Aug 2: 1pm Surgery, 3pm Recovery Room, 6pm Home.
I was calm, relaxed and felt totally confident about being in capable hands. I attribute some of that to the Successful Surgery meditation CD I listened to every night before I went to bed for the past 10 days and the first few mornings in addition before the surgery. Jeff was joking around with the nurses, my oncologist checked in and it was an atmosphere of positive energy.
I left the prep room immediately after they administered my first sleeping cocktail of anesthesia. I was out before we hit the hallway, just a couple of feet! My next memory is waking up in recovery groggy and with some discomfort, mainly from the removal of the catheter and the gas bloating from the air they fill your abdomen to see and separate the organs. My legs felt restless and I couldn’t quite find a position. My eyes hurt intensely for a few moments at a time. My throat was scratchy from the breathing tube. They gave me Oxycodone. It felt amazing to have Jeff rub my feet.
I closed my eyes for a bit and then little by little, I felt more aware and awake. They had me dress and I saw the cute heart-shaped gauze coverings my oncologist makes for his patients, one over my belly button and one on each side of my abdomen. A small gesture that lightens the tone of the surgery each time I check my belly out.
I take a walk to the loo, drink sips of water and ultimately, get checked out by one of the anesthesiologists. By 5:30, I was already being wheeled to the garage. I remembered to bring a pillow in the car for the drive home to cover my abdomen to help with the bumps and give me a sense of comfort.
Arriving home, I had a small dinner and soon, the catheter discomfort was gone, my eyes felt just fine, my legs weren’t restless and I was sitting up, propped by pillows, and reading in the lounge. Pain was minimal but I took Vicodin to make sure I wouldn’t experience pain as the anesthesia wore off.
Some of the best advice I received prior to surgery was that I was going to feel the need to be vertical, to be walking. This would help eliminate the gas pain. It would also get my body moving which needed to happen in order to start the HRT when I was ready. I took a few slow laps around the backyard.
I slipped into bed that night wearing silk pajamas, another tip to ease getting in and out of bed and listened to the affirmation section of the Successful Surgery meditation CD.
Saturday morning was uneventful. My throat was still scratchy so I sucked on Ricolas, I ate a small breakfast and I read. We did a walking meditation in the backyard led by Bodhipaksa. I felt strong, and in only mild discomfort from the gas pain, being relieved by the manly burping which began, or as Jeff has been calling it, “Shrek burps.”
I shifted to an upright chair with a back pillow as I relaxed in the lounge, as it was more comfortable to have as straight a back as possible due to the gas still in my system. As the day went on, my abdomen became inflamed, hot to the touch, and the bruising was starting to show. I actually looked a bit pregnant—ironic, hey?
A friend stopped by and recommended I use Arnica on my belly—of course! And with the constipation I was also suffering, asked why I wasn’t taking any Colace (stool softener)—I had read about that but forgot to pick some up. Jeff got both of them from the store and the next phase of recovery began.
Jeff helped me with a sponge bath and we prepared for our dinner arrival—a feast of vegan dishes ordered by my family from Houston. I was hungrier now, but was cautious about over doing it, as I was a bit full up: bloated from the gas, swollen in my abdomen, and constipated. The ginger beer (non-alcoholic) we drank with dinner gave me the burps, which helped release quite a bit!
After dinner, I used a heating pad for the gas bloating and an ice pack for the ab swelling along with slathering my belly in Arnica gel. By 10pm I was feeling tired, took 3 Colace gels and now, Tylenol, and once again, went to bed listening to the affirmations.
Today, I felt a bit more tired. Stayed in bed. Read. Jeff asked if I felt relieved to have the ovaries and fallopian tubes gone. I realized I was focused on the physical for the past 36 hours and I hadn’t really contemplated the release of what were these unwanted mutating cells. I did feel relieved but it was still a bit surreal.
I ate leftovers for lunch along with a scrambled egg as I could feel my body needing some protein. In the early afternoon we did the walking meditation, this time around the neighborhood. A slow easy pace. Back at home, I got back into bed with heat and ice. I kept rubbing my belly with Arnica. Wiped my face with a chamomile cloth, sprayed cucumber toner, coated my lips with balm, eased my throat with Ricolas and took Tylenol for a headache and the combination of discomforts…
At this point, the bleeding has stopped. Took another Colace and began writing. And later, Jeff made us a healthy almond milk, almond butter, peach and leafy greens smoothie.
In the later afternoon, I wanted to get moving again and took my walk to the backyard again.
I’m really pleased with how I feel, day 2, 48 hours after I was released. There is little pain, only mild discomfort, which I know will continue subsiding as the days go by. I plan to listen to the signals my body is sure to give about what it needs, actively move through my recovery and begin to put this first phase behind me.
I’ll be honest, I feel a bit separated from what has happened. Logically, it all makes sense. Emotionally, it’s happened so fast and I’m a bit dazed. Should I be feeling the enormity of this more? Or am I just healthily adapting to what I know were the right decisions for me and there’s nothing more to feel? I do know I want to be strong and healthy for the mastectomy in November. And as I’m want to do, maybe I’m just already moving on to the next. We’ll see what happens as the hormones kick in. I might have oodles more to say about all of this! Til next time. xoxo ~ Bonnie
- Successful Surgery Meditation CD Daily for 10 days prior
- Lots of green juicing, clean eating, yoga
- No eating or drinking from 8pm the night before (instructions said midnight)
- Remove nail polish (fingers not toes; so anesthesiologist can monitor oxygen ensuring nails aren’t turning blue!)
What’s on My Bedside Table
- Steel water bottle
- 2nd Chakra aromatherapy spray
- Organic vanilla rosemary lip balm
- Olbas natural inhaler to open nasal passages with a refreshing cooling feeling
- Bell (gift from a colleague; Jeff had a chuckle)
- Blum Naturals organic chamomile natural cloth face wipes
- Honest plant-based natural cloth body wipes
- Cucumber cool face toner spray
- Tea Tree and Lavender deodorant
- Bach Rescue pastilles for natural stress relief
- Origins “Peace of Mind” on-the-spot relief
- Arnica gel
- Pillow for the car ride home
- Silk PJs
- Get vertical, walk laps around the house, the yard, the block
- Be conscious of being slow, not lifting or stretching
- Don’t be so anxious to “do normal stuff” as you’ve just had organs taken out
- Be ok in the being still