It’s been over a year since I had my laparoscopic excision surgery to remove my Endometriosis. It’s been an interesting journey and I really want to share my experience because there was so much I wish I had known! Recovery can be frustrating, discouraging, and just plain tough at times, but knowing what to expect can help you prepare for the road ahead. Here’s three things I think you should know:
1. Your pain may not disappear immediately.
This was super discouraging to me during recovery. My pain for the first couple of weeks after surgery was in the same places it was prior to the procedure. It really didn’t feel like it was getting better from day-to-day and it freaked me out a little. Looking back, I feel a little silly, and it actually makes sense that I would have pain in the same areas because that’s where the endo was cut out. It takes time for those areas to heal! Your doctor can’t make any promises to you about whether your pain will return after surgery or not, but if it does, be patient. Your body is still healing in the areas where the disease was found, and it can take some time for everything to feel “normal” again. My surgeon actually told me that it could take up to 6 months for my pain to decrease (I sure didn’t want to hear that!). The reason for that is because it takes your brain a while to catch up and realize the irritant causing the pain is gone, especially if you’re like me and you’ve had chronic pain for over a decade. About three weeks post-op I noticed my pain levels dropping, so I’m very fortunate that I didn’t have to wait as long as I expected to see results.
2. Do not compare your recovery time to others.
Do. Not. Do. This.
Before my surgery I had talked to a few Endo Sisters who said they did laundry and cleaned house after coming home from the hospital. Like, the same day, and they felt fine. First of all, don’t do that. Even if you feel okay after being discharged from the hospital, let your body rest! I definitely didn’t feel okay enough to do laundry after I was discharged. I didn’t feel terrible, but I was very sore. I opted for some Netflix, soup, and lots of popsicles for the rest of the day. This is a major surgery, so it’s important that you take care of yourself in order to heal properly and prevent the development of complications.
3. Rest, but not too much.
Based on what I just said above this one probably doesn’t make much sense, but it was something that I wish I had known during recovery. Resting is so important during post-op but it’s equally important to get up and move around somewhat often. I didn’t know this so I stayed in bed and rested for several days. The only time I got up was to go get a snack or to take a bathroom break. A couple of weeks after my surgery I read that it’s important to take short walks several times a day to prevent blood clots from forming. I was absolutely horrified when I realized this, and I really wish that I had known before. It’s possible that the nurses went over this with me, but I was so out of it after I woke up from surgery that it’s possible I just don’t remember. Either way, if I could go back I totally would have gotten up a moved around a bit more because I know how scary blood clots can be. Thankfully I didn’t end up with any complications, but this information is good to know just in case I need another surgery in the future. Make sure you ask your surgeon or nurse how much you should be moving around after surgery. Some doctors may want you to take it easier than others, and it could depend on how extensive your procedure was. It could really make the difference in your recovery.