It has now been a week and a day since my op. I have been quiet and haven’t been writing very much, I have really been a focusing on me, I’ve been healing and getting better. Don’t get me wrong it’s a passive process but good grief it’s absolutely exhausting! I want to share how things have been since my excision surgery for anyone who might be undergoing the same surgery themselves.
The day after surgery I was out of bed, getting up felt like being hit by a sledge hammer – pain EVERYWHERE – ironically not caused by the excision but by the damn carbon dioxide they filled my pelvic cavity. I shuffled along to the shower like an injured penguin, ran some water over my myself, attempted to wash my hair, attempted to dry myself, ended up dressing my wet skin and shuffled back to the bed. I almost fainted three times in my attempt to wash. I lay with pain across my chest, shoulders, neck and back. My consultant told me moving around would help and that the worst would pass in 24 hours. He told the truth, getting up and showering the next morning was much easier. I still resembled an injured penguin but I stood a little straighter and had more strength. Two days after my surgery because I was peeing with no problems I was allowed to go home.
The recovery journey since I got home has been slow. On the first few days after getting home the worst pain was caused by the carbon dioxide. It really flared when I lay down at night. I took peppermint capsules and cocodamol for the pain, however on two occasions the pain got that bad I had to take my oxynorm. It’s actually kind of funny, maybe other endo women are the same or maybe I am an oddball, but I can handle pelvic pain no problem. Pelvic pain is familiar, I know what to expect, my body recognises the sensations. Any other kind of pain and I think I am actually dying. The shoulder pain was so unfamiliar I didn’t know how to handle it, I actually fell to my knees clutching my abdomen because that’s what I do when I am in pain. It was really weird to see how I instinctively reacted to pain. This eased with time and after a week I now have no shoulder pain.
A big fear for all women is the first bowel movement post op. My bowel lay somewhat dormant for a few days post op. I had surgery on Thursday and by Sunday my colon showed no signs of waking up. This worried me as most of the work I had done was done on my bowel. So I ate a punnet of black grapes, drank some delicious (not) prune juice and decided I would make an appointment with my doctor the next day. The following morning however nature called. I will not lie it did hurt, the areas that were worked on cramped up and I was crampy and achy for some time after. While it was unpleasant and painful it definitely was not horrific, having lived with endo the pain did not compare to anything near an endo flare. I still cramp even a week on but it settles quicker with each passing day. Try not to stress about it, it’s something that has to be done, it will ease with time, its best just to have a painkiller and hot water bottle at the ready.
I spend my days watching way too much NCIS and Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, going for gentle walks around the house and trying to help with folding washing and other light tasks for exercise. I can get up and down from sitting with relative ease. I can’t really stand very long or my whole pelvic floor starts to ache. I am not allowed to lift anything heavier than a pint for a few weeks. I am respecting my body’s limits and not pushing myself. These last few days I have had a rise in pain but I think it is just my body healing, kind of feels like achy muscles so I am not attributing it to endo pain. So far the endo pain has not resurfaced.
My consultant is confident that he removed all the disease, but my last consultant was confident he had achieved the same result when he clearly had not, so I am trying not to get my hopes up too much. I am taking each day as it comes. When I woke from surgery this time I noticed an immediate relief which I did not feel when I woke from my excision surgery last December. I have not yet had a bleed, I guess that will be the main tell of how successful the surgery is. In any case I have massively improved, it has been years since I had a week and one day free from endo pain…..hopefully there are many many more endo free days to come!