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TLH-kept ovaries (very detailed description of recovery) TLH-kept ovaries (very detailed description of recovery)

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Unread 04-12-2012, 02:48 PM
TLH-kept ovaries (very detailed description of recovery)

I had TLH on March 16th and had my post-op this morning. Everything went well and surgeon said I can resume "all activities" at 5 weeks post-op.

My 'normal' cycle was every 27 and a half days, bleed for 7 days- most of that the first 3 days. This went on from the time I was 12 until I started birth control (Depo shots) at 26. Stopped all birth control at 30 and the cycles started back immediately and were the same as before.... then came 2009-2010. April 2010, I had uterine ablation for a period that lasted basically 6 months (had a 'few days off' here and there). Prior to this I had noticed my cycles becoming shorter and the bleeding was increasing. (I had no pregnancies and no history of GYN problems so all of this totally freaked me out).

Fall 2011, I started having pain that turned out to be ovarian cysts and for the first time in my life UTIs. UTIs and cysts finally resolved but pain remained. January 2012, told my GYN the pain was almost 24/7 and she recommended me to a surgeon because she thought I had developed endometriosis. Surgery consult in February and he felt I had post-ablation syndrome (PAS). The only treatment for PAS is removal of the uterus which I was perfectly okay with. He did not think I had endometriosis but stated that if he found any, he would take care of it during the surgery.

Did not have a formal per-op appointment... just picked up my blood work orders and took them to the lab. Also had an EKG to make sure my heart was okay (it was, as I expected). I was VERY excited because I did not have to do a bowel prep- I have IBS and have enough digestive issues anyway. I think not having the prep really helped my recovery BUT do exactly as YOUR surgeon tells you.

SO... Surgery
Arrived at 9:30 for an 11:30 outpatient surgery
Immediate IV and sat there for about an hour and a half. DH was with me in the room and we watched TV but I have no idea what was on
Anesthesiologist stopped by and we both just fell in love with him
I remember the two nurses wheeling me out of the pre-op room to the OR and I vaguely remember trying to scratch my nose because they put the breathing mask on me.... then I was out!

Woke up in recovery and was taken to my room- DH was already there- I am guessing it was about 3:30
I had to do this breathing thing every 30-60 minutes
I had to wear oxygen because the narcotic pain meds depressed my breathing and O2 levels (that is a normal issue for me)
I had that blasted catheter in until 5:30 AM the next morning (first one I ever had and hopefully last)
Only got out of bed one time with the catheter- hurt to sit up with it and I was still quite drugged from the surgery meds (had not had any post surgery med at that time, I don't think)
between the IV fluids and drinking water for the dry throat from the oxygen thingie -Nurse and DH got a real kick out of my urine output- apparently I was filling up bags faster than most people.
Nurse took catheter out at 5:30 AM and I was out of the bed walking by 5:45.
Was discharged around 2 PM (it was a Saturday and surgeon was running late on the rounds- otherwise, I would have left in the AM).
The 1-hour, 45 mile ride home went okay, not great but well enough to stop at the pharmacy on the way instead of sending DH back out.
DH and I slept

Past couple of weeks, I have have been pleasantly surprised at how easy the recovery has been. I have only taken 4 Percocet pills, usually 1/2 at a time. The only time I have needed it was after a car ride or doing something rather stupid- like pushing the recliner foot rest down with my feet instead of using the handle!!! That was 2 days ago and gave me a flashback to the first 24 hours post-surgery!

I have had very little bleeding since surgery- all together, probably less than 1/2 a tablespoon. Surgeon said I lost only an ounce of blood during surgery.

The only restrictions I had were: no driving for the 1st week, no sex, no lifting over 15 pounds, and "If it hurts, don't do it again for a while".

I started back work full-time this week (4 weeks post op). I am wearing pants with elastic for the foreseeable future and that is okay with my boss. Other than being tired and achy at the end of the day, I have been fine.

Hystersisters has been so helpful. I did not have "my mom's hysterectomy"- hers was in 1991, was abdominal, and her recovery was MUCH harder than mine. Here I was able to find out exactly what to expect- someplace on the website, there are even videos to watch a version of the surgery you will have, VERY cool! I found the checklists and "what to get ahead of time" types of postings extremely helpful. That said, here are a few more suggestions:

1. I have 4 cats, 2 of which are at or over 15 pounds. I did not want them jumping on me. I could not figure out what to use to protect myself, especially when sleeping. Finally I cut the two long ends out of a cheap laundry basket. The corners curved around so there was a small bit of support even after moving the main parts. I placed a thinish pillow between me and the basket and placed the basket over my belly like a table. This proved vital because within 15 minutes of me getting home, one of the cats promptly jumped on me! I was even able to sleep with it on me. After about 4 nights I was tossing and turning as I did pre surgery and the basket would not stay put so I stopped using it. Paid $3.00 for the basket and I am sure it saved me immense pain.

2. I loved sitting in the recliner but I do NOT recommend leaning back if you are the only one home. For the first week, I could not get it to sit back up without DH helping.

3. Do NOT under any circumstances use your feet to lower the recliner foot rest... even at 4 weeks post-op it can be excruciatingly painful. My most recent Percocet dose was due to that little screw-up.

4. I had a binder but ended up cutting one section out and mainly use it. My binder had 3 sections that were sewn together- to help with binding and stuff. The part I use now is only about 3 inches wide and easier to wear under clothes.

5. I had to stop my stool softner 4 days after surgery. Running upstairs post-abdominal surgery, pulling off a binder with VERY strong velcro, and getting clothes off in time was a bit much for me (but DH got a laugh- apparently watching me climb the stairs "quickly" was funny). If I went more than 36 hours without a BM, I took another softner and was 'good to go' {my normal IBS-related BMs are not everyday so this was crazy for me!}

6. I had 2 heating pads, one upstairs and one downstairs. Putting the binder on OVER the heating pad (I did not think of this until week 3) is wonderful- just remember you are tethered to the wall. I also have a rather long rice pack (the kind you stick in the microwave to heat). I placed this over the heating pad across my incisions, it helped keep things in place.

7. I was totally freaked out at my poor belly button, I thought he had sewn it completely closed. Turns out it was just the surgery glue and blood. Everyone, DH, parents, even co-workers, were treated to my concern about this. Guess if that was all I had to worry about, then overall recovery was going well. It is still unbelievably itchy, though.

At my post-op today, the surgeon asked how much pain is gone, I told him I am about 85% pain-free of the pain I had pre-surgery. I suspect the remaining pain will persist as long as I have my ovaries but I am 38 and my ovaries are healthy and functioning- so he REALLY does not want to remove them.....Apparently, they are just going to be temperamental. The only surgery-related pain I have is to the left of my pubic incision and he said that would continue to ease up (especially if I remember my new 'recliner rule').

Other recommendations have been posted on other threads and this thread is already ridiculously long so I will end things here.

Oh, last comment.... I am happy that I had the ablation in 2010 and the hysterectomy in 2012. Yes.... it would have been easier to have just had the hysterectomy to begin with but based on my life circumstances at both time points, things worked out for the best.
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