**NEWEST UPDATE** and the last 🙂 — as of January 14, 2020. If you want to read the original post as to how this all came about, or the first update from a few weeks ago, click these: original post here, or first update here.
My Results: Endometriosis diagnosis confirmed, current cysts removed, excess tissue lasered off, excess free fluid removed, and ALL BIOPSIES CAME BACK BENIGN! SOOO relieved and thankful! After this post I can hopefully get back to posting about fun travel things again… but if you want to read the whole story of my laparoscopic surgery experience, continue reading below. Love ya’ll 🙂
January 6th: Went in to hospital for pre-op work (paperwork and signatures and payment) and to get blood drawn. Finally found out my blood type (AB+). My CBC and blood levels were all in normal range and that made me feel very optimistic about everything else.
January 8th: Surgery day. Arrived at the hospital at 9am for an 11am procedure. I surprisingly did not feel nervous, but my heart rate said otherwise. It was 105bpm! Dave and my parents were there supporting me in the pre-op room as the nurses pumped me full of pre-op meds through an IV and asked me a million questions. Just before 11 I was wheeled away to the OR.
I remember seeing the OR veryyyyyy briefly, it was blue and white, and SUPER bright. I remember hating that fluorescent lighting. They quickly shifted me from one bed to the operating table and put a gas mask over my face. I must’ve fell asleep instantly because I don’t remember the next 3.5 hours (11am-230pm).
The next thing I (barely) remember is slightly waking up in pain in the recovery room. I don’t think I even opened my eyes much, but I remember whimpering and shaking and a voice telling me to relax and that they were going to give me pain meds. The doctor’s voice was there telling me about the procedure but I don’t remember what he said. Some time later I was given the green light to leave that recovery room and was transferred to the one where Dave and my parents were. That is where I remember being. I remember my dad telling me that the doctor came out and spoke to them and told them I still had both my ovaries! (yay) He told them that my endometriosis diagnosis was definitely confirmed while he was in there and he lasered off/cleaned out my tubes and everything the best he could. Cysts were found on both sides (not just the right side) but removed and sent to the lab. At this point, his expertise and experience said he did not see any signs of cancer while he was in there.
I was still loopy and dizzy and exhausted and nauseous in this recovery room.. but as soon as I was able to urinate on my own, I was to be discharged. I fell asleep probably 4 different times in there and kept apologizing to the nurses that I would get myself up soon (they didn’t care how long I took, but I kept apologizing). I also did NOT have to pee and couldn’t get any to come out.. and wasn’t allowed to leave until I did. That’s when I was told I had had a catheter in and they drained my bladder (hence why peeing was required). But I eventually did and that was that.
I ended up getting home around 630pm that night. If you know me at all, I personally HATE any sort of “drug”. My body is sensitive to everything and I hate how they make me feel. Anytime I’ve been prescribed pain meds in the past, I opted not to take them. But that Wednesday night, I took half a Percocet.. and then the other half shortly thereafter. So I know I was in pain. And despite not being able to pee before, boy did I have to pee like every hour on the hour now. It burnt like hell (they told me to expect that) and hurt to squat down to go. This is when recovery became real.. and when Dave became my lifesaver.
January 9 – January 11: The first 3 days of recovery were much harder than I had anticipated. From what I had read online, laparoscopic surgery healing was super fast since it is “minimally invasive”. But boy those first 3 days afterward were a lot more painful than what I had read. (Just trying to be brutally honest about my experience for anyone else out there considering getting laparoscopic surgery for endo). The after effects of general anesthesia + tube in my throat + catheter + IV pumped full of a combo of meds + the 4 incisions and procedure on my abdomen definitely had a mixture of effects on me. In addition to the obvious pain/soreness on my abdomen where the procedure was done, I got a rash on my stomach and upper legs (probably contact dermatitis) from something my body didn’t like in the OR, my nearsighted vision was so blurry I couldn’t read my phone, and my throat hurt and was filled with phlegm that I was unable to cough up because it hurt my abdomen to cough. You don’t realize how much you use your abdominal muscles until it hurts to use them. If I even attempted to slightly cough it hurt so bad. When I sneezed I felt like I was being stabbed to death. My cats love to sleep on top of me and they would jump on me in the middle of the night and O.M.G. painful, it’s the first time in my life I shoved my cats away. I could barely sit up, lay down, walk, etc on my own for that first 48 hours (thank God for Dave! he helped me so much without complaining once). I couldn’t lay on my stomach or on my side, so my back really started to hurt too. They also told me to expect a lot of bleeding but that I am not allowed to use tampons for a few weeks (I’ve never used pads in my life till now.. ick) And to be brutally real, I couldn’t even bend down to change my own pad (love you Dave). Lastly, because the procedure involved pumping my abdomen full of CO2 gas, I had terrible GERD (acid reflux) and gas pains all the way up to my chest for multiple days afterward.
FYI info: Laparoscopic surgery involves making 1-4 small incisions (4 in my case) and then filling the abdomen with CO2 gas to expand the stomach outward. This keeps the abdomen wall away from the organs being operated on. Then small tools (lasers, cameras, etc) are inserted into the incisions under the abdomen to work on the area needed. Click here for more info if you think you may need it.
BUT, for anyone out there getting this done, know that after the first 3 days it did start to get better. As of writing this 6 days afterward on January 14th: the pain slowly transitioned from sharp and stabbing, to bloated and swollen, (so swollen in the 2nd picture above) to tight and sore, to slowly starting to heal to normal. The throat pain subsided quickly and the rash is lasting awhile but I believe is from the glue holding incisions shut. My abdomen swelling has diminished now, but I definitely cannot fully function for a few weeks yet. It can take up to 8 weeks for the abdomen and reproductive organs to fully heal. It is recommended not to lift anything for a few weeks. Intercourse is not allowed for 6 weeks in my case. & I am not allowed to fly for about 4 weeks. But as with anything, time WILL heal. And a positive mental attitude is ALWAYS best for any situation you’re going through.
++ Positives! ++ I remind myself of the reason I did this to begin with. With a blood test that showed an increased risk for ovarian cancer, there was no way I could ignore it and skip the procedure. I am soooooooo fortunate my results came back benign this time, but what if they hadn’t? Removing the cysts this time and in the future is the absolute best choice for my long-term health. “Cleaning out” my excess endometrial tissue growth and fluid will hopefully not only lessen my monthly menstrual pain, but could also potentially have a positive impact on my successful fertility chances in the coming years. So all in all, it was definitely worth it. Worth the cancelled flight, worth the changed travel plans, worth the stress, and worth the painful recovery. Health is always worth it. And I hope sharing this personal story helps someone out there.
SO MOST IMPORTANTLY, AFTER ALL OF THIS, I WILL BE OKAY! I am soooooo thankful for that. I will live with endometriosis and ovarian cysts. I will deal with that forever. But I know I am not alone with that. SO MANY women in the world have to deal with it. And I give you all major props who do. It can be disheartening when it affects your fertility, it can be frustrating and painful when it hurts, it can affect your daily life and affect your mentality more than you realize. IF you feel like it is affecting your everyday life, PLEASE go get it checked out. IF it’s affecting what you want in life, try to DO something about it. IF you feel it could be more than endometriosis, make an appointment right away. Advocate for yourself. I’m not an expert but feel free to message me with questions. Know that IT IS COMMON. And remind yourself IT COULD BE WORSE.
Check out these links for more information:
Take care of yourselves everyone. Without your health, not much else matters. xoxo