Day 5 after my second laparoscopy and I finally found some energy to write about it. Since everything is still fresh in my memory, in today’s post, I will give some tips about how to prepare for and how to survive the days/weeks after a laparoscopy. (Here you can find the link to the Story of my first laparoscopy.) I hope it can help some of you and answer some of the questions you might have.
Laparoscopy = laparoscopy?
I now had 2 laparoscopic surgeries, which makes me able to compare and I can tell you that laparoscopy does not equal laparoscopy… depending on the severeness of your endometriosis and the type, duration and place of the surgery you will need less or more time go recover. After my first surgery, I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and could still not leave the house after 12 days. The surgery was excision removal of endometrioma which have been building up for over 10 years and was sitting all around my bowel, bladder, kidneys, but also around the vulva, lips of the vagina and around the sciatic nerve. This time around, I could leave the hospital on the 3rd day and left the house for a short walk on day 5. Given that this was still quite a serious laparoscopy, with removal of an ovarial tube, removing of endo on the bladder and bowel, putting in a pig tail catheter between kidney and bladder and some general cleaning up,… The surgery took 3 hourse, but I can now better imagine how people, with stage 1 or stage 2 endometriosis can leave the hospital the same day of the surgery and can get back to work after a week.
Preparations pre laparoscopy
What can you prepare in advance of your laparoscopy in order to make your life easier afterwards?
Make sure, all work in your household is done: clothes are washed, house is clean, plants are watered, bed sheets are cleaned, fridge is full and cupboards with food supply are filled with some comfort food, which is actually good (healthy) for you. The first days after surgery, you will probably mostly enjoy very light meals, which are easy to digest. Maybe already put some light precooked meals in the freezer, which just need heating up afterwards. If you have kids, organize that someone can help you at home after you get back from the hospital, because your body will really need some rest.
Secondly, prepare some books, magazines, Netflix movies, docu’s or series you will want to see, because you will have time after the surgery. (If you’re not too sleepy!)
Thirdly, prepare your employer, husband, friends, family, that you don’t know how and when you will feel better after surgery. Don’t plan any activities too soon and just take it easy, one step at a time. The doctor will prescribe after surgery the resting time that he thinks you will need. He knows what he did and manipulated on the inside of you, so he will be in the best place to estimate how much time you will need to recover (and of course this can still be different from one person to the other…but before the laparoscopy is done, you will have no clue what they will find or need to do)
Besides the normal things you take for a hospital visit, like a pyama, slippers or house shoes, earplugs, your regular beauty products, reading material, etcetera, don’t forget to take some loose-fitting clothes with you as well. Avoid trousers with buttons or panties. You will want to have a long dress or very loose jogging pants. The first day or 2, you will be ok sitting in your pyama, but afterwards, you will be happy to at least put on some clothes again.
Lastly, organize that someone can pick you up from the hospital, because there is no way you can drive a car or take public transport with your suitcase all by yourself. In Switzerland, I know that the health insurance would also pay for a taxi if you have no one around to pick you up.
Surviving post laparoscopy
As you will feel a bit weak the first days, it is very important to listen to your body. Sleep when you are tired, take pain killers when you’re in pain (or better even beforehand) and take it really easy. Move if you feel like it, but start with little things. Just take a stroll around your house or take the stairs once if you have some energy, but don’t start with a 3km long walk. The wounds look very small from the outside, but you will notice that on the inside, your body needs to heal. (This Pictures Shows the wounds, one week after surgery)
Do what YOU feel like and don’t feel guilty if you’re not doing anything useful or if you’re not ready to work or read any intelligent stuff yet. You just had a serious surgery and your body and mind will need some time to get completely back in the game again.
Take time to make your bowel work again. After both surgeries, my bowel needed some time to get back to normal again. Don’t stress about it. This is very normal and it will all be ok. Just take your time when you’re on the toilet and make sure you eat things which are good for you. ( things that are easy to digest if your constipated and a lot of seeds, nuts, grains in the opposite case) Your diet will have a very important influence on your bowel.
Drink tea: I enjoy drinking liters of tea and this really makes me feel better. I switch between green tea, ginger tea, curcuma latte’s and they all make me feel a little bit better every time, so I can really recommend this.
Eat healthy food. I know it’s very tempting to eat easy to make, not necessarily healthy, fast food, because you will not feel like cooking, but I guarantee you that you will feel a lot better if you eat healthy, fresh ingredients which will be doing miracles for your body. If the fridge is getting empty after a few days, there’s enough options nowadays to order fresh ingredients or even ready made (but fresh and healthy) food to your doorstep.
Spoil yourself: in case you are already since a long time thinking of buying that nice handbag, dress or expensive nail polish, this is the time to be nice to yourself. You deserve it and if it makes you feel better, just do it. You can think about saving money or not buying anything again later, if you feel better again. 🙂 for those of you, that live with a partner or a family: let them spoil you! This is the time to ask them to get you something from the store, give you a foot massage or just be nice to you. Because… again you deserve it! 😉
Believe in the power of your body to heal itself. Staying positive in these not so bright days is very important. I believe that if you manage to stay positive and mindful of the fact that you will get better soon (without wanting to rush it), this will increase your recovery process.
Think about what you want in your life. I use this time a lot to think about where I am in my life and to make plans, for myself and together with my husband. I think of things I want to do when I feel better. My to do-list is getting longer and longer and I’m sometimes surprised of my creativity levels during these healing times. From healthy endo-recipes I would like to try out, to online courses I want to enroll, events I want to organize, friends I want to recontact, sports activities I want to do and holidays I want to book, I can not wait to be fit again, to start working on al these fun to do’s!
Maybe… I almost don’t dare to write it… but maybe it’s not so bad to be at home after all. Or at last it has some positive sides as well… It gives us the time to reflect on our lives, give new ideas, think, be creative and get inspired again. 🙂
I hope I could inspire some of you as well, give some tips, prepare you for surgery and I wish all of you with laparoscopic or other surgeries all the best and a speedy and healthy recovery.