Post-surgery Recovery: What to Expect

Post-surgery Recovery: What to Expect

Dachshunds & Duvets – a column by Jessie Madrigal-Fletcher


It’s been 10 days since my surgery. I’m officially in recovery, my stitches hurt, and “bloated” is my new middle name. I have spent a week lying in bed, struggling to stay horizontal and feeling uncomfortable every time I sat up. I’ve moaned, eaten my own weight in chocolate, and have had late-night conversations with both my dogs. (OK, only one of them; the older one is too busy and important to listen to my complaints.)

All in all, it’s been an emotional roller-coaster. I’ve felt lonely and extremely antisocial. I’ve laughed, then cried because it hurt. But, among piles of empty boxes of Paracetamol, trashy magazines, and bad-hair days, there are some lessons to be learned.

Drinking peppermint tea by the gallon has helped immensely.

While I fantasize about mojitos, I was only allowed mint leaves. It lessened the effects of the gas pumped into my body during surgery. Infusions, painkillers, and gluten-free devil’s food cake made everything instantly better. Choosing comfort food that was gentle on my stomach was the right way to go, and having cake for breakfast is perfectly acceptable, alright?

Your brain will drive you slightly mad.

When you are bedbound and unable to move much, your thoughts tend to veer toward the negative. I went from relaxed to cranky, hungry to nauseous, eager to talk to quietly grumpy. At one point, during the seventh Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode in a row, my partner suggested that maybe it was time to watch something with more substance. Apparently, I needed some “brain food,” as he called it. I “politely” told him to get lost, lined up some documentaries on Netflix and surprisingly, felt somewhat smarter. After watching one on the importance of a free press, I exclaimed: “Yes, my brain still works!” Knowing that I could do more than just binge-watch TV like a zombie, made me feel like myself. Who knew?

Baggy clothes are a godsend.

At this point, I can only wear loose-fitting trousers or pajama bottoms. I have three incisions on my abdomen, so anything with a tight waist is a painful mistake. On day nine of my recovery, I slapped on some makeup and felt like a million dollars, even though I never left the confines of my flat and wore an old Garfield T-shirt.

Impatience is your new best friend.

All I can think about is going running or doing yoga, which is a healthy thing to obsess about — better than maxing out your credit card shopping for boots online. But I can’t even walk my dogs at this point, and it will be a few days until my stitches stop hurting and I’m able to move more freely and independently.

I am dreading the first period after surgery, which should be in about a week’s time. My doctor and fellow endo-sufferers have warned me it will be tough. However, I know the worst has passed and as I feel stronger each day, I am closer to being me again.

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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.

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