My daVinci Surgery Story 2.29.2012
I posted this in another forum and someone suggested that it might be helpful to post it here...
My surgery was February 29, 2012.
Reason for surgery: painful periods, lots of bleeding, bladder and intestinal issues. The cysts I had were pushing on my bladder and squeezing out my intestines.
Type of Surgery: I had the daVinci robot assisted surgery. They removed three large cysts, my uterus that was filled with cysts and cervix, but left in my ovaries. I had lots of scaring inside from cysts that had previously burst and my ovaries were fused to my abdominal wall and uterus. The scarring was removed and the ovaries were "wrapped up" nicely and returned to my abdomen. My uterus had to be removed in tact b/c no matter how my doctor tried, she couldn't get a sample of it to do a biopsy before the surgery. She tried one more time while I was on the operating table, but my uterus was out of reach. (If you don't already know this...a biopsy has to be done beforehand if there is any reason to believe cancer cells are present. If they chop up a cancerous cyst to remove through the holes made in the abdomen, then cancer cells can spread in the body.) Since my doctor had to remove the uterus whole, she pulled it out through my vagina, rather than slice my tummy, and I ended up with an episiotomy. Not fun, but thankfully just two stitches. She made that decision on the table telling me afterwards that the episiotomy was a better overall choice than slicing open my tummy. I would have to agree!
Post Op: I had a foley catheter overnight (hated it,) and it was removed in the morning so that I could pee and be discharged. I had tremendous neck pain and pain under my ribs and was told that it was trapped air. They blow air into your abdominal cavity to preform the surgery. The pain in my neck was worse than the pain in my belly. That lasted about two days.
First few days at home: After one night in the hospital I came home. I got up and did gentle strolls around my house every few hours. I got exhausted quickly. My belly was quite swollen and I had gained about 10 pounds from the surgery. I'm a Dietitian and my hospital experience helped my out quite a bit. I knew that I needed to drink as much water as possible to flush out the sodium from the hospital drip. I've been drinking about 12 glasses (yep, 96 ounces) of water per day and it really helps. I lost the gained weight very quickly and I'm about two pounds under the weight that I was when I went into the hospital.
Pain mgmt: I got off my pain pills as quickly as I could. I was on them the day I came home, but started weaning off by day two. I took Motrin instead and switching over worked out fine for me. The main reason I did this was b/c most pain meds cause constipation and with the episiotomy going on down there and my ab pain, I didn't want to mess around with being constipated. I also took a stool softener every night to make sure things could go smoothly in that department. I also took Gas X every morning and every night faithfully. This was actually part of the pain management b/c that gas was painful!
Episiotomy: Here's what worked for me. My doctor gave me a squeeze bottle, to rinse my nether regions after going to the bathroom. I used it religiously. I filled it with warm water and a saline solution so that is was soothing. After each bathroom visit I rinsed, then blotted, then I used my dryer to cooly and gently dry off. At night I slept au'natural to let things air out. At about day 10 I finally woke up without the pain down there and I could finally sit in chair without pain.
Diet: Again, this is where my Dietitian background comes in helpful...I've always tried to eat healthy, mostly vegetarian meals, but my background also told me to step up the protein to help with my healing. I've been eating at least three ounces of some type of meat daily when normally I eat meat about once per week. I've eaten healthier red meats and mostly chicken and tons and tons of fruits and veggies. I haven't had any cravings for junk food and for that I'm grateful. Since I'm not able to exercise like I was before the surgery, there is no room for wasted calories. Also, the sodium/salt in junk foods would contribute to the swelly belly and I'm trying to get rid of that! I'm still drinking 12 glasses of water or more per day. (Yes I pee a lot, but it's really important.) I really think that all that water intake has helped my swelling tremendously.
Exercise: On day 6 I tried a walk outside, big mistake. My tummy swelled quite a bit and I ended up in bed the rest of the day. I returned to strolls around the house and then very short walks outside after about day 10 for me. On day twelve I got on my spin bike and rode a very easy mile, then yesterday and today I was able to do 45 minutes (at an extremely easy speed). My doctor okay'd this b/c I was a heavy exerciser before the surgery. I also do pelvic floor exercises and very light abdominal exercises. This is okay for me b/c of my previous exercise profile and it might not work for a lot of people, make sure your doctor gives you the okay for any exercise.
Swelly Belly: Ugh, I came home looking extremely swollen, then it went down pretty quick. (The early swelling is due to the sodium in the drip at that hospital, some of it is also due to white blood cells trying to heal you.) Drinking water flushes the sodium out. I would say it's a bit of an up and down situation now depending on how much I do during the day. At about day 10 I started waking up with a somewhat flat tummy, but it usually swells a bit around 4pm. I've been able to fit into my jeans comfortably for a few days, but I'm still happily living in my yoga pants until the jeans are a must. I did purchase post maternity undies that are a godsend. They hold me in so nicely, mostly just feels good to have that gentle support. (The type I got from Pea in the Pod go really high up, almost to my bra, then after I no longer need them I can fold them over kind of like yoga pants and still wear them later.)
Today: Still wearing the post maternity undies, feel like my episiotomy and nether regions are healing and fairly pain free. Tummy still swells a bit in afternoon. I mostly just feel like I'm full, no pain. I'm becoming more active by increasing my spinning and walks. Sticking with my healthy diet and will slowly decrease protein intake in the next two weeks. LOTS of water. Taking two Motrin in the am and pm, Gas X in the pm mostly.
I know this was a long entry, hoping I got enough info in there to help someone else who needs it.