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TVH - bladder sling, rectocele repair, complication, pain killer addiction

From the Vaginal Hysterectomy Stories Articles List


I am posting this summary of my experience as a datapoint. It is a thank you to the organizers and hard working women at hystersisters - I have used this site quite a bit even though I posted only once.

I do have a wonderful pen-pal who contacted me from this site because we had surgery dates together. She has been a great source of reassurance. I don't know how she found out about our surgery dates being the same, but I am very grateful that she contacted me.


Now the facts (& some opinions):

About me:
39 years old
good physical health - had been training for a mini-triathlon prior to first surgery
5'8", 165 pounds
Access to very good medical facilities & doctors
Good support system

Kept ovaries, vaginal surgery, bladder sling, rectoceol repair - this is not nearly as invasive as a total abdominal surgery, so please keep that in mind.

I had abdominal pain for over a year, with unusually painful periods even before that. In April 2005, I had an appendectomy and endometriosis ablation. The pain persisted after the April surgery, increasing in intensity such that it necessitated taking 5 mg oxycocone two and three times a day. (See below for discussion of pain killer addiction concerns)

I am now two weeks post surgery (it was on Sept 26, 2005) and pain free. I hiked 3.5 miles, (1000 feet in elevation) last week, painted a room, and am going swimming today. My doctor said it was ok. This site says not to do those things under any circumstances - I agree, even though I did not listen. I may yet pay for this with debilitating adhesions.

I had an unusual post-surgical respiratory complication that I need to mention, just for the completeness. The complication is extremely rare, almost exclusively happening in 18 year old men. I feel that it was due to the fact that I am a somwhat serious swimmer.

As I was extubated, I inhaled and my chest strength was able to overcome the natural suction created by the procedure. I pulled blood and secretions into my lungs. As I became aware of my surroundings, I was coughing 2-3 tablespoons of bloody mucus with each cough and my oxygen saturation percentages were critical. Diruetics were given and I narrowly avoided ICU. I was on oxygen for a week. I feel that biofeedback also helped - I watched the saturation levels and made sure that I breathed deeply enough to keep them as high as possible.

A note about pain killer addiction concerns: I was very worried that my oxycodone use would cause me to be addicted. I posted my only note to the website regarding this concern. There was some debate amongst the responders about what "addiction" meant. Here is my opinion, having experienced it.

I was physically addicted, but not psychologically addicted. When I stopped the oxycodone, I was nauseated, had the sweats, and "needed" the drug. It took three full days to get over the withdrawl symptoms. In conclusion, I think it takes some serious effort to get off the pain killers, but it is absolutely worth it. I am now much more clear-headed.

Other than the above, my experience at the hospital and during the first few days of recovery were textbook. I feel that it is very important to log your painkiller use when you get home, so that you can take full advantage without overdosing. I needed to have my husband look at my log and do the calculations sometimes because I was not able to do so.

Best wishes to all and thank you for your help.


10-10-2005 - 11:53 AM


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