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Deer in the headlights Deer in the headlights

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Unread 02-24-2004, 07:59 AM
Deer in the headlights


This is my first day on the site, first posting...

First, I want to thank all of you for contributing to this site. It's so generous of you to allow others to benefit from your experience and I wish all of you the best of health.

My surgery is in less than 2 weeks and I've only known about it for a week and a half, so I'm still a little dazed.

here's me:
39 years old
no children
partial hysterectomy (just uterus) on March 8

I've scheduled a consult with another doctor, just to ease my mind and I'm trying to make an appointment with my doctor for next week because I have a growing list of questions - I don't even know where my surgery is being performed.

What I'd most like to know from some of you is what the recovery is like. I live alone, so I'll probably stay with my parents for the first week or so until I can take care of myself. I'm just wondering how long that will be. I have to be able to climb the stairs in my house and scoop out the litter box.

If my surgery is at the same local hospital where I had my ultrasound, it's a 2-hour drive to my parents house - will I be able to ride in the car for 2 hours the day I leave the hospital?

Thanks very much!
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Unread 02-24-2004, 08:09 AM
Deer in the headlights

If you're staying at your folks' house, you'll HAVE to drive 2 hours. Make sure you are loaded for bear with pain meds, have a pillow between the seatbelt and the incision, and tilt the seat back a bit. That helped me, and my ride was only 1/2 hour. But bearable--actually, on the way home we stopped for Starbucks. (Everyone celebrates in their own way....)

Everyone's recovery is different, so maybe you should do a search on the site to get some responses. For me, after 4 days in the hospital on percocet, coming home was a blessing. Stuff like showering was hard (needed a chair in the shower) and I was so tired the first week I barely did anything but sleep and watch TV and read. Week by week it has improved (I'm 5 weeks out now); I don't require pain meds and my main complaint is fatigue and boredom! By week 3 I could have lived on my own if I'd had to. Maybe you could enlist a friend to be available for help, like grocery shopping.

I don't know why you're having this surgery, but does your growing list of questions include alternatives?
Unread 02-24-2004, 08:23 AM
thank you!!

Thanks for your advice - that's very helpful.

The pain and bleeding from my fibroid is just too much to deal with anymore, so my doctor explained the alternatives, saying that the only permanent remedy for the fibroids is a hysterectomy. He offered other alternatives, but admitted they may not be as effective and the fibroids may come back, so I thought, I'd rather have one procedure that I know will work and get it over with.

Am I crazy?
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Unread 02-24-2004, 08:52 AM
Deer in the headlights

Not at all. You are the only one who can decided the quality-of-life issues. I had my hyst. done because of high grade lesions, which I could have dealt with other ways, but also because my fibroids and adenomyosis caused intense pain and bleeding, and I was sick of giving over my life to it. Turned out I had cancer, so as you might imagine, I'm VERY glad to have had this surgery! But I will admit, before I knew the pathology, I agonized about whether I was "wimping out" with the surgery, and should have taken every alternate route available. Eventually I came to see that I didn't have to justify this to anyone but me, and I was the one losing days out of my life every month.

Good luck with your surgery--once I decided, I couldn't wait for it to happen!
Unread 02-24-2004, 09:02 AM
Deer in the headlights

I'm scheduled for surgery on March 1st. Having an SAH. How big are your fibroids and can the doctor do surgery laproscopically/vaginally? This would make recovery a little bit faster. I am figuring I'll be out of commission the first two weeks. I may be being optimistic about this but am planning on traveling to my sisters the middle of the third week of recovery. I think, for me, it was a hard decision and I get the feeling of "wimping out". But my conclusion was that if I wanted the pain to go away completely I had to have the surgery. Good luck.
Unread 02-24-2004, 09:15 AM
Deer in the headlights

No, you are not crazy!!! I had endometriosis and went through removal of left ovary 4 yrs ago while trying to get pregnant. It was successful and have a 3 yr old dd. When the pain returned, they gave me options of Lupron for the pain. He said that it would help, but not cure the disease, and the end result would be hysterectomy further down the road. I have 3 children and do not desire anymore, so my decision was to do the hyst. I also had to decide if I wanted the right ovary removed, due to my age of 33. He said he would leave the right ovary if any way possible, but after reading many sites on endometriosis, I am glad that he took it.

I think I made the right decision for myself and am healing nicely. I am feeling better every week. The first week was also horrendous for me. I was very sore. I did not take anything but Toradol for pain after coming home. The soreness took time to go away, and am still sore in my abdomen, but the "pain" was not bad (if there is a difference). I did not see that the pain meds were doing any good for the soreness, only making me nutty!!! The Toradol is an anti-infammatory and did wonders for the soreness.

The hyst was definitely not what I expected-Sometimes I think I am Superwoman and can recover from things quickly, but I have never had a "major" abdominal surgery and was surprised at the soreness and pain. I had all of the normal gas, constipation, etc. that everyone experiences. I feel my surgery has been pretty much run of the mill that everyone else has been experiencing.

Ask many questions and don't allow your doctor to put you off, in which I have read numerous times on this site. I have a very informative doctor that really spends time with you on your visits.

My ride home was about 1/2 hr and it was painful, especially when there were bumps in the road. I was right off of the pain pump, so I was still loaded with pain medicine. Be ready for a little pain anyway.

Definitely have someone to help you the first week, as it is the worst!! My dh works offshore and left to go back to work 5 days postop, but I have a dd that really helped me the rest of the week and is still helping with house cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. It takes more time to gain your strength than to get over the pain. You learn what you can do and can't do to prevent the pain, but regaining your strength is another story.

I hope everything goes well for you. Everybody is different and handle pain differently. I have a very high threshold for pain and do not like taking pain medications for the way they make me feel. I chose not to take anything after I got home, but could handle the pain. I am a nurse and see no sense in anyone hurting unnecessarily. My prayers are with you and let us hear from you.

TAH/RSO, appendectomy, peritoneal stripping due to endometriosis
Unread 02-24-2004, 09:16 AM
Any Non-Drug Pain Relief to Recommend?

Thank you both SO MUCH for acknowledging the "wimping out" feeling - I've been thinking I'm the only "wimp" while admiring all of you for being so courageous and deserving of sympathy!

Good luck on the 1st - that's the day I have my 2nd opinion consult, so I'll be thinking about you.

OK, next question: Has anyone tried any non-drug pain relief remedies that they'd recommend? Now don't bust your stitches laughing - I know that I'll need some heavy-duty chemicals to get me through this, but I'd like to minimize the drugs and explore alternative therapies too. Any ideas? thanks!
Unread 02-24-2004, 09:21 AM
Deer in the headlights

Sorry- I have no good answer to that one. When I'm in pain, I want instant relief, and for me, that spells percocet. I tried using Motrin, etc. and it did nothing. For a lot of the little aches and pains, I enlisted my dh, the massage therapist, who did a lot of energy work and regular muscle work on me. But those were for adjunct pains, like from being on my side too long, or from my neck hurting. For the post surgical stuff, for me it was narcotics. However, when it was time to walk away from them, I was glad to!
Unread 02-24-2004, 10:02 AM
Deer in the headlights

Every surgery and recovery is different, this is just my experience.

Like you, I was VERY worried about being on my own. I'm 43, divorced, no children. I live alone, but in a one level condo. I am in good shape physically, having worked out 3 times a week for the last couple of years. (thank God for strong legs, that first toilet trip was something else)

The hospital is about 15 minutes away. I stayed 4 days, my blood clotting meds. weren't at the right level (I have a genetic blood clotting disorder). The ride home was only slightly uncomfortable, but my sister drove very slowly. She herself, had 2 C-sections, so she was sympathetic!

Immediately after surgery, I was on a morphine pump, but actually did better after they removed it. It made me itch like crazy, and I don't think it managed the pain that well for me. Switched to Demoral, and doc sent me home with a prescription for 40 more. I used about 10 during the first week. Nothing since then, no pain, only discomfort from swelling, etc.. which most women experience. I can't take most OTH medicines, with my blood clotting drugs, so I'm glad the pain subsided.

I had prepared everything at home, before I went to the hospital. I went through my house moving anything I had to bend over to get, or lift high to get, and put it at arms reach mid-level. I stocked up on easy foods like soup, and had them, and the dishes, on the kitchen counter near the microwave.

I had practiced (as best as I could guess) on how to get in and out of bed prior to the surgery, so when I got home, no problems....just "rolled" out, as I had practiced. No problem showering either, I took 2 in the hospital.

Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to tell you that yes, some people make it fine alone. That doesn't mean everyone will. I wouldn't begin to tell anyone they won't need someone, YOU will have to decide that. For me, I was lucky, my recovery is going very well. I must also mention that I have 2 sisters nearby, who called to check on me everyday.

Good luck!
Unread 02-24-2004, 10:16 AM
Deer in the headlights

I had my TVH 1-14. So far I have had a relatively easy recovery, there are many post here from women who have very different experiences so there is no way of knowing for sure how your recovery will be. As far as the drive home, leaning the seat back helped alot. It was only 1/2 hour but was bearable. I haven't had to use pain meds since I left the hospital other than ibuprofen for the first week. That is mainly because I don't do well on pain meds, most of them make me very sick to my stomach so I would rather be uncomfortable than nauseous all the time ( especially after abdominal surgery )

I glad to see that you are getting a second opinion, that gave me alot of peace of mind. make sure all your questions are answered before hand, you need to come to peace with your decision, it is your body so only you can be the judge of what is right for you.

Good luck.

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