Yesterday, I talked about my hysterectomy and today, I’m going to talk about the changes that I’ve had to deal with AND the tools that helped me get to the place I’m in today. Because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Promise.
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After having a c-section with the twizzlers, I was mildly aware of the recovery and that I would be in pain for a bit of time. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that my hysterectomy would be outpatient and that I wouldn’t feel pain at my incision site after about a week. The difference between my hysterectomy and c-section though? The ability to pass the gasses and have bowel movements. It’s an ugly side of having a uterus that needed to be removed, but it’s not always the norm, so you shouldn’t expect it. Laughing, coughing and sneezing though? Still hurt like the dickens.
Anyhoo, here’s a list of must-have hysterectomy recovery items.
1. Recovery Pillow
Trust me, you’ll need this. From pressing the pillow against your stomach when you cough, sneeze, rise to a standing position, or in my case – laugh like a loon – it will come in handy. The pillow helps alleviate much of the discomfort from these activities, and can also be used to sit on in the case of a bruised rectum like I had. Sitting flat on any surface does not help that feeling.
2. Mesh Underwear
Yep! Let’s take it back to baby deliveries! Even though your uterus will be removed, therefore the source of blood in general, you will bleed a bit from your vagina after surgery. It shouldn’t last for days, but the days following surgery will be a bit messy. You’ll also need the mesh panties to pull over your incisions without making it feel like you have a vice grip around them.
3. Belly Binder
I know. I just talked about not having a vice grip around your belly, and now I’m telling you to bind it up. You’ll know why if you decide NOT to get a belly binder, and then stand up to go to the bathroom, and your stomach drops. Didn’t know your stomach could drop you say? You’ll find out after surgery on that area. Quickly. I’ve had three – hernia repair, c-section, and hysterectomy, and every single time, the stomach drop almost took me out.
4. Stool Softener
I shouldn’t have to explain this, but you know. Jiggling around in your stomach area affects your digestive system a little more than you think. It may take a while for things to move as efficiently as they did before surgery, and well, it may hurt if you don’t have help. Also make sure to drink PLENTY of water. If you think you’ve had enough, drink more. It makes it irritating to go to the bathroom, but you will appreciate being ahead of the problem instead of behind (get it?) it.
5. Scar Gel/Ointment
I purchased Mederma from CVS, but you can get it almost anywhere. It’s helping with the scarring, as long as I remember to use it daily. That’s the key here. Daily use.
7. Comfortable Clothes
You want loose fitting clothes. T-shirts, cotton dresses, and you want to avoid having anything pressing against those incisions. The belly band doesn’t put pressure on your incisions because of the width of it, but waistbands need to be soft and LOOSE. I lived in a housecoat and long t-shirt pajamas. People who came to visit just had to deal. Compression ankle socks aren’t a bad idea either. Even with elevating your legs, some swelling may happen, and if you can prevent it, why wouldn’t you?
8. Easy Entertainment
My friend Melisa sent me color pencils and coloring books to help pass the time, and I love her so for it. If you also have a subscription to Amazon Prime you can watch quite a bit for free. Since you can’t lift, or run, or exercise right off the bat, you’ll need to figure out a source for your entertainment. If your doctor is anything like mine, you won’t be able to just lay in bed all day, so find something that you can do while walking a bit. Audiobooks are great as well. You can subscribe to Audible if you are the kind of person who enjoys listening to books rather than reading.
9. Walking Shoes
Because you need to walk. Because you’ll want to pass gas and poop. There are no more reasons. If you have a 75 year old 8 year old daughter, they will set timers on Google Home to make sure that you are walking for a certain time each day.
Your body is not mine, and mine isn’t yours. Some people stated that they were out running again after 2 weeks. Others felt the need to go full blown shopping as soon as their incisions stopped hurting. I fall into neither of those categories. As a matter of fact, I’m more of the – I’m almost at 6 weeks post-op and my dog bit me, causing me to be put on antibiotics and develop a yeast infection – type person. When I fall, I fall spectacularly. Swelling is common. It’s going to be common for a while. Your stomach was cut open for goodness sake. I attended a conference after being medically cleared and STILL became swollen. It happens. I just rested and listened as all of my friends tsk-tsked me for being too active – even after six weeks of resting.