Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hysterectomy: Rest and Recovery

Sheesh, Rest and Recovery is usually followed by the name of the last 100 mile race I ran. Well, this is a different type of rest and recovery. Much longer!

The prep for surgery went well. I drank 30 oz of magnesium sulfate at 6 PM, stopped solids and was able to have clear liquids until 4 AM. I didn't feel like the MS 'cleaned' me out like it was supposed to. I guess with my clean diet I don't have that much up to clean out? I had a few BM's nothing out of the ordinary.

Troy had Monday off from school, teacher workshop, so I told him he could choose how he wanted the day to play out. We could get a hotel in Rochester Sunday night, he could swim and spend the day between the hotel and hospital or he could stay home, with Dad returning home Monday evening. Or he could get up with us and leave for Rochester at 530AM. He chose to stay home. I was good with that.

Steve and I left at 530, I had my final cup of coffee at 4. I was calm, was having thoughts of returning home the next day.

Originally, when I was first speaking of hysterectomy with my local gynecologist she told me I would have to have a full abdominal surgery. Much like my incision from the two C Sections I have had. I was just really dreading that recovery. After I met with Dr. Dowdy, my gynecologic oncologist, from Mayo Clinic, he told me that wasn't so. He was going to preform the daVinci robotic procedure, with 5 small incisions. This changed my outlook. I wasn't so terrified of the recovery. Still a major surgery, but no hip to hip incision unless he found cancer.

Steve and I made it to Mayo 30 minutes early as is my nature. We checked in, they showed us to a room where I changed into hospital gown, was tagged, gave myself two fleet enemas (new experience and absolutely NO biggie), a medicated douche, had my IV inserted. Steve placed my boots, clothes, coat into patient bags with my tags attached, took my iPhone (my lifesaver!), my glasses, ID and insurance card. We just waited. I was beginning to get a bit nervous so practiced deep breathing and made Steve participate. He did whatever I told him to do. He was more nervous and afraid than I was.

About 30 minutes later a surgical nurse came to introduce herself. She told Steve to follow us and we would drop him off at the waiting lounge, he would be escorted to my room following surgery. They would call him on his cell as soon as surgery began and with an update every hour. Very nice.

We dropped Steve off and headed for the surgical wait room. I was lined up with a dozen or more other patients, with big curtains in between us. Surgical teams were coming to the patients, asking name and address, talking about procedure, etc. The woman next to me said she had lung disease. The nurse asked if she always used oxygen "except when I'm smoking" ish.

The surgical nurse came to introduce herself to me, the anaesthesiologist, Dr. Dowdy arrived and initialized my ovaries upon my abdomen. He told me that he had decided to complete a radical total vaginal hysterectomy. There would be NO incision and shorter period of time in surgery. I asked him if I would have less restrictions-can I go back to work earlier? No. Still a major surgery, still 6-8 weeks off, just no incision and less surgical time. OK then. He told me that vaginal hysterectomy causes fewer complications than the other types and is a very safe way to remove the uterus, cervix, tubes and ovaries. He told me it is not possible for woman with thick stomach fat or women who have adhesion from prior surgery. He told me the C Sections wouldn't give him a problem.

A few moments later I was wheeled to my operating room. Everyone welcomed me and introduced themselves. It was like a party. Real crazy, outgoing, warm. Dr Dowdy told them all I was an ultra runner and that is what the topic of conversation was. It calmed me. A man told me his mother has ovarian cancer and his sister just had a hysterectomy. Trisha, the surgical nurse I met earlier asked me if I had a dog. We spoke of Topaz for a long time. She asked about the type of dog food I fed him and what races I was going to run for 2011. I could feel the IV drug take over, I began to speak slurred. Kevin, the anesthesiologist told me he was going to put the mask over my face and to take deep breathes. I said OK, BYE BYE! They laughed and I was off to deep sleep.

When I began to come to I heard a flurry of activity around me. Kevin, Trisha and Dr. Dowdy were asking me if I was nauseous (no) in pain (no) cold (no), I felt fine. I was wheeled up to my room, Steve was already there.

It was 230. Surgery began at 1100 and was finished at 130. I didn't have pain, I was very dizzy. My nurse helped me to the bathroom. I was able to move around well so she removed the catheter.

Around 4 Dr. Dowdy came by to recap surgery. He told me I underwent a vaginal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectoy under general anesthesia. Surgery was uncomplicated. He said my tissue looked healthy, one ovary was enlarged with tumors, some endometriosis that he removed. Preliminary pathology looked cancer free, full pathology report next week. He felt I could be discharged the next day. Amen!

Cindy M stopped by for a visit. So wonderful to see her. We chatted, I was out of it, but so thankful to see her. Thank you Cindy!

Steve headed for home, relieved, about 5 PM to tend to Troy and then get him off to school on Tuesday morning. Steve would return Tuesday around 12 or so.

Monday evening my bladder was so full. I was walking around quite well, pushing the IV tank around. When I went to urinate I could only pass little amounts. My bladder was still full. I was drinking water and taking in the IV. Probably too much liquid.

At 5 AM the urology tech came in to measure my bladder. Full at 800 ml. She catheterized me and drained. Ah, relief. An hour later I was full again at 900 ml.

Dr. Dowdy came in to sign my release papers at 9 AM. I was ready to leave.. I thought. I didn't have an appetite but my nurse said I had to eat something solid before release. I ate a canned peach.

For pain I was taking extra strength Tylenol or Motrin every 6 hours with Oxycontin when necessary. I took the oxy two times. Other than bladder pressure I really wasn't in too much pain. A heating pad on my pelvic area felt very good.

The urology tech came by again at 3 pm, prior to discharge. I was full again at 1100 ml. She was getting worried and I thought my release might be revoked. My nurse called Dr. Dowdy. He came to my room, said that I could do one of two things: learn how to self catheterize myself and do this at home. In a day or two my bladder would settle down and I would be fine. Or, stay in the hospital with a catheter over night. Ugh! I didn't want to stay another night. I wanted to go home. Troy had a field trip the next day, it was his first day of the new semester (Tuesday) and I already missed talking about it. I wanted to be home. I told him I'd learn to self catheterize. He told me it as a piece of cake and the right decision.

The urology tech came back to teach me how. I didn't get it the first time. Darn it! She drained me and said she'd be back in an hour to give me another try. Dr. Dowdy called me and told me she would only observe me this next time, that I had to do it myself. OK. She came back and I was successful. It was kind of painful. My poor girlie parts were becoming irritated and sore.

As soon as I passed the self-catheterization test Steve came back into the room. I told him 'we are out of here'. I quickly changed into my fuzzy fleecy comfy clothing, had Steve pack my bag and we were out of there. I was wheeled to the discharge where Steve was waiting with the car.

The drive home was 2.5 hours. We stopped at Target in Plymouth so I could try to get some pee out. Ugh. Drops. I could feel my bladder filling and was not looking forward to having to drain it at home. Back to the car, back home.

Oh, so happy to be home! Troy had a big hug and flowers for me. Topaz went crazy and just whined and layed his head into my forehead. It was so good to be home.

Tuesday evening I did a self-cath. It went well, I was glad I decided to learn the process so that I could be home. It was absolutely fabulous climbing into my king size Select Comfort bed. Ah. All of my down blanket and duvet. Ah. Hot pad, all set. I slept until 11PM and woke to pee. I walked the 4 steps to the master bath. Topaz, laying at the foot of the bed, followed me into the bathroom. He put his paws upon my knees and kissed my face like I had been gone forever. As I was petting his ears I peed..and peed..I emptied my bladder! Oh, relief. I was so happy. So happy. I hoped I wouldn't need that damn self catheter kit again. I probably just needed to relax at home and forget about it.

Wednesday morning I was able to get out of bed quite well, only a bit of pressure in the pelvic region. I came downstairs and had coffee with Steve. He was taking another day off. I woke Troy, made him a lunch for the Romeo and Juliet field trip to the Guthrie Theatre. Steve took Troy to school and I was wiped out from that little bit of moving around! I climbed back into bed.

Steve came home, tried to walk Topaz but Topaz just kept coming back to the house, looking for me. Eventually Topaz went for a while. Steve did laundry, vacuuming, bathrooms, etc. I told him I was just going to sleep so go ice fishing or something. He headed off to do just that and would be home by the time Troy came in from school at 3.

At 215 I headed out for a walk with Topaz. The sun was shining and it was 30F! A heat wave. I had to feel some sun on my face. I am lumbering on down the driveway, so slow. Topaz is flying around the culdesac wondering where the heck is Mom? I made it about half way to the bus stop when I see Troy and Steve coming down our road. Steve followed Troy's bus and picked him up. Troy hopped out of the truck and walked back with me and Topaz to the house. Troy said 'Mom, this worse than your 100 mile race moving, you are slow moving traffic' yea, it sure was. That little outing had me tired again. I'll have to leave the house quite a bit earlier to actually make it to the bus stop on time. I could feel the pressure and knew it was time for my 6 hour Motrin dose.

Last night I came down to watch American Idol-god Steven Tyler is great on that show. Love him! Slept well last night, no sweats, no emotional upheavals, no menopausal symptoms as of yet.

I drove Troy to school today. Dr. said as long as I'm off the oxy that I can do so. I'm drinking lots of water, drinking prune juice and eating prunes-no painful BMs! Everything is really going well. I ate some canned chicken, Dijon mustard and shredded cabbage today. No more performing self-catheterizing. Ugh. That is something I can do without.

After bringing Troy to school I walked Topaz down the street. Came home and slept a few hours. I finally took a shower-had to laugh to see the doc's initials on my sides.

I think it is time for another nap!

This recovery is going well. I'm physically exhausted, to be expected I know. I will take it very easy and slowly.

Thank you so much for all of the cards, emails, texts, etc. I appreciate it so very much.


Damon said...

Best of luck with your recovery Julie. I'm guessing you'll be back running long before your doctors think you will be. Your all-around fitness will help you to heal quickly.

SteveQ said...

Good to hear you're doing okay and out getting in some walking! It's hard to imagine pain enough that you'd go for the oxycontin (we all think you're pretty tough, you know); the less you use of the heavy pain meds, the fewer problems you'll have with bowel movements.

Robin said...

So glad to hear your surgery went well and that your road to recovery is so far, not too bad! All the best. I'm sure you'll be back out there in no time. Still keeping fingers crossed for negative pathology results.

JojaJogger said...

Glad to hear you are home. Sounds like the recovery is going well so far!

Olga said...

Welcome back home.

Kimberly Rae said...

Julie girl you are a true trooper.. I'm glad all went well and you are recovering so nicely.... Love and Hugs sister!!!

Sonya said...

Hope you feel better soon.

chelsea said...

Just blog walking! Wish you for recovery...

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LearningByReading said...

My mom really struggled after her hysterectomy and eventually went back to work. She was never quite the same, but still enjoyed laugh.

Julie B said...

Thanks so much for the well wishes! Everything really is going great. I know that going into this in good health helped me come out of surgery without all of the pains/problems that others have experienced. I think I read about the problems women experienced a bit too scared the hell out of me. Now I can let others know that it doesn't have to be so horrible!

Lucille29 said...

get well soon..

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Anonymous said...

I found your blog very informative and enjoyed reading this rest and recovery article.Running is a good exercise to recover yourself.

Good Sleep