This is definitely going to be a longer, slower process than I realized. So many people reassured me that you feel so much better so quickly that I had let myself forget the severity of the surgery. This is MAJOR surgery. And there isn’t a part of my body unaffected by the process.
Transitions are getting easier; i.e. sitting to standing and standing back to sitting. The first two days I really needed to use Love’s strength to pull against to get myself up. Now I can do it on my own. It’s not flawless or perfectly smooth, but it’s doable.
The pain had gotten more manageable. So much so that I only took my ibuprofen today and not my percocet. Turns out, that was a serious mistake. And, by the time I realized I needed it, I was in so much pain the first dose didn’t even help. It wasn’t until the second dose this evening that I finally got some relief. Another few days at least then on the percocet. The difficult thing is that you can’t know if you still need it unless you withhold it and see how you feel.
My left hand is still swollen and the knuckles of my ring and pinkie fingers are literally purple. My IV was in my left wrist, but at some point while I was under, they also stuck me three additional times on the hand. I don’t know why and I don’t know who blundered through it so much, but when I woke up, my hand was taped up. Unfortunately, whoever did it, did it badly and my poor hand is a complete mess. Yesterday it was swollen nearly double in size. Today, it’s gone down quite a bit but the whole back of the hand is deeply bruised.
I have deep aches in my ribs on my right side. And I’m puffy in general through my entire trunk so that today, I made myself wear a bra for the first time since surgery and it was a tight fit. If I didn’t already notice how puffy I am, that was the proof.
My abdomen is swollen of course and it fluctuates throughout the day on the amount of swelling. Afternoons are apparently known to be the worst for some reason. The incisions themselves are bruised and dark in color though they don’t look infected or anything. Just very much like healing wounds.
My belly button incision itches randomly and when it does, it’s miserable. That’s where the camera went and the swelling and scab has made it flush with my skin rather than an “innie” that it used to be. Looks ugly now but I think it’ll be better after it heals.
I also don’t have very good sensation of normal body “alerts” right now, such as I really don’t feel like I need to pee, and I don’t feel hungry or full. I’ve read that’s normal both because the shock to the nerves and the damage that needs to be repaired and also that since my tumors were so large, they pushed other organs out of their natural position. The bladder gets compressed from the displacement so now that it has more room to settle in, it’s harder to get the sensation of needing to urinate from it until I adapt. And, everything else needs to settle back more naturally in place. (Which leaves me with a strange, “slippery” feeling inside as if my organs were all going to just slide right out of my body. It’s really creepy.)
I’m tired and very sore all over. I have been sleeping well both on my back and on my right side, though I’ve yet to get myself comfortable on my left for some reason. I’ve also taken a nap each afternoon. (Which is actually recommended.)
It’s amazing though how difficult everything is to do. Love has been an amazing help and has gotten me every little thing I need these past few days. I worry that Monday is going to be hard as it seems like I won’t be ready to be on my own for so many hours yet. I really thought it was more then enough days, but now…it seems like progress is slower than I had imagined.
I’ll be honest though, this process is hard. It’s not something to take lightly by any stretch of the imagination.
There’s a few more things to mention, though they are of a TMI/gross/personal nature so those who don’t wish details need not continue after the cut. The main entry will end here.
Bowel problems. Yeah I said it. Told you TMI. Feel free to back away now if you don’t want to know more.
So, your bowels apparently turn off completely from the surgery. They get cranky and do not like the process at all. So for a couple days, you have nothing. And in fact, the first few days I felt like I literally didn’t even know how to “push” to poo; it was like I had no ability to perform such a process anymore. Then, as they wake up, you start getting gas. Horrible, painful gas. Which I found almost impossible to discharge any of it. So I’ve been dealing with a lot of intense pain from the gasses the past 36 hours or so. The gas is a good sign medically but an awful sign physically.
And, three days in, I’m still waiting for my first post surgery BM. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for it to be 4 or even 5 days for one. Which is good because by day two I was worried. With my IBS, I don’t ever go a single day without, let alone multiple days! I’m taking a stool softener 2x per day per doctor orders and I’m waiting for some relief still. Maybe tomorrow. Apparently, the first can be very painful. You’re advised NOT to take a laxative or enema or anything if possible since you want to naturally ease your body back into a rhythm instead of forcing it. So I have that yet to look forward to. One of the reasons I want to get off the percocet as soon as possible (besides it being a strong narcotic) is that it can make you constipated. Just about the last thing you want to deal with.