Surgery

You guys might remember the procedure I had last year – uterine fibroid embolization – whose purpose was to shrink my HUGE fibroid. Well the UFE didn’t work, and this winter my OB-GYN recommended hysterectomy.

I’ve been on a treatment of Lupron to shrink the fibroid to make it easier to manage in surgery, and am also going through all the pre-surgery prep…including the mammo and follow up.

Surgery is scheduled for July 17. It will likely be abdominal (not transvaginal or laproscopic because of the size of the fibroid).  3 My mom will come in that week, and stay through the weekend.  Then she’s taking DS with her back home – this was pre-planned, the timing is coincidental – he will go to camp near her for two weeks and then they are going on a trip to New Mexico together.

I’m planning on 3-4 weeks off from work, but really have no idea what to expect.  I’ve never had major surgery and don’t really know how my body will react.

Anyway, I’m trying to focus on things I can impact, and getting things pulled together at work so people can “cover” for me.  Mom told me to look into getting a home health aide for a couple of hours a day for a week or two – especially since I live on a three floor house and won’t be able to do stairs by myself.

And trying not to be tense or anxious about this -but of course I am.  And, weirdly, thinking “I’ve sort of gotten used to my uterus…..how odd to want to have it taken out”

 

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27 thoughts on “Surgery

  1. Hi, Sue. Hugs from here. It sounds like you’re focusing on all the right practical issues, and hugs from here for all the other issues.

    xoxo

  2. I’m sorry that you have to go through this, Sue. And I’ve had surgery to remove a large mass from my abdomen (two actually…tee hee). The recovery isn’t very fun, but the drugs are good (and don’t skimp on them…it doesn’t help the healing). The best thing that you can do is make sure to not push yourself. Allow yourself to rest and read and watch TV. Don’t feel bad about not getting up to do things. Your body has to heal.

    Oh, and don’t laugh. Or sneeze. That really sucks.

    Wishing you well from here and sending lots of love.

    • That’s my experience too. Staying down after the first one was easy, but after the second, well, I felt good and wanted to be mobile so I probably overdid it. Don’t be like me! Stay in bed as much as you can, especially the first week or so, and take your meds. They give you good drugs for a reason. Have a small pillow handy so you don’t feel like you’re going to split open when you cough. Don’t strain on the toilet.

      DH should expect to do the household tasks (getting meals on the table, cleaning up afterwards, VERY light housekeeping) for the first week you’re home. Does a home health aide do things like that (laundry, cooking, groceries)? If not, it might be good to line up a trusted friend who can come help you. And second on meal prep. But don’t fill the freezer completely, just in case of brownout.
      Oh, yes, and set up a comfortable place for yourself on the floors you’re going to be on. You’re not confined to the bedroom only.

  3. Big hugs and lots of positive vibes as you get ready for this! I ditto Rachel — sounds like you are focusing on the right practical questions. Nice that DS will be away during your initial recovery time — that will make things a lot easier. AND, I love the idea of a home health aid. I’m sure you’ve already started working on this, but I’d be stocking up on some healthy, home-made freezer meals myself. Ooo….and I’d also get myself a good Netflix queue ready to go so I’d have lots and lots of great movies to watch.

    • AND, right before I went into surgery, like the day before, I’d treat myself to something — pedicure, really good lunch out, etc.

      • Ooh, pedicure! Good tip. It’s nice to be able to look down at pretty toes when you are laid up on the couch or bed. A friend of ours has a little girl who went through Leukemia (a year in remission, yay!), and she would get her little toes painted before every spinal tap (which she had general anesthesia for).

  4. I think everyone above has great ideas! I just wanted to say that I’ll be thinking of you and also let you know that while I think the “what am I doing?” feeling is natural, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t thrilled they’d had the procedure done.

    Ironically, I’ll be in the NY metro area while you’re recovering and your mom and DS are here.

  5. Thanks for the update, S. We’ll all be thinking of you and sending speedy recovery vibes! I know initially you had hoped everything could be resolved without surgery, but I am glad to know that the procedure will end up making you healthier.

  6. I’m sorry the other treatments didn’t work well enough. Good luck with the surgery and the recovery. I hope it goes well. I had a surprisingly easy post c-section recovery, so not all abdominal surgeries are too terrible, hopefully yours will go as well as possible.

  7. Oh man. Sue, I’m sorry that you have to go through this. I am all too familiar with the aftermath of major abdominal surgery at the moment. Definitely plan for 3-4 weeks off of work and a home health aid. Can you set things up in advance so that your bed and bathroom and whatever else you need are on the same floor while you recover? Also, you will likely be restricted from driving during the weeks of your recovery so plan for that. Good luck, big hugs and I will be thinking of you!

  8. It won’t be so bad. I’ve never had surgery, either, but from what people tell me, it’s rarely as bad as you think.

    As to needing a home health aid? I don’t know. Your mom will be there with you a few days, and you can certainly manage for a few days by having what you need where you need it. Look at it this way: My daughter in law came home two days after a c-section. To a two year old. And they moved the day after she came home. She didn’t have any extra help at all. Probably not easy, but she managed. She also went back to work in a little less than four weeks. Of course, she’s in her 20′s….but, I’m just saying this because I think it’s often not as bad as we think it will be, unless there are some kind of real complications.

  9. Sue, I’m so sorry the more conservative approach hasn’t worked as you had hoped. I’ve had 2 major abdominal surgeries, one to remove a cyst and one a c-sec. Since that time, a hyserectomy (vaginal) and one or two other procedures that weren’t abdominal.
    My abdominal surgeries were done 2 decades ago, and things have gotten much better since then. I’ll say from experience that pain management is far more advanced. The surgeon will likely inject some numbing drugs internally as well as externally, so your immediate reaction upon waking may be surprisingly comfortable. I’ll echo what the others have said about taking anything they give you and follow docs orders. Personally, I found the anti-nausea meds and pain meds made me vomit, so I didn’t use them for the hyster (except for what they gave me via IV in the recovery area). I really, really hope and believe it will be easier than you imagine (fingers crossed). Most of the discomfort I had was just that: discomfort, not outright pain, and easily managed.
    I like the idea of treating yourself to a nice mani/pedi or massage a day or two in advance if you can manage the time. If you have some meals brought by or just pre-make some stuff, you’ll probably be fine. No vacuuming, though (sorry!)
    One last word of advice: stay off or limit the time you spend on the website (s) devoted to hysterectomy info that seems to specialize in scare stories…you aren’t defined by either the event itself or the aftermath. Take any info you can productively use and discard anything that is emotionally or intellectually troubling.
    You’ll do great!

  10. I really like the mani-pedi idea and think you should definitely do that. I have no other advice but I’ll be thinking good, healing thoughts for you. xoxo dear one.

  11. Veteran of two abdominal surgeries, & honestly, neither was as bad as having my breast reduction! Rest, take the meds, be as comfortable as you can, don’t push yourself. It isn’t fun, but the first few days are the worst, & then you just get better & better. With no little ones to run after, hopefully you can relax & let your body heal. Do get a massage a day or two before the surgery…be as peaceful as possible.

  12. Good luck, Sue! You are planning well and I think you’ll get through everything just fine. I had a c-section that I don’t think would have been a big deal if I hadn’t been taking care of a newborn. Stock up on movies and make sure to take it easy. I think that will be the hardest part for you, honestly. Lemme know if you need any tips because I’m a pro ;)

  13. Sue, hugs and thinking of you. Wish I was close enough to bring you a meal or run errands for you. I hope that everything goes really well.

  14. I understand the ‘how weird to have it out’ feeling, even if it seems sort of funny. I’ll think good thoughts for your healing. Might I recommend forced time to read trashy and/or entirely inspiring and well-written books while recuperating? Best part of bed rest ever :-)

  15. Totally thinking of you and hoping that you are getting a good night of sleep tonight and that tomorrow will go exactly as planned or better.

  16. Lots and lots of good thoughts streaming your way today and this week, Sue. I hope the procedure is flawless and the healing is relaxing and comfortable as can be.

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