I can’t believe it’s now been four weeks since I had my abdominal myomectomy and I’m now back at work. It’s pure craziness how fast that time flew by! Did it for you as well? I was initially scared that time was going to halt to a crawl, but in fact it was quite the opposite! I remember when my mom told me that she was staying until the 8th of July, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, why are you staying for so long?” But I am SO SO glad she did, I absolutely loved having her around and so happy that we got to have this time together, plus she was a total lifesaver! Thank you, Mom!! We also managed to have some fun and not get on each other’s throats (wow, I really must be an adult now!), so I am so sad that she’s back in NY. I am seriously contemplating moving back to NY just so I can be close to my family again, although I’m not sure B is too thrilled with that idea..!
Now, the purpose of this post isn’t to reminisce about my mom, but really to share my experience in hopes that someone out there (hello internet people, are you there?) can read my story and take some comfort from it. I know that leading up to the surgery, I tried to read as much as I could on what to expect and most importantly the recovery process. I think I may have freaked myself out a bit! My experience will not mean you’ll have the same of course, but it’s not all doom and gloom as I read!
An abdominal myomectomy is a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids – also called leiomyomas. These are common noncancerous growths that appear in the uterus, usually during childbearing years, but can occur at any time. Source
I elected to have this surgery because I want to have kids, or I hope to have kids in the future. When the ultrasound was performed, I knew I had a couple of large fibroids, but after the surgery and when it was properly measured, the largest was 6.5 x 5 x 7 cm big. That’s pretty big, it’s like the size of a tennis ball! Wow! And can you believe that some have ones that are larger than that?!?! Holy crap! In any case, these pesky fibroids would hamper my attempts at getting pregnant and/or most likely result in a miscarriage. Let’s face it, I’m no spring chicken and time is of the essence, so my decision was made.
The surgery was performed via cesarean. I’m by no means the first to have had a cesarean, nor will I be the last. I wasn’t too worried about this procedure per se, I was more worried about that tennis ball that was going to be complicated to remove. Luckily, all went well and I’ve been told that they are also non-cancerous. So that’s amazing news!
The morning of the surgery, I had my first experience using a bed pan. Have you ever used one? Well, I really hope you don’t have to, nor do I hope to ever use one again. It was such a weird experience just letting yourself pee like that. It honestly felt as if I were peeing all over myself. And the nurse was in the pre-surgery room with me, minding her own business, whilst I tried to let it out. HAHA They then wheeled me into the surgery room and the gas was applied. Going under general anesthesia is such a trip. It’s funny how you are able to remember those last few seconds and then hours of your life are magically gone. And how is that they can just wake you up when they tell you to? Life’s mysteries, I tell you!
The moment I woke up, the pain immediately hit me. And I really needed to pee. That’s pretty much the first thing that came out of my mouth when I woke up. The nurses told me to just go. Umm, how? Well! Another first for me, I was hooked up to a catheter. Again, another strange feeling of wanting to pee like crazy and then next thing I knew, the urge was gone and my pee was collecting in a plastic bag. After that shock wore off, I have to say, I quite enjoyed not having to go to the bathroom and that this tube was just doing the work for me. HAHA Sorry if this is TMI, but no mincing words here!
Back in the room, I had my IV drip and morphine drip hooked up. I’m not sure what the hype on morphine is, but it did not do anything for me. I definitely felt no relief from the pain I was feeling, but in all honesty, the pain was tolerable. I was told it would be agonizing, but it wasn’t anywhere near excruciating. Maybe I just have a high tolerance for pain, I don’t know, but I barely used the morphine drip. I think I used it a few times just so I could try and feel the relief, but no such luck. The pain remained constant . My parents were waiting in the room for me and what caught me off guard was that talking was an effort. I could barely talk without feeling the pain in my stomach and rib cage. Being able to talk without it hurting took a few days, but what annoyed me the most was that I was not allowed to eat after the surgery. I wasn’t allowed to eat after midnight the night before either so I was HANGRY! Not only would they not feed me, but I wasn’t allowed much water either. In fact, I was only allowed 15ml of water every hour and my throat was parched and I had heavy cotton mouth action going on. I was pleading with them to give me something, like Sprite or whatever, but to no avail. I later found out that eating generates poop and well, doing a number 2 would have been quite painful. I told you I wasn’t censoring this!
The first day out out of surgery, I was basically in and out of sleep. I was being woken up every hour it seemed so that they can give me painkillers. My poor parents were on holidays and spending it at the hospital, but I’m so glad they were there. Despite being woken up all night long, I still managed to sleep and fall right back to sleep. Day two was pretty much the same. I was given a “bath” in the morning, where two nurses basically undressed me and wiped wet cloths over my body. I’m assuming there was some kind of sanitizer mixed with the water? I was put in fresh gowns but what I really wanted was to wash my hair. At that point, it was an oil slick! I was also finally put on soft food which was really bland rice porridge. The physio also came round and she wanted me to get up and walk down the hall. But first, I was given a lovely abdominal binder to wrap around my stomach to hold it all in. That abdominal binder is my new best friend. I’m still wearing it.
Holy crap, getting out the bed was f*^$@ painful. The pain reverberated throughout my body and it was I could do to not cry, but crying would have hurt to. I managed to get out of the bed and stand on my two feet to then get hit with a wave of dizziness. I had, of course, been lying down for a long time by that point, so I had to stop for a moment and let the dizziness pass. We were on the way! So strange to be on my feet again, but my stomach felt as if it was all going to fall on the ground and I had to clutch it, so I was hunched over, the physio said, “Straighten up!” Nicer, of course, she is Singaporean after all… I tried, but I failed. But I managed to walk down the hallway a bit and turn back, before gently getting back into the bed and passing out with exhaustion. Sheesh! Who knew walking 50 yards was going to make me feel like I had walked the span of the Earth?
My friends came to see me that night, which was really sweet. I was given a unicorn and a cake as get well pressies, and my two girls in London had sent me a bouquet of flowers. Love you guys! But as much as I enjoyed seeing them, it was exhausting. Talking and laughing were still quite painful. I had some other friends also come round on Thursday, which was nice because I was able to talk without it hurting as much. Thursday I was also told to be more mobile, so the physio came round and had me walk a bit longer. I was told to try and do little walks every once in a while. Plus by that point, I had learned how to get out of bed so it wasn’t as painful as the first time, but still hurt nonetheless.
I was finally discharged on Friday. Before getting discharged, my dressing was changed and I begged for a shower. She obliged after a bit of cajoling and so she put on a temporary waterproof dressing on and to the shower I went. Oh what bliss to feel running water on me! Showering was a bit difficult, I was still slightly hunched over, and washing my hair proved to be a bit challenging, but I persevered and finally had clean hair! I got dressed and a new dressing was applied to my scar. Not long after, I was discharged and wheel chaired to the taxi ! Hurrah!
WHAT TO BRING TO THE HOSPITAL:
– Loose clothing for when you get discharged
– Books, etc if you’re up for it, but I didn’t have the energy to read
– Toiletries – I only got to brush my teeth the day after surgery and showered the day I left
– Underwear: Only for when you are leaving, I was going commando the whole time until I left and the catheter was removed
Stay tuned for how I fared when I got home… I had no idea this post was going to be a novel!
Have you had surgery? What was your experience like?