You feel you are having symptoms of possible endometriosis. You go to doctors and they advise that you need laparoscopic surgery. You, however, have never had surgery in your life or you have no idea what laparoscopic surgery even is. Questions, concerns, and fears start rushing through your mind. How do you prepare? What needs to be done before your surgery?
I was not part of any chronic illness or endometriosis support groups before my surgery. When I finally found a doctor willing to perform surgery, I was at a loss. I had no idea what to expect or what to do to prepare. No matter how many questions my doctor answered, I still did not feel prepared or ready. I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
I prepped the best I could, even with the little information and knowledge I had available to me. After my surgery and my endometriosis diagnosis, I joined multiple support groups with other women struggling with the same illness. I began to see a large number of women joining the group who had yet to have surgery but knew they were struggling with this horrible disease. I saw multiple posts from women asking what they can do to prepare for surgery.
Top 10 things to prepare
Seeing so many women struggling with trying to prepare, I knew I had to share my experience. It was important to help guide these women, my sisters, to lessen their stress and to prepare them better. My top 10 things to do to prep for surgery are:
1. Pamper yourself
The day before surgery, take care of you. Take a long shower. Wash your hair. Shave. Cut/paint your nails. Do everything you can, because you may not be able to do these things for a few days or weeks.
2. Make prior arrangements
Inform work that you will need two weeks off. Remind your supervisors that it could be longer; this will depend on how your surgery goes. Take those full two weeks, even if you begin to feel better. Your body just underwent surgery and you do not want to relapse. Have people close by to help take care of you for at least a week. Do not forget your animals! Make plans for what you want to do with them while you recover. Remember, you will not be able to drive after surgery – make sure you have someone who can drive you.
3. Pack an overnight bag and extra essentials
Usually, overnight stays are unnecessary. Everyone’s surgery and findings are different. Sometimes, doctors will decide to keep you overnight for monitoring. It will be less stressful for you if you already have your things there. Bring pads. You may bleed after surgery and hospital pads are big and uncomfortable.
4. Wear comfy clothes
You’ll want to wear loose, comfy clothes to surgery and for a few weeks after. Make sure it is nothing tight, as the incisions will be tender and sore. Nightgowns, big T-shirts, and loose sweatpants with no waistbands are the best options. A light sports bra with no wires or tight elastic is your best bet if you need to wear a bra. For the ride home, be sure to have something soft to put over your stomach to prevent the seat belt from rubbing on your incisions.
5. Clean the house
Be sure to do laundry, change bed sheets, do dishes, and whatever else to make for a comfy, less-stressed recovery.
6. Move things to an easy-to-reach level
Make sure things you know you will want or need are at waist height or a little higher. Move whatever may be hard for you to reach. You will not be doing any lifting, bending, climbing, or reaching.
7. Prepare a comfy spot
Be sure to pick somewhere you can lie comfortably, stretch your legs, and get up and down easily. Put a table next to you filled with all the essentials you will need for recovery.
8. Make a list of questions
Do research, then ask your doctors about any other concerns or questions you may have.
9. Prepare post-op meals
Anything light and easy to heat up is good.
10. Arrange for medications
Have any prescriptions you are on filled and picked up ahead of time. After surgery, the doctor’s staff will call in any medicines needed to your pharmacy. Have whoever is driving you home stop to pick them up.
Stay tuned. Next week, part two will talk about essentials to pack in your bag, foods that helped me after surgery, and what I did to pass recovery time.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.