Hellllo from chilly Ohio! I’ve returned from my endometriosis excision surgery! We returned back from the new city of our dreams, Atlanta, 4 short days ago! I hear Ohio was lovely while I was gone. I really wouldn’t have been upset if the sun would have stuck around! I can’t complain, though, I did come home to my flowering pear trees in full bloom! And 2 little boys who missed their mama VERY much. Ditto, dudes!
If you’ve been following me, you know that after a very long battle with endometriosis, I traveled to Atlanta to meet Dr. Sinervo at the Center for Endometriosis Care and undergo excision surgery. I am approaching the 2 week post-op mark and wanted to share what I learned about what was going on in my own body, as well as how recovery is going; because let’s face it, sometimes it is just nice to hear how another person has coped and compare stories! If you’re the new kid here (welcome!!) and want to start at the beginning, click HERE first.
My Post-Op Report…
This may not be exciting to all of you, but people like my Grandma Alice will really be interested! And some of you endo-warriors who have had excision will definitely find that you can relate. If you haven’t had the operation…this will sound big (and it kind of is), but I promise you it’s so worth getting taken care of! So here goes….
When I went to see my amazing surgeon for my one week check, he reported all sorts of things to me! First, My left ovary (which was the ONLY part of my reproductive system I had left) was a hot stinkin’ mess. It was 4 times the size it should have been, was covered in endo, scar tissue, and had several decent sized (think golf ball) endometriomas, AKA chocolate cysts, on it. That’s fun enough, but in addition, my ovary was completely buried into my pelvic wall. It was pulled clear over towards my left hip by adhesions and was also adhered to my bowel, my omentum, and the top of my post-hysterectomy vaginal cuff. As you can imagine, that ovary was evicted! My bowel, in addition to being adhered to the ovary, was twisted and kinked by adhesions. It also had deep infiltrating endometriosis that had penetrated the walls causing my bowel to be at least 50% obstructed! Because of this I did need to have a bowel resection, where 6 inches of my bowel was removed. There were also a few areas of rectovaginal endometriosis that were excised.
For weeks before I had this surgery I repeatedly would have nightmares that I came out of surgery and was told that I had no endometriosis and couldn’t be helped. The surgical team assured me during recovery that this wasn’t true at all, but I was relieved when the pathology report stated that everything sent in was endo. I was even more relieved when I was assured (for maybe the tenth time) by my surgeon that every cell of it had been removed from my body.
So How Bad is the Recovery?
Guys, it’s not that bad! Especially not compared to the endless symptoms that most of us have day after day from the disease.
Because I needed the resection, I did have to stay in the hospital 4 days. I was up and walking a few hours after surgery though with little pain at all. Obviously when you have 4 incisions lasered into you….there’s gonna be some hurtin’, but surgical pain wasn’t that awful for me. To be 100% honest, I didn’t even use the PCA pain med pump they gave me! (Ok, so maybe out of desperation I pushed it once just to get some shut-eye, but that’s it!) I took Tylenol and quickly switched to Ibuprofen, but even by the last day I was declining all meds. I dressed in my own clothes on day 2, showered on days 3 and 4. It wasn’t nearly as terrible as I’d expected. If you’ve had a laparoscopic procedure before then you probably are aware how BAD the gas can hurt afterwards. They pump you full of the stuff so they can see and then you have incredible shoulder pain for days after! I was prepared to live on Gas-X, but that pain was almost non-existent with this surgery.
We spent another 5 days in Atlanta in our rented studio apartment (that I can’t wait to tell you about) after I left the hospital. It was one of the best moves we made! I was able to just lay there and rest. Even if I thought about stuff that needed done at school or for the kids or at the house….I couldn’t do it because I was hours and hours away. I felt that laying down felt best for me and did that for about 12 hours a day, then went to bed. Mr. Pennington and I would take walks around the adorable neighborhood we were staying in about 3 times a day, but that was it. The worst part of the first few days at home were dealing with my resection and diet. I’ll leave that topic alone here, but if you’re going through it–don’t hesitate to contact me! Those first days can really have your mind racing because I learned that everything (and nothing) is normal when it comes to bowel resection!
Home Sweet Home
Now that we are home and I’ve been back to being mom full time, let me just tell you….mommin’ ain’t easy! I have tried to stay down during the days while the kids are at school, but the little while that I’m up and about with them really does leave me feeling like a walking bruise inside! And I have “big kids”–they’re 7 and 9. Props to people who do this with toddlers! I’m thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day, but some nights too sore to sleep. Just something I have to learn to balance. When I got home a couple days ago I was determined that I’d be back to teaching by this coming week (never mind that they wrote me off until mid-May). I came to the realization today that that isn’t going to happen.
I should add a disclosure that I think I’m an exception here. I have heard the pain is usually pretty intense at this point still. I have a pretty high pain tolerance….blessing and a curse.
So What’s Next?
Medically, nothing much. I have a post-op visit with a new OBGYN next week. I will continue to see him for routine care and prescription refills of my estrogen patch (which by the well seems to be working very well for me–I was terrified to start it! Hormones aren’t usually my friend.) Aside from that, I’m void of disease and a reproductive system to cause me trouble.
I was having a LOT of intestinal issues prior to surgery, and with a resection there are still some ups and downs, but I’m positive that will all turn out well and I’ll be able to eat like a normal person again! Those who know me, know that I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love it. It hates me. I hope that is over.
Meeting with a pelvic floor physical therapist is also on the agenda in a few weeks. I’m not sure what all this will entail. I won’t lie–it definitely sounds a bit intimidating!
So basically, “next” is here and I’m ready to enjoy it with my beautiful family!
I know this was a long post full of detail that may be boring or “too much” for some. To you guys, I apologize. I’ll write about something cool soon. But for many “endo sisters”, I hope this was helpful! Please don’t hesitate to hit the “contact” button or comment here with any questions you might have! Keep an eye out for my next post filled with all the information that might be helpful if you’ll be making the trip to Atlanta soon!
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