night before my surgery was the so nerve wrecking, I didn't really know what to expect as I had never had any kind of surgery nor had I been put to sleep before. I can safely say that this has been one of the worst experiences I've had in my life. After reading other people's stories online, I went in expecting my laparoscopy journey to be straight forward and recovery swift but unfortunately it hasn't worked out that way for me. Here is a detailed encounter of my personal journey and a few things that are worth knowing before going ahead with a Laparoscopy.
Morning of surgery (3rd of May 2016)
I was put down for a 7:30am arrival at the one day surgery unit and so my sleep was short-lived. I got up at 6am, had a shower, got dressed and checked that my hospital bag had everything I needed in case of a longer stay in hospital. I would usually have a bowl of oats in the morning but on this occasion I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything from 12 midnight. Talk about going in hungry and thirsty. Taxi arrived at 6:50am and my boyfriend accompanied me to the hospital. When we arrived, we headed to reception for check in and then the waiting started. The worst part for me was when a nurse came in and shouted out my name; I knew it was time. My boyfriend couldn't come with me into the wards as this is not allowed so you can only imagine how horrible it is to go through your first operation on your own. However; my nurse, the Gynaecology consultant and his team were all really comforting and very supportive.
They went through my medical history, answered any questions I had and then I was given the chance to speak to the Anaesthesia Consultant. Boy did I have a few questions for him. The main one being 'what if I feel pain whilst I'm out and cannot say anything?'. This might sound like a silly question but I was genuinely concerned; I think I've been watching too many movies. Anyway, the answer to that question is you will not feel a thing, trust me on that. I then had to pee in a cup, take off anything metal then change into a gown and socks. The socks are fairly tight and actually prevent blood clots in your legs.
10:30am Going into theatre
I was wheeled into the theatre at around 10:30, so many faces in the room but they all tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible. When they inserted the IV, I definitely noticed as it's a really sharp scratch. A few meds, breathing mask on my face and a few deep breaths later, I was knocked out! It was like being thrown into a peaceful realm of nothingness.
12:45pm After Surgery, recovery room.
My surgery took 2 hours and I had two cuts, one on my belly button and one just above my pubic hair line. When I woke up I didn't know what was going on; the nurse was calling my name and I just felt really confused. I was completely tucked up in bed and there were these big heating fans in my blanket blowing hot air into the blanket. This was because I had gone cold apparently. My vision was blurry then a sharp pain shot through my abdomen, Morphine was the only thing on my mind. I needed pain relief. Thank you to that lovely nurse for the pain relief and for looking after me so well. I was kept in until 2pm, they will not let you go until you've had a drink, feel well enough to walk to car at least and most importantly, until you've peed. This is to ensure that your system is still functioning properly post surgery. The consultant and doctors popped in to see how I was doing and inform me of the diagnosis. I don't have endometriosis, I did have ovarian cysts and severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There is no cure for IBS but that's okay, I'm just glad that after 7 years of pain; I finally have a diagnosis which allows me to take the necessary steps towards managing the pain with the help of a Gastroenterologist and Dietitian. The irony of all this is that my dream is to become a dietitian and I'm working towards that at the moment; it seems I'll be spending quite a lot of time seeing one myself.
2:30pm Taxi ride home
This was the worst car ride of my life! The movement, the vibrations, the bumps you feel in a car are not great when you've just had abdominal surgery. After what felt like a never ending journey home, I arrived and went straight to bed. When I woke up, food was the only thing on my mind, I hadn't eaten for 17 hours. This is when the real pain began..
Fast forward 3 weeks later.
Keeping the wounds clean is a challenge but its imperative that they are kept spotless to avoid the build up of bacteria. However, the build up of bacteria is sometimes unavoidable and varies from person to person. The carbon dioxide that remained in my body after the surgery may presented itself as shoulder pain, I also had a sharp poking pain in my stomach. My belly has been puffy for weeks now due to the fact that they super-extended the stomach with air in order to have enough room to work; it's only just starting to go down. At least now I know what I'll look like in my early weeks of pregnancy. I wasn't able to walk up straight the first 2 weeks which caused back pain; I became constipated and did not poop for 6 days post surgery which is probably the longest I've ever gone. I've also had cuts on my lips that have swelled up each time I've eaten soup or warm foods.
Last but not least, I became that unfortunate case (1 in a 100) when I got a full blown infection on my belly button just a week after the laparoscopy. The pain an infection brings is definitely on a whole new level. Of course I headed to the doctor's and they squeezed the hell out my belly button, I've never seen so much pus. The nurse had to hold me down whilst the doctor squeezed the life out of my belly button. It was gross and super painful! Alas, I've had to walk around with a leaking button the past two weeks. God knows how much I miss lying on my belly. This infection is definitely putting up a fight but I'm so ready to fight back.
- You can't eat after midnight the day before your surgery.
- Pack a bag with all your essentials the night before to save you some time.
- It's always better to arrive half an hour before your scheduled time.
- Wear loose clothing to your surgery because I promise you, you'll rip off anything tight afterwards.
- They access your pain after the surgery on a scale of 1 to 10 during your time in recovery. Be honest.
- You will be prescribed medication to help with pain; take it as instructed.
- You can eat normally after surgery.
- Your belly will be bloated for several days after the surgery. This is normal so don't worry too much.
- Your throat will be sore for about two days because of the trach tube.
- You won't be able to move properly the first 48 to 72 hours because of the pain. Standing up and sitting up is a very big challenge.
- Sexual activity; I could not think of anything worse. My sex drive has dropped due to the pain so I don't see anything like that happening for a good few weeks. Full recovery first.
We made it to the end, it was a long. Apologies! 3 weeks on and I'm still in pain but I'm glad I had the laparoscopy. I finally have a diagnosis that allows me to take the necessary steps towards managing my pain. Here is to kicking IBS's butt.