A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

12 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Surgery

The other day, I was approached by a young woman on Facebook. She sent me a message because she’s going undergoing a similar procedure (well, actually the same procedure) and she wanted to know what were things she should look out for. I sent her a pretty lengthy message and I’ve cleaned up my answers here.

If you’re going through this, I hope that this helps! Happy reading! 🙂

1. Ask lots of questions!

This is for everyone! The hospital staff, your insurance company, family, etc. Specifically, you want to know about hospital procedure (especially with the anesthesia), how many days you’ll have to spend in the hospital, visiting hours, and other things that might concern you. I didn’t think of this until after I had my procedure but ask things like, “Will I be in a recovery room alone or will I have to share?” Another thing that I didn’t think to ask is whether I would be at a “teaching hospital” and if any of the staff have shadows or students. If so, ask if this will this impact your procedure or your recovery, and if they say yes, ask them in what way?

2. Take it easy!

It is a major surgery so only do as much as you possibly can without getting too fatigued. Do NOT (under any circumstances) push yourself or allow someone to push you to move or do something that you may not be ready to do. I didn’t take it as easy as I should have and as a result, I pulled some of my internal incisions/sutures opened. Because of that, I was put on bedrest (which was absolutely boring) and I have to be watched for more scarring. So rest!

3. Do everything you can to avoid constipation.

People tell you this but they never tell you how. Drink lots of clear fluids (preferably water and apple juice) & take 1 Colace pill before every meal. One thing they don’t tell you is that your pain relievers may cause constipation and you can get ahead of that by taking the colace before you eat your meals. Also, if your hospital lets you pick the food that you’ll get to eat (we had a menu and could choose our own combinations), pick the vegetables. Always…pick the vegetables! If you get nothing else from this, you want to make it as easy as possible for you to go to the bathroom because you can’t push to urinate faster or evacuate your bowels. You have to sit there…and wait. And if your nurses are anything like mine, they’ll keep asking you if you’re okay (which gets annoying). So up your fiber intake and drink water.

4. Rest up…rest up!

When you get home, rest. Rest on your couch. Rest in a reclining chair. Rest…don’t do anything except rest (okay, actually do what your doctor tells you to do but rest). I’m not sure how high your bed is but I learned that if you are lying on something, you want it as low as possible. You won’t really be able to use your core muscles for the first few weeks (they’ll tell you to use your arms to lift yourself) so you’ll have to be creative in getting up. Beds are generally higher than couches, so you increase your risk of tearing your incision and you don’t want that.

5. Eat smaller portions.

The portions that you normally eat should probably be reduced. You won’t be moving that much for the first few weeks, so don’t eat like you normally would. It only leads to constipation and unnecessary weight gain.

6. Snack and snack on soft stuff.

In addition to making sure your snacks are easily digestible, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have to work hard to eat them. Your meds will make you sleepy. Nothing worse than struggling to stay awake while eating a snack. So what do you do? Get lots of snacks that are easily digestible (i.e., pudding, jello, applesauce especially, etc.) because those will help when you have to take your medication and it is not meal time. One of the things I experienced was vomiting due to taking meds on an empty stomach (don’t do that) and I learned that you use your stomach when you vomit. So everything about that experience was painful.

7. Wear comfy clothes & super pads!

That might be a bit TMI but who am I kidding, everything about this procedure is TMI. Wear loose clothing and invest in some heavy-duty sanitary napkins. You will experience some bleeding and this is normal. But you want the overnight or super absorbent napkins for the bleeding because they hold more and you can’t use tampons.

8. Don’t lift anything heavy.

Heavy here really means like you have to strain your arm muscle. They’ll tell you twenty pounds, so you definitely want to only pick up anything under than weight. But if you ask me, just stay away from holding small kids or heavy books anything.

9. Pillows as props are the rule of thumb.

Especially when you’re sleeping. They’ll have you start to sleep on your side after a few days. When they do this, use a pillow or two behind your back. It helps with the pressure. And it also helps you in getting up.

10. You’ll have to roll to get up…but not really.

When you go to get up, use your legs and arms. I started to do this trick where I would literally pull my knees to my chest, scoot to the edge of whatever I was on, and push up with my arms. If you consider yourself to be of the “I have no upper body strength” club, then start doing push-ups. You’ll thank me in the end.

11. Ask if they’ll give you Benadryl with your pain relievers.

The pain relievers while great will probably make you itchy . That’s normal. If you feel that, ask for Benadryl IMMEDIATELY! I now have scars on my legs because I scratched them after I would take my pain relievers (not realizing that it was the medication making me itchy). Once I figured that out though, they gave me the Benadryl and it was no problem.

12. Shower time & washing your hair can be tricky!

When you bathe or shower, I suggest getting a bath chair and sitting, but that’s only if you have a problem with standing up for a long period of time. I had that issue. Try to get your hair done in a style where you won’t have to worry about it for a few weeks. I couldn’t even hold my arms up to wash my hair until like week 3 or 4 of recovery (I had braids so it wasn’t that bad).

Other things that I shared:

  • 6-8 weeks is a normal recovery time.
  • Be careful because with an abdominal myomectomy because your lower abdomen WILL be numb (they cut your nerves so you can’t feel anything).
  • Wearing heels is out of the question — for a few weeks (just thought I would throw that in as a freebie).

Here’s to happy healing! If you have any questions, post them in the comments section.

~Ms. C. Jayne

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14 responses to “12 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My Surgery

  1. Miss C. Jayne May 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I forgot a very important thing (and I was only reminded because I sneezed) — when you cough or sneeze, hold a pillow against your abdomen and lean forward. It won’t hurt as much.

    ~Ms. C. Jayne

  2. one name, 2 words (@AmandaMichelle) May 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    i didn’t have a myomectomy, but my laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy meant my recovery was pretty similar (except i was not allowed bedrest – please keep in mind this was a diff’t procedure, so don’t be confused!). fortunately, the recovery time for laparoscopies is about 2-3 weeks, so i was able to do more, sooner. however that 2-3 weeks really meant “i can walk without shuffling *as much* and open the door on my own”, not “go for a bike ride or jog” type of recovery.

    • Miss C. Jayne May 10, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Yeah; my extended bedrest came from the fact that I was hard-headed and did more than I should have done. If people take nothing else from this, I really hope they take it easy the first two weeks especially.

      ~Ms. C. Jayne

  3. Jenna S September 9, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Hi Miss C. Jayne, I wish I had found your blog a bit sooner. I am 5 weeks post op and am still so exhausted and sore. Sitting for long periods of time is uncomfortable. My stomach is still swollen but I’ve noticed when I do push myself it gets really swollen. Was your experience similar? I thought I’d be so much further in my recovery and am nervous as I’m scheduled to return to work next week! – Jenna

    • Miss C. Jayne September 10, 2013 at 12:01 am

      Hi Jenna!

      Thank you for taking time to read my post. I experienced something similar during my recovery process and as a result, I went to the emergency room. It turned out not to be anything serious (like internal bleeding) so I was thankful for that. However, I did have to follow-up with my surgeon and as a result of that, I wasn’t cleared to go back to work. During my recovery, I moved a bit too much and didn’t realize that I could have a problem with my incision internally (my procedure was actually like a C-section). When I was checked, my internal stitches had loosened up and my doctor was concerned with extra scar tissue forming.

      My advice would be to request a follow-up appointment to clear your issues and make certain that you can go back to work with no problem. I am concerned that it’s been five weeks and you can’t sit for long periods of time so you definitely want to follow-up.

      ~Miss C. Jayne

  4. Pingback: The More Things Change | A Glimpse Into My Life

  5. Kema Nichole February 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for this. Much appreciated. 🙂

  6. Natalia November 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for the info. I am one week post myomectomy – they removed almost 70 fibroids! I agree with Miss C. Jayne – keeping your bowels moving is of the utmost importance. Not only will bloating (which have very much so) be uncomfortable, but it will put pressure against your incision and cause more pain. Drink LOTS of fluids – I am almost chronically dehydrated so this is something I have to force myself to do. The roll is a good suggestion – I hated to get out of bed but drinking all those fluids force you have to urinate frequently, hence rolling out of the chair, bed, couch, etc. I am going to start to use this trick!

    I also suffered from Anemia pre- and post surgery and ended up having to get a transfusion because developed severe headaches and could hardly walk or talk. I’m better now, but I did learn my lesson…don’t push it! Definitely take the time to rest – it is the most important part of the recovery process!

  7. Nylaglamrocks December 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Excellent article. I had the exact procedure and was released from the hospital yesterday. Wish I would have read this article earlier. My house is prepped to address everything you mentioned in the article.

  8. blessed December 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Wonderful article, I had myomectomy (c-section) December 19th…Procedure went really really…She is right..Listening to your body, rest and give your body a chance to heal…Plenty of fluids is so important…I am healing quickly, I believe listening to Doctors instructions, walking slowing after catherter is removed helps to get your muscles moving, strengthened and blood in addition to urine flowing normally and allow you to pass gas which is the one thing my nurses and doctors was waiting for before I could be released from the hospital.

  9. lashaunda December 8, 2015 at 1:03 am

    Hi 😊😊 this info is very helpful…its been approximately three days after my surgery and im having a bad pain under my right rib when i get up and problems breathing…is that normal? And is it okay now for me to sleep on my side? Will I be able to go to school in a week?

    • Ms. C. Jayne December 8, 2015 at 1:12 am

      I would definitely get to a doctor/hospital immediately. Pain in the chest area and problems breathing could mean something larger (like a blood clot). Get to a doctor ASAP! And I remained on bed rest for at least a week.

  10. Amanda December 10, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Ms. C. Jayne – this is an excellent article and so true! I’m 3 days post op now – the exact same procedure as you – and your advice is great! Thank you. I realized I have been pushing myself too hard and need to rest more to avoid loosening my internal stitches. Thank you!

  11. K Ellison May 17, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Hi,

    I know this is an old article… But I just had this procedure done about 5 weeks ago. I have a few events to attend this Thur & Fri, do you think it would be ok to wear heels?

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