Tips for Surgery Day & Recovery

Teddy bear wearing bandages

Have an Endometriosis surgery scheduled?  Here’s a list of things a few of my EndoSisters and I recommend having handy!!  If you’d like to add something, please leave a comment below. 🙂

In Your Purse:

Chapstick

Lozenges (to soothe that post-surgery throat)

Snacks for afterward, especially if you have any food allergies or intolerances.

Have ready in the car for that drive home:

Blankets

Bottle of water

Chewing gum (it has helped some gals with nausea on the drive home)

Ice packs

Overnight bag with clothes, toiletries, etc (just in case you have to stay in the hospital overnight)

Pillows

Sleep Mask (one of those eye covers; you may get ill with all of the movement of passing cars and landscape)

Travel pillow (for stuffing between your stomach and your seatbelt!)

Vomit bag

For Home:

A friend or family member (seriously for like the first 3 days…don’t be alone. You don’t know what your body can and can’t do…and you should be resting)

Comfy clothes. Nothing that binds. Think giant t-shirt, moomoo, or even naked!

Fiber!! (oh man…you need to keep poopin’)

Footstool (to help get in and out of bed)

Gas-X (helps break up the surgery gas that’s floating around inside your body still)

Grabby-stick-thingy (you know, that old people use to get stuff off of the top shelf)

Heating Pad

Ice Packs

Pads (yep…you may be bleeding afterward

Pillow with armrests (keeps you propped up, while lounging, and keeps pressure off your abs.)

Pre-made, easy meals (soups, crackers, etc.)

Prescriptions (painkillers AND anti-nausea medication)

Stool softener!!!!!

Squatty-Potty or something similar

Tape your cell phone charger to your headboard (you don’t want to bend down to get it!)

Walker (yeah, with tennis balls and everything – seriously helps you get around…not to mention sit/stand)

Questions for your Doc: Pre- and Post-Op

Stickman holding a bunch of questionmarks

Going in for a surgery for Endometriosis?  Not sure what to ask? Here’s a list of questions you may want to bring with you.

Some of these may seem like common sense…but it’s good to have them written down to ask. You may forget while overwhelmed or in a fog! Feel free to add to these!  Have any suggestions you’d like me to add? Drop me a comment below. 🙂

Pre-Op Appointment Questions:

What will you do if you open me up and see Endometriosis? (Ask this, because many women have their diagnostic surgery and NONE of the endo is removed – just a confirmed diagnosis and a referral to another doctor to deal with the Endo).

Do you plan to excise (cut out) the Endo or burn (ablation) them? (Excision is considered the best way to deal with it as ablation may not get all of the lesion. Some surgeons only burn away the lesion if it’s in a difficult location to cut. Some surgeons ONLY use ablation and do not cut away the lesions.)

Will you remove adhesions? (Adhesions are scar tissue, oftentimes spider-web like and can twist organs or weave them together).

What’s the worst case scenario?

Will you take photographs or video? If yes, may I have a copy? (if you get photographs, make sure they’re labeled so you know what you’re looking at)

If you find Endometriosis on other organs, such as my bowels, bladder, liver, ureter, diaphragm, etc., are will you be able to remove it? Or will you call in a specialist to assist with the surgery? Or will a second surgery need to be scheduled to handle it?

May I have any painkiller and/or anti-nausea medications filled prior to the surgery date?

Anything you can do to lessen the gas pain that occurs in my right shoulder? Tilt my head? Warm gas? Expel more gas before closing me up? What are the complications of any of these methods? (This may help with the shoulder pain many women complain about after a laparoscopy.)

How long do you expect the surgery to last? Any way someone can update my (person who is in the waiting room) as they wait in the lobby once surgery begins? (My first surgery they expected surgery to last 1.5 hours and it lasted 4; nobody updated them on status and it was stressful and worrisome for them.)

Any “best” position to sleep while recovering?

Anything I can do to make this surgery easier on you?

Before Discharged from Hospital Questions:

What did you find?

Is it normal for my incisions to bleed or ooze?

How long shall I keep on the bandage for the belly button?

How long shall I keep on the bandages for the small incisions?

What do I do if a stitch/staple/glue edge sticks out?

When can I shower?

When should I be worried if I don’t poop?  Three days? Less? More?

Make sure you understand the restrictions while healing. Every surgeon is different. You may not be able to lift something over a certain amount of weight for a few weeks, etc.

Make sure you get the telephone number for the Nurse or Doctor in case of emergencies. They generally have it written on a sheet of paper. Put that somewhere handy!

Post-Op Visit Questions:

May I have a copy of the photographs/video taken during surgery (yeah, I know we asked that in pre-op…but no harm at your post-op)

What Stage of Endometriosis do I have? (there are four stages…each stage depicts a level of infiltration, but not necessary dictates your levels of pain. You can have Stage I Endo with SO MUCH PAIN or Stage IV Endo with no pain whatsoever. It’s just something good to know.)

How long until we can have sex? Swim? Go to gym? Return to work?

Now what?

**Updated July 11, 2018**

Questions for my Surgeon

causes

I have my second excision surgery scheduled for September 21, 2016!  I’ve put together my list of pre- and post-op questions to ask my doctor.  Do you have anything you think I should add?  Or even delete?  Thanks!! ~Lisa

Pre-Op (Appointment 9/13/16)

Please remember I need a latex-free operating room

Anything you can do to lessen the gas pain that occurs in my right shoulder? Tilt my head? Warm gas?  Expel more gas before closing me up? What are the complications of any of these methods?

What to expect after cystoscopy?  Any possibility I’ll stay overnight?  I’ve read that a sensation of burning pee is a temporary side effect; anything else?

Would you take my uterus and ovaries, if needed?  If so, please don’t use a morcellator.

Will there be pictures and/or video of the procedure? What about of the exterior of surgery: the table or outer-abdomen ports?  I’m so curious!

What’s the worst case scenario?

How long do you expect the surgery to last?  Any way someone can update my Mom and Jim as they wait in the lobby once surgery begins?  Last time they expected surgery to last 1.5 hours and it lasted 4; nobody updated them on status and it was stressful and worrisome for them.

I know you found Endo on my diaphragm from our first surgery.  Is there any way to verify through this upcoming surgery that you’ve removed it all?  Or is that a thoracoscopy?  Thoughts about my liver Endo?

Can you also examine the outside of my bowels?  I’ve read that if you have Endo in your Pouch of Douglas you’re very likely to have it on your bowels.

Any other prescriptions post-op besides Naproxen Sodium?  If so, can we fill them early?

Anything I can do to make your job easier on the Big Day?

After surgery, shall we restart taking continuous birth control?

Last surgery, I couldn’t lift my right leg to get into the shower for a few days.  Is that normal?

Any “best” way to sleep while recovering?  Last time propped up on some pillows seemed to be the least painful.

 

Post-Op (Appointment pending)

How long until we can have sex?  Swim?  Go to gym?  Return to work?

Anything you or I can do to prevent adhesions?  Do you have any thoughts on serrapeptese  or resveratrol?  A lot of Endo gals take them and swear it eats and prevents their adhesions from growing.

What happens if you found nothing?  Referral to PCP for more referrals?

What do you find people do to try to feel better that is actually making their pain worse?