3 weeks post op

Hello All

My operation (the whole debulking lot) was three weeks ago. I've been home 9 days. My stomach is still swollen and I still get pain when I stand up from sitting down, or when I've been walking around the house for a short while. My first question, is this swelling normal, my second question, has anyone been given any exercises to do and my thirds, does any one get nights sweats?

Love to all, Phia x

9 Replies

  • Yes to the swelling, no to exercises. Trying to walk a bit everyday and build it up and I had quite bad night sweats which have died down. I went through menopause 10 years ago following radiotherapy for cervical cancer and was on hrt, but have come off the hrt since this diagnosis and the sweats haven't been too bad, apart from after my op and then woke up with the bed drenched a few times. Hopefully it will settle down.

  • Yes to all those. It's v early days and I was still taking the painkillers the hospital gave me at the full prescription dose. At 14 days, I was able to get from outer London to an inner London hospital on public transport for a consultation, but there was hardly any walking involved and I had a cab home. I was still spending most of my time resting on the sofa watching box sets and needed a lie down after washing and styling my hair.

    The hospital physio gave me a sheet of instructions including gentle exercises. As I recall, the first fortnight was headed 'Extended hospital stay', which I took to mean not much more than personal care and making the odd sandwich or drink or ready meal. I did a 5 min walk to the newsagents every day, but standing still gave me backache.

    My abdo was lumpy for quite a long time. Internal healing takes much longer than the external scar. I had night sweats, even tho' I was post-menopausal. I thought it was hormonal, but someone told me it takes a long time for the anaesthetic to leave the system.

    You've just had major abdominal surgery. Don't rush your recovery. It's really important to let yourself heal to avoid adhesions etc.

    Hope you've got plenty of help and someone to do the fetching and carrying.

  • Hi Phia ... My swelling lasted about 6 weeks but if it is hot or 'nasty' get it checked out. I got a leaflet about exercise including pelvic floor and v easy sit ups you were supposed to do after the staples came out... There should be stuff online as I think the leaflet was a Macmillan one. I found walking was really good for my body and spirit...keep well. Lyndall xx

  • Hi swelling can last quite a while try to keep walking if you can. Pain is normal make sure you have your meds regularly. Was not given exercises but have done some short pelvic exercises see Michelle Kenway you tube. Yes tonight sweats but mine were connected to surgical menopause and am now on HRT. Best wishes x

  • I used the or am still using the kegel app. Pain is awful and comes and goes so try not to push against it but relax. My pain stopped when I had my chemo last week. Now day six and it's back.

    When I had surgical menopause lots of night sweats and it came back this time after surgery so maybe it's all the fiddling about

    I'd say still in pain in a week go to GP. I think that's my plan too

    LA xx

  • I was given exercises to do but only to start them when I was feeling comfortable! They were based on simple Pilates exercises. Agree with all the other replies about having a short daily walk whenever possible. A walk,when the weather is OK helps your mental well being as well. There are no hard and fast rules about recovery times so just listen to your body. x

  • Well done for getting the debulking done.

    1) There was no post-op swelling for me (despite loads of ascites before) so not sure, sorry. I had a laparotomy (the long vertical incision) not laparoscopy (the keyhole surgery), if that makes a difference.

    2) Yes I had a physiotherapist visit me every day in the hospital and she worked with me to ensure I get up and walk a bit every day. She said in general keep walking, once or twice a day, and use marigold salve to - gently and always towards the scar - massage your belly. She showed me how to get in and out of bed as well (turn on side first then drop legs out and lift upper body into a sitting position etc). Warned me not to do 'crunch' type movements which overstrain the core muscles. She also told me to turn my upper body in this direction and that occasionally when seated, but not overstretch the scar. Most important besides the (upright and not hunched over) walking, she said, was for me to do breath exercises, breathing out with some oomph, using a 'toy' whereby you get a couple of plastic balls to hover in the air by blowing into an associated tube.

    Let's see.. what else. Right, I had to roll a towel and press it on my stomach the first few days when laughing, coughing or sneezing (or puking, hehe). Later I'd just put my hand there. Oh, and no lifting for 6 weeks.

    But you'll want to check all of that with your GP or physio as it might be different for your scar/wound than it was for mine.

    3) It's been over 3 months for me and I do still get night sweats. Not as badly anymore as they were in the first 2-3 weeks though where I got up a few times per night and changed pyjamas ;) . It's quite light and manageable now.

    Also, these 3 months on, coughing still hurts and I still wouldn't want to do situps/crunches but else it's fine. Took about 6 weeks for the innards to stabilize enough to sleep on my side (previously, it was the on-my-back corpse position or nothing). Give it time.. it'll all come together and you will feel better every week.

    All the best :) .

  • Thank you so much everyone. It's such a comfort to know that everything that's going on is totally normal. although I now realize I have been doing too much. I also went to see the Doctor today who said he thinks the surgeon was 'over enthusiastic' when stitching up part of the incision, and he stitched it a little too tightly which is adding to the pain. Thanks too for the night sweat info, I was post menopausal before the op, so didn't expect them at all. Thanks too for exercise suggestions. Thanks heavens I have all you lovely ladies to talk to about these things, I'd be totally isolated and very worried without you to give your support, information and stories of how you have all coped. Love Phia xx

  • Hi Phia Re: exercise after surgery - I found this video on the Royal Society for Obs & Gynae good - & a very reliable source - I think there's an online patient leaflet to accompany it too - so have a look for that on their website. I was sad that I only found this a month after my op - I could have done with it sooner! Wishing you all the best

    xx Sundra

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