So I’m booked in for some surgery later on this month. This will be my second laparoscopy in 2 years.
The first I had done at Kings Mill hospital, my gynae found severe endometriosis when he did the surgery, he had to free up my ovaries as they had adhered to my pelvis, and free the lesions in the abdomen cavity. I had 4 little cuts, like plots on a map, all with dissolvable stitches in. I remember coming round from the general anaesthetic, and the first thing I felt was pain, like someone was holding my ovaries in their fist. I was given pain relief, post-op advice and my husband was allowed to take me home.
I hurt for about a week, falling in and out of tramadol-induced sleep, not really eating and feeling very sorry for myself. I’d told myself this surgery would cure me. Unfortunately, my Endosisters and I know that this is not the case. There will be no easy fix, no cure.
A few months later, after trying different contraception treatments and seeing little improvement, I moved to a different GP surgery. I’d been told that this new GP worked at a women’s ward in Sheffield & specialised in gynae problems. Result. The Doc referred me straight to a fertility specialist at BMI Thornbury Hospital, in Sheffield.
Things were looking up. I had received more help in 2 GP appointments than I’d had in 9 m0nths of hospital admissions.
After a 6-month course of zoladex injections; it was time to start trying for a baby. I stopped the injections and a little over a month later, my period was back. And she brought the pain with her.
It took 2 cycles before my pain was beyond self-management. I went to the hospital and had an ultrasound scan, only to find that I had a substantial endometrioma (or cyst) attached to both ovaries. Once again, I headed back to the consultant, who was on the ball and scheduled the surgery.
Now we’re all on the same page…
Before surgery there are a few things I like to do or items I buy that make recovery a little easier. This is how I prepare for surgery:
Do a grocery shop a couple of days before the day of the operation. Make sure to get foods that you know you like (these may not necessarily be healthy). Easy to prepare meals are also a good idea. I always get a few cartons of good soup & some crusty bread. This is a good way to get nutrients in. I always get smiley faces and chicken nuggets or dippers for the freezer- I know I have the diet of a toddler, but I don’t care. Get spreads or sandwich fillers for a quick bite. I get jam and peanut butter. Another of my essentials is sweet potatoes. Roast it in the oven, cut the skin off, fork through & it’s a beaut mash. Get some bottles of water, flavoured or sparkling. Bottles you can keep in the fridge or have next to the bed – keep hydrated. Oh! and you can have treats – you’ve just had invasive surgery. If you want a whole packet of biscuits with your cuppa’ tea – you can! Buy treats.
Whilst you’re at the supermarket, stock up on essentials like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, senna & Tampax/pads etc. A lot of the pain meds cause constipation and trust me, that’s the last thing you need when you’ve got holes in your stomach. Make sure you have plenty of provisions, but don’t worry ‘cos if you’ve got a hubs like mine, he’ll be more than happy to do a McDonald’s run.
Try to do all your laundry so it doesn’t pile up too bad when you’re in recovery. Also wash your bedding. Put a fresh set on the bed the morning of or night before your surgery. Nothing beats getting into fresh bedding. SNUG!
Also make sure you get a few books or magazines. I usually have a pile of books that are on my ‘To-Be-Read’ list. Get some bath bombs – you won’t be able to use these until your wounds have completely healed, so when they have you’ll be ready. Get cleansing face wipes/gentle face mask as medications always cause break outs for me. I always make sure I’ve got a few heat pads, just in case, this way you can avoid a scalding with a hot water bottle. Grab a couple of extra pillows too! You’re going to be uncomfortable. Make a nest.
If you’re anything like me, your Dr knows you well and is up to date with your situation. It might be an idea to book an appointment or call in the week before to order any regular prescriptions for pain relief so you have it all ready at home for when you’re discharged. Some times the hospital send you home with only enough for 2 doses. Be realistic with your medication & honest about how bad your pain is.
The week before, spend some time thinking about the surgery, what impact this will have on your body, try and relax. DON’T look up the procedure on the internet. DON’T watch videos of laparoscopy on YouTube. Do things you enjoy, have some ‘me-time’. Maybe visit family or friends, as it could be a week before you’re up for leaving the house. If you’re nervous or have any concerns DON’T bottle it up, talk things through with someone, or call the hospital for reassurance.
The day before surgery, shave everywhere you normally shave. This includes tweezing anything that needs to be tweezed. You could obviously do this the morning of, but my skin tends to be a bit sore/dry after shaving and I don’t want to be any more uncomfortable than I have to be. Also remove all your nail varnish -it’s a big no-no for the op.
Night before, pack a small holdall with essentials. Even if the hospital says it’s a day-case surgery and you’re planning on coming home, still take this bag. You don’t want to have to wear a hospital gown if you’re forced to stay overnight. I’ll be writing another post about what I take with me.
Make sure you’re aware what time you have to stop food and drink intake – this should be on a letter from your surgeon. If you’re not sure, call your specialist well in advance to check. This is important! If you eat past a certain time, you’ll not be allowed to have the surgery.
On the day, wear comfortable clothes, and RELAX.
Please look out for my “What do I pack for surgery?” post.