Thursday, May 9, 2013

Post Surgery and Recovery

I finally, after two years of trying to "deal" with the pain, discomfort and endless days of heavy clotting and bleeding, decided to remove a fibroid that has been the bane of my existence on a monthly basis. Operation was this past Thursday, the day before my 51st birthday. Trust me the irony of that fact is not one lost on me.

Happy to report the surgery went very well. It was a quick, out patient surgery, although I had been told to expect recovery times to be in the range of 4 to 5 hours. I was at the hospital being prepped by 6:30AM and home by about 10:30 or so. Most of that time was the hour or so it took to drive home. The actual surgery was no more then about 30 minutes! And my recovery was indeed swift. It felt to me like like I awoke, feeling the effects of the anesthesia wearing off, just as they were wheeling me into surgery. It was fast! I lay there in the bed alert and awake, was offered and took some water and almost immediately felt like I had to use the bathroom. A sign they look for in most surgeries as an indication that all is functioning as it should!

It was not long after my awakening that my surgeon/doctor came in (a dead ringer for Noah Wylie, for those that recall the actor) and also my husband. The doctor informed me that there was a second fibroid removed as well, and showed me the photos taken on the uterine wall, with and without fibroids growing. The docotor was grinning from ear to ear and seemed so very "boyishly" proud of his accomplishment. He basically told me to expect some cramping and bleeding on and off for a week (Oh joy! Just want I want, more bleeding...hahaha!) and that I would be tired from surgery.

What I had not counted or recalled from my last surgery almost 10 years a go, was the after effects of the anesthesia and the drop in mood from the healing process. I totally forgot about this as it hit like a ton of bricks on Sunday night, and then every once in awhile till later Tuesday.

It would seem that even though I had prepared myself mentally for the surgery I neglected to prep myself mentally for the actual time needed to "recover" from it all at home. I think given the fact that this surgery was far less serious in nature then the mastectomy I had done in 2003, I hadn't really thought much of the recovery.  So, when I started feeling like I needed to cry, something I have not felt in a very long time,  I was initially caught unaware and wondered what the root cause was for these waves of sadness.

Looking at what was happening mindfully,  I stayed with the emotion and let it be just what it needed to be, although it was hard at times, since it felt so very blue and heavy. It wasn't until I happened upon a wonderful website, written by a doctor/surgeon who shed some terrific insight on why surgery leaves many of us feeling blue afterward. He mentioned the obvious causes, such as the anesthesia effects that can be felt for days and sometimes weeks afterward, the type or severity of the surgery, the drugs dispensed, etc, This all made sense to me, but tell me something I don't know thought my curious mind. He then went on to describe the healing process and the fact that prior to surgery the body is generating a good deal of adrenaline in all the excitement, anxiety and anticipation leading up to the actual procedure. I learned my body is expending a good deal of energy to mentally prep for sugery, so that after all is said and done the body/mind has a sudden drop in adrenaline which causes a deflated like effect to the nervous systtem. Plus, all your body's energy is now being directed toward the site of the surgery, which means you feel more tired then usual as the body prepares to heal.

WOW! I was propelled back to my surgery 10 years ago and recall how I had worked hard to prepare myself mentally and physically for the before and after of this major surgery. It seemed that even though this recent surgery of mine was not as magor in nature, it definitely had a similiar effect on my psyche. The doctor had a great suggestion at this point, write down what you feel or go through after surgery. In other words if you know this is just a part of your body's way of healing post surgery, note it somewhere so that when or if you find yourself in similiar circumstances you can breath into it and recognize it as just another temporary cog in the wheel of healing and recovery. It passes.

Reading that was like a light bulb going off in my head moment and I instantly felt the recognition of past surgical procedures wash over me.

This was indeed a process......and I just needed to let it proceed as is, not anlayzing or judging, but simply letting it go where it needed. But more importantly, to be kind to myself in the scheme of things, give my body the rest it was craving and not look for it to be "other" then what it is/was for me at that moment!

Today, is precisely one week post surgery and I am moving along quite well. The drop in mood has rebounded, the pain and cramping has subsided, And my energy seems to be better, not the same as pre-surgery, but it has improved. So, it would seem that a gentle reminder from a doctor whose site I will attempt to relocate so that I can add the link to my Blog, lifted me up when I needed it most and helped me to RE-member that post surgical blues is a very real part of the healing process, no matter how minor the surgery.

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