Fatigue after lap, finding work really difficult, worried about the future

After over a year of constant pain, and many more years of problems before that, I had my first lap 6 weeks ago. They found and removed (via excision) endo on my left pelvic wall, as well as adhesions on my bowel and left Fallopian tube.

It was all much more painful than I expected. The pain from the gas in particular was so much more painful than I could have imagined. But after the first week the pains subsided. Since then I have just been left with really unbearable fatigue. I was suffering pretty badly with fatigue prior to my surgery, it had caused me to cut down my hours at work. But now the fatigue is even worse.

I went back to work after 3 weeks, I work in a shop so I stand all day, and I am finding it to be almost physically impossible.

It's not been that long since my lap, and I'm trying to be patient with my recovery, but I can't help but feel like this fatigue might not pass.

I'm beginning to wonder if I am going to have to leave my job. Right now I feel like I will never get the energy back to handle the physical demands of the job. And with the busy Christmas season upon us, I'm even more worried I won't be able to cope.

I have been thinking for a while now that I would have to start thinking about finding a job where I can sit down, and my original thinking was that I would see how I feel in 6 months and maybe start looking then. But I am finding it difficult to get through even a single day right now, I have cried multiple times at work because the fatigue is just too much and I can't foresee ever feeling better. It doesn't help as well that a lot of people at work don't understand what I've been through and expect the surgery to have "fixed" me. Maybe I will see an improvement in my symptoms, but I might not and it's too early to tell. I certainly don't feel "better" at the moment.

The thing is, I really like my job, and they have been very understanding about all the sick leave I have had to take. I have only ever worked in retail, and I'm so worried about trying to get in to a different line of work without any experience, not to mention I am incredibly worried about leaving a company who have been understanding for one who might not be.

Even though I had been expecting the endo diagnosis for quite some time, it's all still been a lot to process, and I can't help but feel worried about the future. Everything has been about waiting, waiting to see the Gynae, waiting to see if the pill helped, waiting to see the Gynae again, waiting for my laparoscopy, and now waiting to see if the lap has helped with the pain. I'm just so sick of waiting. When I really think about it, it's probably not the best time to be making big changes. I just feel like I need to make a decision about my job just to be able to do something!

7 Replies

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  • Sorry to hear you're feeling like this. I'm in a similar boat except I work in an office. I had my lap and excision in June and I'm still experiencing fatigue as well as pain which makes it all difficult to function properly. I'd go see the GP before making and big decisions. Hope you get better soon

  • Thanks :) I'm sorry you're still experiencing pain and fatigue, I hope you get some relief soon.

    I don't think I was really prepared for how much it takes out of you. All the doctors I saw said 1-3 weeks recovery, but that doesn't even begin to cover it really. The GP actually seemed sceptical and told me you only "normally" need one week off after a laparoscopy. I'm so glad I didn't listen!

  • I've come across people on here who took months off work after excision. For myself, I only had a diagnostic lap, but i still didn't feel like myself for a couple of months afterwards. Perhaps your body just needs a while to recover. Maybe see your GP, they might sign you off for a bit longer? I know it's hard not knowing when / if you will feel better and it does make you worry. But you'll get there. Take care

  • Thank you for your perspective, it helps to know what other people have gone through. I think I just hadn't been mentally prepared for what recovery would be like. Logically I know it should be a long recovery process, but I think all the doctors I saw really understated how major the surgery actually is and how long the recovery period could be. One GP even told me I wouldn't need more than a week!!!

    I went the the GP today and she rather begrudgingly gave me a note for a week off. She's not my regular GP and she basically didn't believe that I don't feel well enough to work right now. I hate that I'm made to feel like I have to prove my illness, it's my body, I know it better than anyone, and I know something isn't right :(

  • Sorry to hear the gp wasn't very understanding. But I hope your week off helps. Get lots of rest!

  • Sorry to hear your GP is not very sympathetic. My GP tried to persuade me having more time off as he said it was a major operation even though the incision was minimal. The consultant suggested 4 weeks off then phased return to work.

  • Is it possible to phase your return to work? After my major operation, I took 4 weeks off, then worked half time for 2 weeks. I am now back to full time work and feel back to normal. Best not to stretch yourself too much. It will hinder your recovery and cause problems for the long run.

    Hope you are feeling better soon.

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