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Realistic About Going Back to Work? Realistic About Going Back to Work?

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Unread 03-14-2012, 06:58 PM
Realistic About Going Back to Work?

Hi Everyone, I've been doing a lot of reading here and finding it helpful. I know everyone's recovery is unique. I tend to be a pretty quick healer and have a pretty high tolerance to pain.

I just scheduled my DaVinci hysterectomy (retaining ovaries) due to problems the past few years with fibroids, HEAVY bleeding, clots, pain, irregular and FREQUENT periods, etc. My fibroids have recently grown and are causing more pain and problems so I am looking forward to the surgery.

I'm scheduled for early morning on May 14th (Monday). I will have the rest of that week off and will devote myself to rest and recovery. I teach college and am scheduled to teach a summer class on campus (my other summer classes are online) that begins on Monday, May 21st--a week after my surgery. It's just one class that meets 4 days a week (Mon-Thurs) for two hours. I live 15 minutes from campus, so it will mean about 3 1/2 to 4 hours of time investment, including drive time for four days a week. I'm figuring I can do it--I'll be able to be home by 1:00 p.m. and have the rest of the day to rest and do things from a reclining position if necessary! Is that realistic? I really welcome any and all advice.

We also have an 85-lb Pyrenees/Leonberger mix that I walk every day for 30-45 minutes. I know I won't be doing that immediately after the surgery, but when do you all who have been through this think that daily walks with her are realistic?

Thanks in advance.
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Unread 03-14-2012, 07:42 PM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

Hi there - I had TLH-BSO and am now 7 weeks out. I don't want to be pessimistic and you're absolutely right that everyone heals at her own pace, but I think teaching the course the week after your surgery is going to be tough. I had a great short surgery and have had a great recovery (for which I am very grateful). I was able to go out (was driven by family) two days after surgery and pretty much since, but in the first two weeks would get extremely tired (a tired I had never known before), almost to the point of feeling like I was going to pass out from just standing/walking the little bit in the store, etc that I was doing. I think it's really important that if you plan to teach that week after, to be prepared for someone possibly to help you carry your things (honestly, I couldn't have carried more than my purse and I am pretty strong/in good shape), you'll need to park very close to the building, etc. There are a lot of things I never realized how much I took for granted until those first two weeks.

By my third week I was feeling better but still being very careful to follow doctors orders to not lift too much, etc etc. I'm 7 weeks now and still struggle pushing heavy doors at stores, restaurants, work, etc but I feel pretty much back to my normal self.

I would not recommend planning to walk your dog for several weeks. The reason is that if your dog starts, pulls on the leash even a bit, etc you will really need to use your abdominal muscles and I found that that (maybe just me) caused a lot of discomfort "down below" and would kind of make me feel wiped out (kind of like pushing the heavy door even now). I have 3 dogs and was tempted to take one out with me a couple times when I went walking during my first few weeks, but thought of all the "what ifs" and decided not to.

Also, just to mention, the hardest part of my recovery was dealing with my dogs and feeding them, refilling the water bowls, etc. I just ended up bending a lot more than I should have (though my own doc never said don't bend, a lot of women on here said their docs said not to). If you can plan ahead well for all that, maybe get a self filling water station for your dog, placing your dog's food on top of the counter to scoop out and then placing the bowl on a little bit of a raised area, etc, to help prevent all the bending, you'll probably feel better for it.

Again, the above is just my experience - Wishing you the best!
Unread 03-14-2012, 08:35 PM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

Hi there

I personally took 6 weeks off and was glad I did. The first 2 weeks were hard, I would get tired from just showering and going out to lunch and would need to rest the rest of the day. Week 3 & 4 I could do a little more but still took it easy. By the end of week 5 I just started to feel complete normal again and then week 6 was a week just for me.

I think you might be better off with the time off and not trying to teach. It might be way to much.

Best of luck to you! I hope it all goes well.
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Unread 03-14-2012, 08:45 PM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

Thanks for the feedback Debbie and Carolinagrl! I was getting nervous about it reading other posts. I had my tubes tied twelve years ago (laproscopic) and remember the first 48 hours being rough, but not so bad after that.

The good thing is I can cancel my first 5-week on campus class and focus on the online ones from home. I do have a second five-week on-campus class, but that one won't start until six weeks after the surgery so I should be OK by that time to handle 4 hours a day on campus.
You guys did get me thinking about all of the flights of stairs I walk up and down to and from class and my office, the heavy doors to open, etc.

Thankfully my husband can help with the dog (feeding her, letting her in and out, etc.) and around the house stuff, but he has had two strokes (one major and one minor) and still deals with balance and joint pain issues himself, so he doesn't walk our dog for fear of her pulling him over if he's a little shaky! Sounds like she'll have to settle for daily "fetch" play sessions with him for a few weeks.

Thanks again for the input. I appreciate it.
Unread 03-15-2012, 12:15 AM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

I took 6 weeks off from work for my surgery and went back at week 5 (Part-time). If at all possible, take 4-6 weeks off from work (you owe it to yourself to give your body the best recovery. You deserve it. My suggestion is that you get some one else to walk your dog. You're worth the time it takes for your body to heal correctly - don't rush it.
Keep us posted.
Unread 03-15-2012, 09:19 PM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

Thank you for the input! I did e-mail my dean about canceling my summer on-campus classes and making it an online one instead (I'm sure I'll be able to handle the laptop from home!). I agree that I was probably being overly optimistic. My husband is going to start going on walks with our dog, Brady, and I in the next few weeks so she can get used to him taking the reigns for a bit. He's had two strokes (one major in 2005 and one minor this past fall) and still has balance/joint pain issues, so I worry about that, but if I can tag along, and he can hold the leash for some short walks with her I think we'll all be fine.
Unread 03-16-2012, 07:55 AM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

I'm curious about this too. My LAVH (keeping ovaries) is scheduled for March 28th. It's a Thursday, so I plan on being out of work Friday - the following Sunday. I am praying I can get back to work at least for half days or even a few hours each day the week after. I was recently promoted to a Director position, and I really hate to miss too much work.
Unread 03-16-2012, 08:19 AM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

My job is very physically demanding so I took 8 weeks off and am worried about going back at that point because of what my doc told me can happen. I did great the first few days, no sleeping during the day, up moving constantly, caring for kids, etc but by day 6 realized that was a mistake! Now my family thinks I'm OK and don't need much help and I'm miserable! Take time off, the danger of not resting properly is severe.
Unread 03-16-2012, 08:42 AM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

erin, has the doctor given you back-to-work restrictions yet? They told me at my scheduling that I would need 6-8 weeks off, possibly 4. I only work part-time as it is, 4-6 hours in my day.

LAVH can still be a bit in-depth, if that makes sense. They will still have to repair your vaginal vault cuff, peritineum, etc. I see a lot of ladies say that just being physically drained for the first two weeks is an issue. Also, some docs may restrict driving as well. And, I have seen that a lot of people want to push themselves thinking that there is not a lot of external incisions, so they are ready. but the reality is, you have a LOT of internal cutting, sewing, and repairs.

So, am I understanding that you hope to return after a week and a half for half days? That may be too soon, but the doctor will be able to tell you what they expect for your case.

Good luck!
Unread 03-16-2012, 08:57 AM
Re: Realistic About Going Back to Work?

I had the LAVH, I can tell you that when they say it takes 6-8 weeks they really mean it. Everyone does heal differently but when I went to my 6 week check the nurse said it almost always takes at least 5-6 weeks before you start feeling good. Please be realistic. You only have one chance to heal right. Your health is worth way more than anything else.

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