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Bouncing back in no time at all

Prehabilitation has accelerated Mr Goh Tong Nang’s recovery journey.

Until his colectomy, Mr Goh Tong Nang had never undergone a major surgery in his life. As such, he wanted to do what was recommended in order to prepare for it as much as possible. While familiar with cancer rehabilitation, it was his first time hearing about prehabilitation.

64-year-old Mr Goh had undergone a colonoscopy at CGH in March 2021 as part of a routine check-up for polyps, where he was diagnosed with Stage 1 colorectal cancer. “When I was diagnosed, I was worried and scared,” he recalls. “I used to run 5km several times a week and did not think I would be able to run after my surgery.”

CGH’s colorectal surgeon subsequently recommended surgery to remove part of the colon. As soon as Mr Goh was listed for surgery, he was referred to a rehabilitation physician to undergo cancer prehabilitation, to help optimise his state of health and also to prepare him physically and mentally for the operation.

Mr Goh followed the prehabilitation programme exercises closely leading up to his surgery, while continuing with his own exercise regimen.

During his first prehabilitation appointment, Mr Goh underwent a series of physical assessments and was taught exercises for strengthening his legs and abdomen by a rehabilitation physician.

The physician also advised him to include more protein in his diet and shared anxiety reduction strategies. Mr Goh committed to these preparations for his surgery, and followed the prehabilitation programme closely for about two weeks, carrying out the prescribed exercises up to four times daily while continuing with his daily jogging regimen and golfing sessions.

Closer to the date of his surgery, at the second appointment, he went through the same series of physical assessments, which demonstrated a significant improvement from his baseline scores. Mr Goh subsequently underwent surgery — which was successful — and was warded for two days. He was able to walk on his own on the very day of the operation, and took a shower independently the day after. Three months on, Mr Goh is recovering well, and his post-operation exercise scores were an improvement over his baseline scores achieved during the first assessment. Today, Mr Goh continues to enjoy an active lifestyle with his friends. Reflecting on his experience, Mr Goh says, “The cancer prehabilitation programme at CGH definitely helped and prepared me physically and mentally for the surgery and the subsequent recovery period.”

Photos by Mr Goh

Bouncing back in no time at all