I had a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy 2 weeks ago and I am feeling amazing. I read many of these sites prior to my surgery and got a lot of helpful hints so I am paying it forward and recounting my experience. I hope it helps at least one.
About 2 months ago while exercising, I felt a pull and thought I had a hernia. After a few days of discomfort, I went to my Dr and he ordered an MRI where they found a 11 cm ovarian cyst. My Gyno gathered more information with an ultrasound and CA 125 cancer screening and hormone test. The results said I had an extremely low cancer risk and ovaries were in full menopause.
So we decided to do the full bilateral S-O. No reason to keep the ovaries if they were no longer working and it would also eliminate any risk of future cysts.
So I was scheduled for laparoscopic surgery. It was the first time I had general anesthesia. I was wheeled into the operating room, helped to transfer onto the operating table and asked to move up an inch and that is the last thing I remember. I was out cold without having to count backward.
I woke up about 4 hours later in recovery and told the nurse I felt remarkably normal. Then she elevated my head and I felt the pain in my lower abdomin. She asked if I wanted pain meds and I said yes. The meds reduced the sharpness of the pain and made it bearable. Now, this pain started at about a 6 out of 10 and felt like I had been stabbed with a knife and the knife was still in my. But with the pain meds, the pain reduced to a 2 out of 10 in about 15 minutes.
I didn't feel nauseous at all which surprised me. I was up and walking within another hour and got dressed to go home. I saw I had one "tiny" incision in my belly button. Another small incision low on one side with one stitch and one larger incision low on the other side with 3 stitches. The large incision was very straight and clean and that was the source of the pain I was feeling. I felt no pain at all from the other two incisions.
Once dressed, I did have the feeling my insides could fall out. It was odd but normal. The car ride home was 20 minutes and my honey took it easy and missed the bumps. I took a pillow with me to put between the seatbelt and my belly. That helped a lot.
We stopped and picked up the pain meds at the pharmacy (hydrocodone) and went home to bed. I had a step stool by my bed and that helped to get into bed without bending very much. I used many pillows to prop me up in bed.
I immediately took Gas-X and Colace to reduce gas side effects and get my bowels in motion asap. The anesthesia slows down the bowels and you have to get them moving from the beginning or else. For the few days prior to surgery, I also reduced my food intake to soups and yogurt to give my bowels a break.
Interestingly, I had read so much about the surgical gas migrating into the shoulders and causing pain. I had NONE of this. Perhaps my surgeon deflated me completely. I had no bloating and no pain so I never took the Gas-X again. Didn't need it, thankfully.
One thing I did prior to surgery was to borrow some handrails that an elderly person would use in the bathroom. I put them on each side of the toilet. It really helped to have something to lean on & grab onto to lower my butt to the toilet seat without using my stomach muscles. And they were helpful to get up.
I also had no side effects from the anesthesia. I didn't sleep once I got home until 11pm when my honey and I went to sleep, as normal. I sleep through the night. In the morning, I took a pain pill and got out of bed about 1 hour after taking the meds so they had time to kick in.
Getting in and out of bed was a slow process but having my honey on hand was helpful although I didn't let him pull me up. I would move one leg toward the edge of the bed and dangle it over, then move the other leg toward the edge of the bed, then slowly move them both letting gravity do the work until my feet hit the floor. Since I was propped up on pillows, I didn't have to engage my stomach muscles to get up. Slow is the operative word. Take your time!
Once I was up, I felt like my insides would fall out but I think that is normal. On the second day, I paced back and forth among the rooms in my house. Doc told me to get moving. He told my honey too who made sure to remind me. The 1st day after surgery was challenging and uncomfortable but not painful, per se. I took the pain pills on schedule but when I was reclining in bed, I really felt as though I had not had surgery. When I got up or sat down, that's when I had the most discomfort, but no sharp pains.
1st day post surgery, I kept drinking fluids (cucumber water, ginger ale, water) and eating light (soup, crackers, granola). I put on a maxidress and entertained visitors from my bed. Again, as long as I was reclined, I felt fine. I gave myself a sponge bath. Doc said I could shower but I didn't feel up to it.
2nd day post surgery, I made an error. I had asked my honey to remove one of the pillows so I could sleep more flat. Boy, was that a mistake I never made again. When I woke up that 2nd morning, I tried to move a little but my back had seized up and I could not get up. And my stomach muscles were on strike and didn't work either. I had to take my pain meds, wait an hour then have my honey physically lift me up. He is sweet but even he complained - "that was all dead weight." LOL, and I only weigh 150 pounds. I could not help him at all. I made sure I slept upright for the next week. It saved him and me a lot of difficulty. Again, I gave myself a sponge bath.
On that 2nd day post surgery, I went the rest of the day without pain meds. The only discomfort was when I was up and walking around and that was bearable so I stayed off the drugs for the rest of the day. The pain meds can produce constipation so I wanted off as soon as possible. Also, my system is not used to drugs. I never take drugs normally, not even aspirin. I managed to paced between rooms each time I got up to use the toilet.
3rd day post surgery, I had a bowel movement and because of the Colace, I didn't have to work at all. I didn't want to bear down and didn't have too. Thankfully. Sponge bath again. And not pain meds at all.
4th day post surgery, I got up, took a full shower, washed my hair (finally) and got dressed. I even went into the den for a change of scenery. The couch was too low so I took a couch seat cushion and piled it up and sat on that. I was able to get up and down without too much discomfort. No pain meds
5th day post surgery, I took a shower, got dressed and took a walk outside - about a mile total. No pain meds.
6th day post surgery, it was all going well except my bowels had not functioned again so I took Senecot and that did the trick overnight. I took Senocot laxatives for a few days to make sure my bowels were moving along fine. The Colace was not enough.
Each day was better than the last. I walked further each day and felt better getting up and down. I was back to work after 6 work days off. I was not rushed to get back to work; I just felt ready. Stitches came out on day 13 and no problems. I put Neosporin antibiotic ointment on the scars to make them heal up. They look great and feel pretty good. They won't be noticeable in a month and Doc put them where they won't been seen. He is so nice to his lady patients. LOL
I was amazed at how well I have healed and the skill of my surgeon. I read some scary things when I was researching this pre-op and I want to assure anyone reading this that you should prepare for the worst but expect the best. I was ready for the shoulder pain, being out of work for weeks, and a long recovery. But, in reality, I had minimal pain except when getting up and down and the pain was only at the large incision location and I took 1 week off work and felt fine when I went back to work (desk job).
My surgeon did tell me that the incision he made was large then he would normally make but because of the size of the cyst, he had to make it larger to get it out.
Let me add a few suggestions. You should have some compression garments so when you do go out of the house, you don't feel like your guts are going to end up on the floor. I did wear a tight long camisole after day 5 and it helped. I wore controltop pantihose when I went back to work. Just that little pressure made all the difference. It's not like a hysterectomy or post-pregnancy garment - just slight pressure.
Also, keep cough lozenges handy. If you even feel you need to clear your throat, pop a lozenge in your mouth. YOU DO NOT WANT TO COUGH. I thought I could clear my throat with a small cough and ended up in a full fit and lots of pain. No Joy in that.