Terry’s Healing Blog, Part 4: Recovery

Well the surgery is over, and I am in the recovery phase!

Let me back up a bit…

Before Surgery

It’s been a while, and a lot has happened. I saw Dr. Peter Carroll at UCSF, who confirmed the severity of the cancer and suggested surgery as an intervention. One good piece of news was the improvement in my PSA from a 10.1 to a 7. The reduction was a result of the aggressive use of supplements. I have been very good at being consistent with those, so the results were expected.

I have a belief that focusing on healing facilitates healing because it makes the unconscious organize behavior in pursuit of what I am focused on. To make that focus even more powerful, I have participated in meditation and hypnosis. That process makes it even easier to continue focusing on healing. I used the meditation time to decide on my options for surgery.

I decided to have robotic surgery at the VA because I knew I needed the surgery and wanted to be close to family. A sense of relief came from making that decision. Since then I have been seeing a health coach who has helped me to make meaning of my illness. My beliefs about symptoms are framed around the idea that symptoms are communications for needed actions.

“It’s interesting that my response to this illness is to use it as an opportunity to make choices about what is most important. I have really been able to spend quality time in the aftershocks of this entire experience.”

One of the best experiences has been my ability to open up to my friends and family and ask for support and help. Of course this has led to more closeness and, not surprisingly, a willingness to share even more.

Surgery and Hospitalization

I had a da Vinci® radical prostatectomy with robotic surgery, which meant smaller incisions and more rapid healing. I was up and walking, slowly, 10 hours after my surgery. I had a catheter for the next seven days so my bladder could drain.

While in the hospital I had a chance to work because currently we (Patient Success Systems) are involved in a project to help doctors improve their patient satisfaction scores. This is a big deal in the medical industry because these scores will affect future reimbursements from Medicare and possibly other insurers. The work we are doing is more specifically focused on patient-centered care. As the name implies, the patient is actively involved in the process.

Well, if I were scoring my providers, they would not have done well. There is an active push to make patient-centered care more successful, but it will require hospitals and medical providers to examine and likely change some of their ideas about how care is administered in hospital settings.

You may be wondering why did they not do well. For starters, they often ignored my wife, as though she were not present. Also, communication between doctors and nurses was poor, which meant that I was either not informed or misinformed. I did my best to be a good patient in the sense that I cooperated in my recovery, asked questions when I did not understand, and made sure that my concerns were at least acknowledged.

So, what went well? Well the care I received was quite good. My needs were responded to in a timely fashion, and when I requested something, attempts were made to get it.

Back Home

When I was discharged my follow up was not set up well, and so as soon as I was home, I needed to advocate for my care. One discovery I made was that patient care is often set up for the ease of the medical system, not what is best for the patient.

The risk management procedures hospitals have in place can be frustrating and may not make any sense… unless you understand that the fear of legal issues has made many decisions that ought to be reasonable stupid. An example: for the operation I was held upside down on a platform, so there were some weird, painful side effects like dry eyes. So I asked for eye drops. Nope, I couldn’t have them until the doctor approved the order. I could tell the nurse was almost as frustrated as I was. Of course when the doctor came in next morning, the order was given and I received the drops. My wife was about to go to the drugstore to get them.

There were similar crazy issues involving food. The doctor told me I could have solid (bland) food, but the staff wouldn’t get it for me because the orders were not in, so Beth went to the cafeteria to get food for me.

I think the main idea I want to leave you with is that you need to be proactive and informed when you are in a hospital. You need a friend or a family member there advocating for you. Expect confusion, advocate for what you want strongly, and always ask questions until you get answers that make sense.

I had a follow-up meeting with my surgeon (and I had to work the system to get it) during which the catheter was removed in time for Christmas (LOL). During that meeting he shared the results of the pathology report. (Once removed, the prostate had been sent off for further evaluation.) The final report found that the cancer was not as bad as thought; it was less severe and had not spread outside the prostrate.

All the work I did certainly contributed to the final results, I am sure.

I have thanked all the healers who worked with me. I truly did have a healing team.


P.S. Do you want to share this post? Please do. Just be sure that it remains intact and includes the following bio.

About Terry: Terry Hickey, M.S., is a Certified NLP Professional Coach, Business Trainer and Consultant, a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the co-owner of NLP Advantage Group. Originator of the Belief Breakthrough Method™, Terry specializes in teaching coaches and entrepreneurs how to rapidly resolve limiting beliefs about wealth and success. His tips and strategies can help you launch yourself into the future you want… NOW. http://terryhickey.com/


Categories : Healing


  1. Jared says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that you must be proactive when you are in a hospital to ensure the greatest level of care. My uncle also had this robotic surgery and it went quite well for him. The recovery time was minimal and now his cancer is in remission so it is a success story.

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