surgery levels. Very stiff for a few days afterwards but up to about 90% of pre-surgery weights on second gym visit without much stiffness.

    Now for the cycling! Gave the Colnago a deep clean in week 3 and re-taped the bars and changed the saddle from a Fizik Arione to a Selle Italia Flow (with a cut-out). This took hours and was very therapeutic. Perineal area still a bit sensitive, especially when sitting on hard chair, so was apprehensive about getting back on the bike. But did it today, five weeks and five days post op. Really no problem. Mildly sensitive at first then didn’t notice much. Cut out in new saddle helped. Rode 15 hilly miles slower than usual and pleasantly surprised that a little fitness still remained. The real pain comes on in a few weeks when I resume riding with my fellow geriatric ex-racer friends.

    Hints:
    Use a saddle with a cut out and make sure your weight is on your sit bones and not on your perineum. Move the saddle forward a little if necessary to achieve this. NB The Selle Italia Flite Flow works for me but saddles are a very personal choice so I’m not recommending it.
    Avoid potholes! If you cannot avoid a pothole, stand on the pedals so your perineum is not endangered.
    Reduce tyre pressures by about 10% to provide some cushioning.
    Take your doctor’s advice!

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