After an Abdominal Myomectomy: Part II
If you missed the first part of my abdominal myomectomy story last week, you can read it here 🙂
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Getting home was easy enough; hop into a cab and you’re golden. Wrong. Getting INTO the cab was painful and so was getting out. Plus any bumps on the road was another reminder of what I had just gone through. And although I was walking, I was taking baby steps and still holding onto my stomach to give it more support. The binder definitely helped, but a few days post-op, when your belly is still massively swollen, it still felt as if it was all just going to spill out. Lovely! But I was home.
It was nice to be home and well, there’s not much you can do but rest, so I went straight upstairs to my room. Yes! I have stairs in my apartment, quite a few of them actually. But I was able to walk up and down, slowly, without any issues. My dad insisted I hold onto the banister, but for some reason I favored my right hand when holding my stomach so I didn’t heed his advice. Sorry, Dad!
And can I say that despite the fact that I was happy to be home, I really wished I had stayed in the hospital. Why? My normally comfy bed was super uncomfortable. Lying on my back in a was uncomfortable and painful. It felt like my stomach was being stretched apart, ouch! The beds in the hospital bend so it alleviates the pain. If you have a recliner at home, do it. The first couple of nights for me in my bed was not fun and my body ached from not really being able to lie in a different position. However, by Sunday I was starting to sleep on my side a bit. Mind you, I was wearing the binder to sleep as well. But having read other people’s experiences, a lot of them were only able to sleep on their sides after a couple of weeks.
Having my mom around was a God send. You don’t realize how helpless you become until then, but I am so glad she was here to cook for me! I don’t know how I would have managed cooking for myself every day, or even going to the grocery store which is a 15 minute walk one way. And delivery in Singapore is not extensive, so I’m not sure living off of pizza every day would have been good for my waistline or my wallet! But all jokes aside, I have a new found respect for all the ladies before me who actually gave birth. I cannot imagine trying to recover while also taking care of a newborn. Wow. Massive respect!
At this point in my post, I would like to say that going into surgery, I was in really good shape. I truly believe that due to my fitness level, my body bounced back faster than what other people experienced. Again, this is MY experience, but it seems like I was able to walk for longer distances within a relatively short amount of time. A week after my surgery, I could walk for about 30 minutes without stopping, but at a slow pace. And can I say that this little stroll would leave me wiped out? I would be exhausted afterwards and would need a nap. With the days passing, I was able to walk for longer periods of time, but it also got to the point where if I had “big” day (ie 2 hours out), the next day I would be exhausted and not have much energy to do much. I’m not sure if this is the right way to approach it, but I do know that the faster you’re up walking, the better, but LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Only you know what your body is capable of. Aside from walking, sitting upright was something I could only manage for about 10 minutes at a time. It felt better to stand up, so I often got up during meals to just stand up a bit.
My doctor also told me that the first couple of periods would get disrupted, but I have not experienced that. About a week after my surgery, I had the great joy of having my period. My doctor thinks it discharge that happens post-op, but I’m quite convinced it was my time of the month. And a few days before my period, I would feel this pain in my sides where I guess my ovaries are. It feels like they’re tightening up or something, I’m not really sure how to describe the pain. It’s not excruciating pain, but it’s definitely uncomfortable. And the same pain happened when I got my 2nd period post-op, so I knew it was coming. On time at that, go figure! And of course, it is advised to wear tampons afterwards for a while just so there is no added risk of infection. However, as to when you’re allowed again, I’m not sure. Definitely a question to ask my doctor!
What really caught me off guard about the surgery was not surgery specific, but how tired I would feel. This is to be expected, of course, so I’m not sure how my mind thinks sometimes! But I guess the tiredness was a way to stop me from being too active so early on. After all, just because you’re healing nicely on the outside, it doesn’t mean the insides have healed. The pain was annoying, of course, but it wasn’t too bad. I was only given 10 days worth of pain killers, but I’m not really sure they did much. Definitely did not take the edge off!
One of my main gripes with the surgery is how my stomach now looks. I know, I shouldn’t be so vain, but I can’t help but feel insecure. The swelling went down after a couple of weeks, but it is still tender and numb to the touch. The binder is still part of my wardrobe, I find that my stomach area is more sensitive to the touch if I don’t wear it while I’m sitting. I have also been obsessively applying Vitamin E cream to the scar as well as applying raw organic honey for the first 10 days after I was able to remove the dressing. The scar is not an ugly purple as it was, it is fading a bit, especially the middle part. Not sure why it’s not evenly fading!! But yes, I know its ridiculous to be insecure, but I am. I can’t help it. From the front, it just looks like a black line separates my lower half of the body with the upper part, the line being caused by the pooch above the scar. I do hope this pooch goes away, I’m sure (I hope!!) it will….
As I mentioned, I was in really good shape prior to the surgery and it annoys me that I’m not allowed to work out. My doctor said that come mid-August, I can start swimming for exercise. I’m anxious to get back into the gym, but I do realize that even now, I am just about walking at my normal pace again. And any uneven, sudden movements does cause me a bit of pain, so I will definitely not jump back in the saddle too fast. Hopefully by mid-September I can start body-weight exercises and I will also share my experience with getting back into the gym.
The first week back at work, I was exhausted. And I should have taken little walks throughout the day, so not to be sitting all day – just because it wasn’t all that comfortable. My boss, luckily was understanding, so I was able to leave a little earlier on some days, or come in a little late in the morning. The extra sleep was definitely good, but come the weekend I was shattered. Definitely taking it easy as I ease back into the daily grind.
THINGS TO BUY FOR RECOVERY:
– Abdominal Binder You guys, trust me on this. You need this. You need this more than underwear and wear it religiously. Will help with recovery and supporting your abdomen. Wear it for as long as possible, a few months at least!
– Vitamin E cream Use it every day, twice a day at least! Will help minimize the scar!
– Or Bio-Oil. I used this more admittedly because I would also use it on my legs for moisturizing benefits. HA
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch!