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LAVH - What's a realistic recovery time? LAVH - What's a realistic recovery time?

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Unread 10-05-2002, 07:03 PM
LAVH - What's a realistic recovery time?

Hello Ladies. After lurking on this website since August, I am finally ready to ask a question of my own.

I am scheduled for a LAVH on 10/23/02. What is a realistic time to expect for recovery?

The doctor indicated that I could be back at work after two weeks, but he also told me, it could be 4-6 weeks.

As background info., this year, I had HGSIL/CIN-2 on a PAP, then CIN-3/Carcinoma-in-Situ on a colposcopy, and when the dr. did a conization, he also found AGUS. Apparently abnormal glandular cells are known to grow faster/meaner than abnormal squamous cells (per the gyn. and the onc./gyn). Since I don't intend to have children, a hyst. (retaining ovaries) is the recommended treatment. I have had several "bad" PAP smears in the past, with freezings and cuttings that resolved the problem for a few years, but the bad stuff always came back.

I would appreciate any responses as to LAVH recovery time. I am hoping for 2 weeks, but trying to be realistic. I am 39, normal weight (5'4", 110 lbs.), no other known health problems.
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Unread 10-05-2002, 07:46 PM
LAVH - What's a realistic recovery time?


I'm glad you asked this question because my DR says from 1 to 6 weeks depending on the patient's level of healing. Some return to work in 2 weeks while some others need more additional weeks.

Absolute healing usually takes from 6 months to a year to be your full original self.

You will have to play it by ear, by listening to your body and knowing when you are at your limits. Most DRs allow their patients to have a say in this call for returning to work. Ask your DR if you will have an input.

I personally feels that it depends on the type of work you do. I'm sure those that work in a office enviroment are able to return to work sooner that others that work in more physically demanding jobs.

Best wishes to you
Unread 10-05-2002, 09:16 PM
Uneventful recovery - long

I am one of the LAVH's that says "Wow! I'm doing wonderful!" I had an easy, uneventful recovery. I think the answer to your question depends on what you expect when you say recovery. I have felt so exhausted for the last several years because of the heavy bleeding and anemia. The only real "pain" that I suffered before surgery was a continual nagging little icepick in my right side where a cyst was growing and touching other organs. It started this past spring and got worse all summer.

I woke up in recovery and realized that my pain was 8-10 in the bad menstrual cramps category, but the pain pump took care of that. After the first 2 minutes, I never hurt as bad after surgery as I did before. In terms of activity I was extremely careful to devote the first 2 weeks totally to myself. My goal was to heal correctly and chase good health again by planning my nutrition and vitamin supplements and resting, resting, resting.

After the first week I could sit at the computer for 30 minutes or so before I would stiffen up in the abdominal area, start to swell and get tender and sore. I could go out for a ride with my husband and get ice cream. I could walk around our block if I rested for an hour afterwards.

The second week I was dropping fistfuls of laundry over the railing to the lower level and then carrying a few things at a time to the washer until I had a load. I was NOT going to lift anything that would hurt me. I could get 2 loads done over the course of the day and my husband would carry the basket up when he got home and the next day I would get them folded a little bit at a time. I was also taking 2 hour naps and reading several books a week.

Week three I could be up all day if I was willing to be sore and tender at night. If I took an afternoon nap I was OK to stir up simple suppers if DH put the pans up on the counter before he left in the morning. I spent 2 hours at the computer sometimes before I had to stop sitting up.

I went back to work exactly 5 weeks to the day. I was sure that I would fall over dead tired at the end of the day. I actually felt pretty good. I have an office job, but it involves carrying thick files around and walking a great deal. I was very careful not to lift more than 2 files at a time. Around 4:30 I would start to get swelly belly and then if I didn't stop and rest I would be sore and tender. Never as bad as PreOp, but bad enough I wouldn't do anything except veg in front of the TV that evening.

Today I am 2 days short of 6 weeks. DH and I went out to dinner last night after work. We stopped in the bookstore on the way home. I got up today and did the Walmart run - groceries and all. Got them all put away and had to sit for almost an hour. I wore my regular PreOp Dockers and they are about an inch too big around the waist now, but when I swell up they start to get a little tight. I fixed dinner, lifting the big pan up from the lower cupboard myself. Had to take 2 Advil at supper time after all the activity of the day. After the grocery trip I ran a couple of loads of laundry, still without any heavy lifting. When DH got home from unloading the boat and storing it for the winter, I helped him unload the car by making a dozen trips with all the really light stuff.

What I'm trying to convey is that I accomplished many things today and felt great most of the time. I had to stop and rest several times and sometimes my hurt. But tonight DH and I watched a movie and when it was over I was actually dancing around the room because I felt so good.

I still refuse to lift anything that weighs more than 10-15#. I stop and rest when I get tired. Dr has released me to try anything I feel up to trying, but I'm not ready to run any marathons yet. DH and I have tried all the fun stuff (with Dr's permission) and it's already almost as good as ever. It would be better if I wasn't still a little scared to go all out.

Hope all these little details help you visualize your own life after. I found that projecting my mind into the future when I was PreOp helped a lot with the jitters. I just kept thinking about how good I was going to feel next week and it got me through.
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Unread 10-06-2002, 04:54 AM
LAVH - What's a realistic recovery time?

I have to tell you with my c-section the same week I was scrubbing outside lawn furniture I felt sooooooooo good- of course like an idiot I started to bleed heavily and got reprimanded when I called the maternity floor back!! This time around.....I went in thinking the 4 week range because thats what the Doc thought, well, waking up from surgery I was told by same Doc " you are looking at 6-8 weeks if you comply to recovery orders". I am almost 3 weeks now and there is NO WAY I am ready to do anything much- your body will attack you- LOL if you do. You need this time to heal the inside.....don't rush it as we only have one time to heal and we can't do it over. Like me- I had c-section, misbehaved and ended up with adhesions on my bladder and my bowel was adhered to my back......I WILL behave this time to avoid anymore surgery. Not to mention my hubby is working so hard to keep me behaving- doing everything, and I wouldn't want to screw up my healing process and possibly have to watch him do-it-all again. Take it easy and let your body and Doc be your guide. Love, Julie
Unread 10-06-2002, 08:40 AM

My surgery was 9/12 and I'm probably not going back to work until 10/16. I have a desk job and fortunately will be able to get up and walk around whenever I need to, but I still have days where I'm really tired. I know some people do go back at 2 and 3 weeks but I'm glad I've got the extra time. I felt better the first week than I did the second, probably due to the pain meds doing their job the first week. Jmoore did a great job describing physical abilities at different time in the recovery; pretty consistent with how I've been, too.

A couple of things to keep in mind - you only get ONE CHANCE to heal right and increased activity can lead to increased spotting. Overdoing it too soon can lead to adhesions, set backs and a longer overall recovery.

Frankly, I'm a workaholic and the first couple of weeks it killed me to be home. But I'm still at the point where a busy day at home will just wipe me out. Just on Friday I went driving around and out to lunch with a friend, then went to my best friend's house that night for about 3 hours. What did I do Saturday? Absolutely nothing, unless you count napping!

My point is, don't be overly optimistic about returning to work that soon. People tend to consider LAVH "easier" than the abdominal version. And while it's true that the external incisions heal much quicker, there's just as much that's happened internally for us as for those that had abdominal hyst's. You still have hundreds of stitches inside that need to heal, bowels need to 'resettle' in the new space, etc.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your surgery!
Unread 10-06-2002, 08:44 AM
LAVH - What's a realistic recovery time?

The basic difference between the LAVH and a TAH is the type of incision you have, and the care of said incision. All the inside cutting and stitching is basically the same. Count on 6-8 weeks, be happily surprised if it is a shorter recovery for you. Mine was on the long side of average, at 8 weeks. Then I still got tired easily, and the discomfort at my belly button lasted til week 10.

Be cautious about deciding when to go back to work. Don't go with how you feel until after the 2 week mark, since the anesthesia can remain active in your system for about that long, making you feel better than you really feel. It doesn't happen to everyone, but is common, for you to feel better the first 2 weeks than you do the 3-4th weeks.
Unread 10-06-2002, 05:49 PM
LAVH - recovery time

Thanks for your responses. I've gotten the "don't push it" message loud and clear. I am not looking forward to the downtime, but I definitely want to heal right.

I hope things go well for all of you.



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