What to Expect When You’re Expecting – a Hysterectomy
Today’s post is being brought to you by the Letter ‘S’
Hello, hello, everyone!! How I have missed you all – I cannot even begin to describe. Surgery was exactly one week ago today. Let me tell you, it has been quite a week. I am so glad to be sharing this post with you, as it shows that I am slowly but surely on the mend.
Note** Please do not let the following description of my abdominal hysterectomy dissuade you from having this surgery should you need one. Every woman’s experience is different; please talk with your doctor should you have any concerns.
I am going to share my experience for those of you who ever need surgery of this kind or any abdominal surgery, for that matter. It’s helpful to realize that what you are experiencing is normal and will pass with time. I myself, was unaware of the things that happens to your body during and after surgery which can affect your recovery.
The surgery itself went smoothly. No cancer was found and there was minimal bleeding. However, the morning after surgery I began having severe pain from the CO2 gas that was used to inflate my stomach during surgery. Its job is to relax the tissues in the area being worked on and allows instruments to move around more freely. I was told that this gas gets trapped inside the body cavity and takes time to work its way out. The air is absorbed through tissue and cells and much of it is exhaled through the mouth (learn something new every day!) and doesn’t happen right away; it can take a long time. Like, many days. Mine seemed to ‘sit’ in my back, right below my shoulder blade and no matter which way I tried to lay, it felt like I was resting on a bowling ball. It hurts to breathe deeply and no matter what, I just couldn’t get comfortable. The nurses said that the quickest form of relief was to move. So Wednesday and Thursday for about 9 hours each day, you could find me shuffling my way up and down the halls, dragging my IV unit on one side and my husband on the other. Unfortunately, the pain wouldn’t subside. It just moved from place to place until finally it decided to camp out near my incision site. Finally on Sunday, I felt some relief.
Anesthesia is nothing short than a miracle compared to when doctors used to operate without it (can you imagine??) You don’t remember anything and you don’t feel anything. However, anesthesia slows down the function of your body including your bowels. Bowels tend to like to be left alone to do their thing, so when they become disturbed, they can get a little angry. That anger comes to you with a big red bow and wrapped in the form of intestinal and colon gas. Waking those areas up can be a daunting task. In addition to this, the narcotics used to help control the pain also carry the side effect of constipation – thus the making of the Perfect Storm. So, my first order of business after I arrived home was to stop the Percocet altogether and just function on Ibuprofen. Let me tell you, never in my life has my bowels been the talk of the town than during the course of this past week. Family and friends were notified when stool softener was swallowed, suppositories were inserted and Milk of Magnesia flowed. Everyone near and far held silent vigils while praying for poop.
Sunday – a fitting day, don’t you think? – their prayers were answered. lol
The last thing that surprised me was my inability to eat. I had to fast the day before surgery, and two days later couldn’t eat anything other than a few Saltine crackers before each dose of pain medication. With my stomach so full of air and gas, there was literally no room for food, and any that I tried to eat made me sick to my stomach almost immediately. On Sunday I had my first meal: one piece of toast and 1 scrambled egg; it sat fairly well. Success in that department sent Craig and I over the moon! We were so happy. Finally, I had turned a corner.
That’s what You are. And that’s what I felt when Craig read me every comment/email each of you wrote before surgery and after my husband’s post-surgery update. He was pretty nervous knowing that he had to write something which he knew would be read by others, but the response you gave to his post was so touching to me and to him. It was actually a nice distraction for him; at first he was amazed when he received a response. Then, when several started coming in that was very exciting for him. I’ve always told him that I have the best readers out there. Now, he understands why.
That’s what my husband has been giving me since my operation. He has been the best caregiver I could ever ask for (and as a caregiver by profession, that says a lot!). He rubbed my back when it hurt; he matched my every step in the hospital, and he’s been tending to my every need since I arrived home from the hospital.
His only problem? He’s given away his little secret (I’m witnessing with my own eyes just how capable he is of doing things around the house – which he previously claimed to be uneducated about). All of his male friends tell him jokingly, ‘You’re screwed now, buddy!’
Seriously though, I couldn’t have made it through the past couple of months without him. It’s times like these when the vows, for better or for worse can challenge a marriage, but we made it through the worse with my employer and friend’s death last month and then this surgery. SO looking forward to the better parts to come.
I hope you’ve all been well and enjoying your summer so far. I look forward to reconnecting with each of you as I continue to make slow but steady progress. Have a great Tuesday. Appreciate your bowels!