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Quit drinking alcohol before surgery? Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

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Unread 04-15-2011, 10:10 AM
Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

At the risk of embarrassing myself, I wondered if anyone else has quit drinking or thought about quitting alcohol use before their surgery.

I'm scheduled for a TAH on April 21 and am a fairly heavy drinker. Everyday I come home from work, have a dry martini while winding down and fixing dinner, then have one more martini in the span of time before I go to bed. I've done this for many, many years, *every day*.

I was surprised that my gyn didn't ask me about alcohol use during my appointment. She asked me if I do 'recreational drugs' (answer: no) but no specific question about alcohol. My primary care physician didn't ask during my pre-op appointment either.

Anyway, I decided last Saturday that I would quit drinking because I was concerned I might go through withdrawal symptoms or even the DTs when in the hospital after surgery (standard time in the hospital for a TAH is 2-4 days). Plus, I shouldn't be drinking alcohol along with pain meds when I get home.

So, I haven't had a drink since Saturday (5 days now) and every night I go home and wish I could have one. BTW, I had some mild withdrawal symptoms, but nothing major. I had night sweats that first night and cravings plus some anxiety.

Nobody told me to quit drinking for the surgery. It might have been easier if someone had, because right now I just keep thinking I'm putting myself through more misery than necessary. I drink alcohol to relax and make it easier to go to sleep. Now, I am very anxious when I get home, not only due to no alcohol, but because I'm freaking out about my TAH!

Anyway, I just wondered if anyone else out there has similar issues or thoughts. And if anyone else's gyn asked them about alcohol use.

Boy, am I going to feel stupid when I discover I'm the only alcoholic pre-princess out there!
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Unread 04-15-2011, 10:40 AM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

Hello! I haven't personally delt with alchoholism, but I have lived with it. You are for sure not alone!!!! I know that my Dr does ask about it, and I think you should speak with your Dr. There is NO SHAME!!! Especially since you are trying to help yourself. It doesn't sound like you're getting smashed every night or anything, but it's good that you are quitting. You're body will probably heal much better and faster. I say you should talk to your Dr. just so he/she knows. Just in case (doesn't sound like it) but if there was a problem, like seizures, something like that your Dr. is aware and can help you.
Alcohol and the pain meds you will be on, don't mix! (Which I'm sure you know). You are not going through misery that isn't necessary, I've seen someone withdrawl and it can be bad. Sounds like you're doing OK and just know the anxiousness will go away! You are NOT stupid, you are amazing! It takes great courage and strength to come out and say you've got a problem. You can do this!!!
Unread 04-15-2011, 10:46 AM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

I think you have made the right decision, for the right reasons. Good for you!!! They did ask about alcohol use at my pre-op.
I felt like this surgery is a turning point in my life. It's time to start taking care if ourselves, body, mind and spirit! Please talk to your doctor about your alcohol use. Maybe your general doctor, or a counselor. We usually have underlying reasons for 'self-medicating'. There are healthy ways to handle these issues, rather than self destructive ones, and the help is there, if you keep looking. I come from a long line of alcoholics in my family, and have had my own struggles.
I will be praying for you. Keep up the good work! Healing Hugs to you!
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Unread 04-15-2011, 10:50 AM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

You're not the only one out there, there's atleast two of us, you and me. I have two or three drinks a night after work also. I had a TLH on Monday, ask the doctor about drinking and she advised I not drink starting on Saturday as alcohol is out of you're system completely in 24 hours. My husband and I went to dinner and had drinks Friday night and I skipped Saturday and on Sunday had to do bowl prep and trust me you won't want a drink then. Haven't had a drink since surgery as I'm on lortab (allergic to NSAIDs ie aleve and advil so still on prescription) won't mix the two but I will drink as soon as i do not need the meds. Call your doctor for her advice of course! Good luck to you!
Unread 04-15-2011, 10:53 AM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

2 martinis per day isn't excessive nor "heavy", at least not in my opinion. I drink about the same in beer-form, and wasn't told to quit either (I was asked about it). My instructions only say no alcohol for 24hrs after anesthesia.

I would avoid alcohol with prescription drugs (or even OTC analgesics), as that is hard on your liver and GI tract.

Good for you to go 5 days without though, and I would say that proves you aren't an alcoholic. A true alcoholic can't stop drinking once they start (until the bottle is empty), and that doesn't sound like you anyway.

If it helps you relax, I'd say go for it
Unread 04-15-2011, 01:56 PM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

Thanks for all the positive thoughts! You guys are great! I guess for now I'll continue to take it one day at a time.

RE: drinking alcohol while on pain meds, I'm amazed that I didn't consider what that could do to my liver. I was only thinking, geez, how loopy would I be if I took some percocet with a martini? Duh.

I'm trying to look at the bright side of no alcohol, too. Think about all those extra calories I'm saving! Too bad it doesn't work when you decide to reward yourself for not drinking with a big bowl of ice cream every night, though! Oh well.
Unread 04-15-2011, 08:22 PM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

I was told no alcohol for two days prior to my op. I had to forgot my weekend glass of wine.
Unread 04-16-2011, 03:10 PM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

Same here, no alchohol 48 hours prior to surgery. I thought it might have been because alchohol thins your blood a little. I didn't even think about the pain meds-alchohol combo!!
Unread 04-16-2011, 03:37 PM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

I've had 4 breast surgeries, and each of those had pre-op instructions to abstain from alcohol two weeks prior to surgeries. I think it hampers the healing process.

A few months ago I decided to give up my two glasses of wine/day. The first few weeks weren't easy, but I don't miss it now (hard to believe, right?7). It will get easier, so hang in there
Unread 04-16-2011, 06:06 PM
Re: Quit drinking alcohol before surgery?

I'm pretty much in the same boat. Nobody said a thing about not drinking x amount of days before surgery. And yes, both my regular doctor and my surgeon did ask if I do ever drink. I pretty much have 5 or 6 mixed drinks a week. I eat out a lot and usually order something before dinner. Neither doctor said to change that, only that I was not allowed to drink while on any pain medication of any kind. Makes sense to me!
Honestly, I'm not sitting around wishing for a martini at all at this point. I think there is something to the whole pattern of having a drink with dinner that works for me. Once I'm not in that pattern, the martini seems a bit out of place. I wonder if it will be like that for you as well.

I never thought to ask the question about when to stop having alchohol. That's a great question!

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