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Tips for surgery and after?

smargaret
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2019

Dear wonderful people on this discussion list,

I so appreciate all the tips I have received so far!  I am facing surgery this Friday--laparoscopic and robotic.  I should go home the same day.  I have every confidence in the surgical team and have been assured by a doctor friend that Kaiser here is the best for this kind of surgery.  I'm looking forward to getting it over with and getting the path report, so I can move on.

My questions:  Do those of you who have had this surgery have any tips for me?  After my first hip replacement, I had problems with the painkillers, so I now know enough to avoid the opiods, which do bad things to me.  I'd really appreciate hearing about the experience of others.

I am so grateful I have found this discussion group!

Forherself's picture
Forherself
Posts: 324
Joined: Jan 2019

This waiting is the hardest.  Now you hae some things you can do.  Bring a pillow for the ride home from the hospital to support your abdomen.  I had robotic followed by a lower abdominal incision.  I wanted my surgeon to be able to do this if she thought it was best.  I did take narcotics for 3 days so I could keep moving, which is so important post op. I used Milk of Magnesia as recommended by my surgeon and didn't have a problem with constipation.  I know you don't want narcotics, but there are some pain rellievers avaialbe for you. I recommend having something so you can move and walk.  Your hospital should gie you post op instructions which are so helpful.  I also had to give myself injections of a blood thinner for 2 weeks after surgery.  I think it depends on your age.  If you do get them there is a video and great instructions for doing this.  I like to take NSAID's to help healing.  Scar tissue is less with them.  I had only sentinel lymph nodes taken.  Ask your surgeon about her plans on tht.I had green dye injected into my cervix.  It is called sentinel node mapping.  I did not want many nodes taken unless she could see a reason to do so.  She was in agreement.  I ended up having no melignancy in my hysterectomy specimen, so it was a good decision.  There are so many decisions that have to be made, and feel like a shot in the dark. That was a hard part of the surgery.  And then the waiting.  It took about a week to get the pathology results.  

MAbound
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2016

1. You will have lifting restrictions while healing...don't cheat because while there isn't as much pain with the robotic surgery, there is still a lot of internal healing that needs to happen. You are at higher risk for pelvic organ prolapse after this surgery because you've just lost some of your structural support for your bladder and bowel; you need time for things to heal and reoganize before you start housekeeping and hauling groceries in from the car again.

2. Take loose clothing to the hospital to come home in. Your abdomen will be distended from the gas they inflate your abdomen with to see what they are doing in your belly and what you wore into the hospital will probably be too tight. Think pajama bottoms.

3. That pillow (or a belly binder) forherself mentioned is really, really important. You will feel every bump on the ride home and it hurts!!

4. Have GasX on hand. It really helps with the gas pains the first few days and nights that can travel to odd places like your shoulders and back.

4. Don't sleep flat the first couple of nights. It can make the issue with gas pains worse. A recliner or wedge pillow really help.

5. Drink tons of water to flush the aneshesia out of your system and keep constipation at bay.  

6. Get up and move around as much as you can, especially the first day or two to get your bowels to wake up from the paralytic they use during surgery so that things don't move around while they are cutting in your abdomen. Again, really, really important to making recovery quicker and easier.

Good luck!Laughing

smargaret
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2019

Thanks so much!

 

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 570
Joined: Oct 2009

Smargaret, You are going to be well taken care of by the nurses and doctors. Before you know it you will be back in the comfort of your own home. Great suggestions offered by MAbound and Forherself! Other suggestions I offer include:

Put freshly laundered sheets, pillow cases, towels and pajamas/nightgown on.

Also take a couple of those blue plastic nausea/vomit bags with you from hospital just in case. 

Ask your doctor to write you a prescription for sublingual Zofran or generic equivelent (anti-nausea medication) for home in case you develop nausea.

Set up things you need near your lounge chair or bedside table ( cell phone and charger, water, chapstick, glasses, reading material, small notebook and pen for writing down things you want to remember or ask your doctor).

Wear slip on shoes so you don’t need to bend over to put them on before you go home from hospital. 

Shop for the types of food you think you will want to eat in the days after surgery that way you have them available. Protein helps your healing as they are the “building blocks” of our bodies. 

Have a thermometer so you can check your temperature a couple times a day to check for fever as a sign of post-op infection. 

Listen to your body! Don’t lift laundry or pets. Drink, drink lots of water and walk around your house as much as you can to prevent blood clots. 

Let is know how things go for you!  

((Hug))

Lori

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1617
Joined: Jun 2015

smargaret, 

Great suggestions from the ladies that posted ahead of me. The only thing I will add is to consider having Miralax on hand in case you need it. Very gentle and works great. It was a life saver for me during chemo to help keep things moving. The last thing you want after surgery is constipation... A stool sofener might also be good to have.

Mostly, I just wanted to wish you the best and let you know we will all be here waiting for you when you feel up to checking in. My surgery was fairly easy and I didn't use narcotics post hospital release.

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

Quilter_1's picture
Quilter_1
Posts: 76
Joined: Mar 2019

Northwoodsgirl and TeddyandBears_Mom both offer great advice.  Miralax was a great help for me for painkiller and chemo constipation.  I set up what we referred to as "command central" next to my favorite reclining chair.  I had a small basket with hand lotion, chap stick, pen and notebook, I also kept a box of tissue, my phone and books there.  In fact, we used a tv table, because,  I had too many things to put on the end table and keep it organized.  This table, along with supplies, was set up during my entire treatment time.  I pray all goes well for you.

Linda

zsazsa1
Posts: 466
Joined: Oct 2018

Wow, same day surgery for a lap hysterectomy?  They kept me overnight for that, with no complications.  I'm sure you'll be fine, but I'm really surprised.  Did anyone else have this done as same day surgery?

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 280
Joined: Feb 2018

I stayed overnight because I needed it, a lot of pain and nausea. But I also had a cholecystecomy at the same time. Going home the same day was totally on the table, it just didn't work out for me. The next day she actually asked me if I wanted to go home or not ... now *that* did surprise me. But I was ready to skip that joint by then :)

Quilter_1's picture
Quilter_1
Posts: 76
Joined: Mar 2019

I stayed overnight, too, and was glad to do so.  Don't be surprised if they keep you overnight.  They told me that I would possibly go home the same day if things went well, things went very well and I stayed overnight.

 

 

 

 

smargaret
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2019

Good to know that they might keep me overnight.  After my last hip replacement I went home the same day (I know!  I couldn't believe it either), so I guest that's what I've been expecting here.  Thanks for the info.

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 280
Joined: Feb 2018

My response is above, but FYI I have Kaiser too. 

Fridays Child
Posts: 145
Joined: Jul 2019

When I had my surgery, they treated it as same day surgery if you were discharged within 24 hours after the surgery ended.  As mine didn't begin until late afternoon, I was kept overnight and released the following afternoon.

Tamlen's picture
Tamlen
Posts: 241
Joined: Jan 2018

My surgery and time in post-op wrapped up around 4pm. I got myself up and walking around 9pm and had my husband get me up several times overnight to walk the halls -- I was determined to get out of there. They let me go by 9 am the next morning and it was considered same day because, as Fridays Child said, it was less than 24 hours.

To the rest of the good lists others have provided, I'd add that we purchased a small folding table from Walmart, with adjustable-height legs. That way I could use my laptop without having it actually on my lap. I was able to pull the table up over the arms of my lounge chair and work comfortably.

cmb's picture
cmb
Posts: 469
Joined: Jan 2018

Although I was scheduled for surgery at noon, trauma emergencies took priority in the operating rooms. So I didn't actually go into surgery until after 6:00 pm. And I didn't get into a room until almost midnight. So I was in the hospital all the next day and wasn't released until the morning after that. So be prepared for delays that are beyond your control.

Since I live alone, the most challenging part of the post-surgery recovery was getting out of bed by myself. It was really painful and I felt like I was pulling at my incisions. (I didn't get any guidance on this at the hospital). So I found a video on You Tube that demonstrated a good technique that really helped:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heEvgDc4w90

I took the pain killers for the first couple of days, but then I stopped as I didn't really need them. I also did not take the pills prescribed for constipation as I did not have this problem. I had the opposite problem with diarrhea, which continued to bother me during chemo, radiation and even today. So while constipation after surgery may be more typical, be prepared for diarrhea too just in case that's how your body reacts.

I did ask my sisters and a good friend to help with washing the cat litter boxes once a week for the first month since I was restricted from lifting more than 10 pounds for 30 days. The boxes of litter weighed more than 10 pounds.

I also gave myself Lovenox (blood thinner) shots for 30 days after surgery.

smargaret
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2019

The video was very helpful!

Molly110
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2019

I hope your surgery went well. I had a robotic hysterectomey for the same kind of cancer at the end of August. I wrote a long reponse to your first post to the board, but as has happened a couple of times before that, I somehow froze the site and it never posted. My surgery was a snap, expect for the anethesia and pain meds, which made me throw up for much for the next day. My center's usual protocol is to allow woemn to go home the same day for robotic hysterectomies, unless they live alone or (I guess) have other complexities.  I would have loved to go home. I was woken up every couple of hours for vitals and other standard operating procedures, and had blood drawn in the morning, which the nurse explained was SOP for people who happen to be in the hospital (while admitiing that it was unnecessary since women who didn't stay overnight  obviously didn't have a morning blood test). My wonderful doctor didn't want to release me until I could keep a meal down, but the nurse did a little wink, wink nudge, nudge about how much I was able to eat, so I went home in the afternoon. I switched immediately -- wtih my doctor's support to give it a try -- to over the counter medication rather than the prescribed opoids. I used something called POP, out of the Univeristy of Michigan. I alternated tylenol and ibuproferen every three hours around the clock, which meant I had to wake up several times at night. For me, it was worth it, and I was able to stop even that over the counter pain medication two days after surgery. Every person is different, of course, in what they need for pain, and I think it's typical for people to use pain meds for quite some time after surgery. Because of my reaction to any opiod, I was so grateful to find an alternative. Patient information about the protocol is avaialble at https://pteducation.med.umich.edu/umhs-departments/michigan-pain-control-optimization-pathway-mpop   

One of the hardest things for me post surgery was remembering not to pick up heavy things for several weeks. On the advice of a friend who'd had similar lifting restrictions. I put a few signs up around my house reimding me. I also had trouble remembering to slow down a bit. My doctor reminded me on several occasions that a hysterectomey is major surgery, even if it's robotic. So. even if you feel great after a few days, it's probably a good idea to get more rest and sleep than you might usually do.  

I hope you have a smooth recovery. I remember from your first post that you have great support at home and from a physician friend, and, of course, this forum is full of good information.

ps. If you decide to do chemo, I agree with Army Wife that you may want to look into the elasto-gel cool mitts to help protect from neuropathy in your hands and feet. My center does not offer that therapy, so I didn't know about it unitl after my first course, and I'm having quite a problem with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). I've used the mitts and slippers for my second and third courses and will for the final three, but I had a lot of damage from that first unprotected exposure. Good luck!

Molly

smargaret
Posts: 15
Joined: Nov 2019

Dear wonderful people on ths list,

I am now post-surgery (it was Friday) and recovering well.  Thanks for all the advice, which has been very helpful!  Surgery took longer than expected (a few minor hiccups) so I stayed overnight in the hospital, which was a good thing.  The docs were pretty insistent about opiods, but I pushed back and went for Tramadol--still a narcotic, but not as strong--so I don't feel as loopy as I did after my hip replacement.  I'm hoping to go off this today or tomorrow and just go with Iboprofin.  Ice packs really help.  I'm napping like a champ and walking as much as I can.  I am going to sound like a broken record, but I am so grateful to have found this list!  You all give me hope.

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1617
Joined: Jun 2015

So glad to hear from you. Your news is great. You are going to be fine. Remember to take care in lifting. 

Please keep coming back and letting us know how you are doing and what you find out once you get your path report.

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

Quilter_1's picture
Quilter_1
Posts: 76
Joined: Mar 2019

Great to hear all went well, hiccups and all.   Remember to rest, it's a good thing.

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