Laparoscopic Excision Surgery and Endometriosis go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. But it should really come with an instruction manual. This post is your guide to pre and post surgery expectations.
So… what CAN you expect?
- Anxiety is normal. If this is your first surgery or your fifth, there is always a little bit of anxiety that comes with it. What will they find? Will I feel better? Will I be in more pain or less pain? What happens after I fall asleep? The only piece of comfort that I can offer is this… surgery is normal for the doctors and nurses. They were trained to do this and you need to trust that you’re in good hands (especially if it’s an Endo Specialist). Unfortunately for Endo sisters, surgery is also a normal thing for us. After a while, it seems about as normal as getting your teeth cleaned.
- Prepare with the proper foods. I try to stock up on pre and post surgery food at least 1-2 weeks ahead of time. Most surgeons will have you do some type of bowel prep prior to the procedure; which essentially means clear, boring liquids for 2 days. I’d recommend getting orange popsicles, a broth of your choice and non-red jello. You can eat as MUCH of that as you want. I also get post surgery foods like butternut squash soup, gluten free chicken nuggets, gluten free pizzas, and anything that is easy to make. Hopefully some nice friends are willing to bring you a meal or 2 as well.
- Buy pads, Gas-X, and triple-antibiotic gel. You’ll probably be bloated and bleeding for several days post-op. My recommendation is stock up on as many pads and Gas-X pills as possible. The bloating and gas (from expanding the abdomen) will lighten up in about 3 days, but those first few days are uncomfortable. The antibiotic gel is for your incisions. My doctor uses steri-strips and so I haven’t used the gel for 3 of my 4 surgeries. Some doctors will only use band-aids and I ended up getting an infection in my bellybutton after my first surgery. The gel will help reduce the risk of infection or prevent it from getting worse.
- Sit back and try to relax. The day of your surgery is filled with a lot of emotion and pain. If you’re anything like me, you might ask yourself when this will ever end and why God chose you to have a disease like Endometriosis. All I can say is… try not to think about this on surgery day. Remember that you are a STRONG woman. You might have Endo, but it doesn’t have you!
- Pain and bleeding. Your doctor should prescribe some decent pain meds for you after the surgery. Like I said above, you can plan for 3-4 days with a lot of discomfort. It is most likely that you’ll bleed for a week or more – which is totally NORMAL, as long as you aren’t filling a pad each hour (this would require emergency attention).
- The heating pad will be your BFF. Don’t let this thing out of your sight. Maybe purchase a back up just in case. All Endo sisters require a reliable heating pad. Serious.
- The gas pain can be terribly uncomfortable. The surgeon needs to “inflate” your abdomen, which causes gas to get trapped inside. Seriously… get some Gas-X chewables and eat that stuff like candy all day. You will need it!
- Pain after surgery is NORMAL. I understand that you’re probably tired of the pain, but surgery causes temporary pain for longer relief. The pain you feel post-op is totally normal. Keep in mind that you just had pieces of tissue removed from your muscles and organs. It will take your body some time to heal appropriately.
- Rest as much as possible. It is extremely important that you rest. Don’t overdo it. Even if you’re feeling better after 3 days, it is crucial for your healing to stay inactive for at least 3-4 weeks. Don’t be carrying heavy items (it could rip an incision), don’t run a marathon or have sex (for at least 2 weeks). This is what my doctor has told me.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease. There is no cure. Pain will continue to come and go throughout your life. The average Endo patient will have a surgery every 3-5 years. Some women choose to remove their uterus, but that doesn’t always resolve the pain or other symptoms.
I had my fourth Endo surgery in March 2015; which revealed stage 2 lesions and a large adhesion growing from the uterus to my c-section scar. After less than a year, the pain has returned.
Thankfully, I spent a better part of 2015 getting healthy – exercising 3 days a week, walking several miles in a week, doing yoga, and even going through a few rounds of chronic pain counseling. Because of those changes, I feel equipped to tackle the pain again. I hope you are able to do the same for yourself.
Please read my other posts by typing “Endometriosis” in the search box.
I welcome you to contact me. I know that it’s hard to fight this disease and I am here if you ever need a friend.
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