Preparing for your surgery

1 Week Prior:

Obviously not all surgeons are the same and they will all have different preparations they will suggest.  I do not have a medical degree so follow your doctor’s suggestions, but this is what I did 1 week prior to my surgery:

  • Do not take any aspirin or ibuprofen. Tylenol is OK
  • Stop all supplements and do not eat or drink anything with ginger or garlic
  • Drink lots of water every day: 80-100 ounces
  • Get some comfortable clothes.  At least 2 pairs of comfortable pants that are not tight around your waist and underwear that are not too tight either. Personally, I made sure to have 3 loose fitting pants and underwear as well as looser tops. Your stomach will be larger due to the gas they put into your stomach in order to do this surgery.

Questions I had for my doctor were:

  • What if on an antibiotic? Stop or OK to keep taking? They said it was OK to keep taking
  • Can you still have your surgery if you get your period or must you postpone?  Yes you can! No worries there.

What to do the night before

Pack up

Shave (You don’t have to, but I definitely did)

Drink a TON of water to help with low bp if you have it and for hydration for your veins

Nothing to eat or drink after midnight

What to bring into the Hospital

Drivers License

Insurance card

Travel sized tissues

Notepad and pen for whoever is with you to write down what your dr says and for you to write down any questions

What to bring to the hospital but leave in the car:

I would just leave these items in the car you will be riding home in or bring them in with you if you will be leaving in a different car so that you have them accessible for the car ride home:

  • Slip On Shoes.  Just wear these to the hospital to make your life easier because it will not be so easy to bend over or pick up your legs to your stomach.
  • Throw up bag – This is for the car ride home in case you vomit.  Sometimes this happens to people with anesthesia.  
  • Advil – just in case anything were to happen like traffic and you couldn’t get your pain pills.  This happened to me 10 years ago – awful. 
  • Water bottle – nice and big water bottle for your car ride home. I was incredibly thirsty and so relieved I had thought of this beforehand
  • Tissues – it’s a very emotional day
  • Plastic bag for dirty tissues 😉
  • Pillow – you can leave this in your car in case the hospital doesn’t give you one of their own.  This is to have something soft for your stomach so the seat belt is not sitting directly on your incisions.
  • Heavy duty maxi pads. You will be bleeding afterward and the hospital will give you a pad but just in case

What to do afterward:

Begin a stool softener right away when you get home. Your body will be going though a lot of adjustments and add in pain pills to that and you could be dealing with constipation. Don’t add that to the list of things you have to deal with.

Rest when you get home but as soon as you start feeling “with it” a little, try and do some walking around your house. The gas they put into your stomach will cause you pain all the way up into your shoulders and walking and pooping helps to get rid of that. It can be really painful but please remember it will go away. A heating pad on the shoulders will help a lot.

Drink as much water as you can and make sure you are resting.

Excision surgery with an endo specialist is normally a much easier recovering than with a non- specialist but it is still uncomfortable. I personally didn’t take the pain pills because I know it contributes to the gas pain and causes constipation. I just took Advil around the clock but you do not need to do that.

Please contact me with any questions!!


Accepting the need for another surgery

Originally written October 4, 2017:

Mentally I was not ready to accept that I needed another surgery for my endometriosis.  I had my last deep excision surgery in 2007 which is just over 10 years ago, but I just kept hoping that the pain I was feeling was something else.  I had colonoscopies, went to Urologists, went to my regular OBGGYN and tried all different therapies – conventional and alternative.  It wasn’t until my Endometriosis Specialist told me that I needed to face my fears that I forced myself to look in the mirror and take a deep breath and decide to move forward with surgery.

I was going to wait until January or February because that is when it would be slower at my job and so I tried going on the birth control pill as a “band aid” until then.  For whatever reason, the pill created more problems but this time having to do with my bladder.  I had symptoms of a UTI but all of the cultures were negative.  I went to 2 different Urologists and they both felt it was hormonal and had to do with the pill and suggested it was endometriosis on my bladder.  I shared this with my specialist who told me that he sees many women with this kind of situation.  I didn’t know what to do because the symptoms were really interfering with my life.  Everywhere I went I had to make sure I knew right where the bathroom was, when I was driving I would get anxious if I got stuck in traffic because I could only go about 30 minutes and then would need to urinate again.

Unfortunately my mother has been fighting a cancer called Multiple Myeloma for many years and treatments have not been doing their job, so I decided I would ask one of my best girlfriends if she could take me to get my surgery in November rather than waiting until January/February. We worked it out around her schedule and mine with me thinking that at the time we were going to schedule it, my job would be slow enough where it would be OK for me to be out a week.  She was going to be able to help me recover and help my husband with the kids if he needed the help.

My mom underwent an intense chemotherapy treatment which did not work enough to give her much downtown and so she is going to go through a trial using immunotherapy (follow Team Janet Strong on FB to learn more about her journey if you’re interested).  If all were to go according to plan she would be admitted into the hospital in early November which meant that I had to decide whether or not I was going to cancel my surgery and wait until after my mom went through this trial, or schedule it sooner if there was a date available.

I called my Endometriosis Specialist, Dr. Masahide Kanayama at New York Endometriosis Center and I spoke to the amazing Medical Manager, Sabrina.  I let them know my situation and she let me know they had 2 dates in October available.  October 5 and October 12.  I was told this 6 days prior to October 5 and I wasn’t sure how I was going to make that work.  I would need to make sure it was OK with work, figure out childcare and figure out who was going to take me and take care of me for a couple of days afterward.

I texted my cousin and asked her if she could take me to the surgery in October. She immediately said yes.  She has always been there for me when I have needed her help.  I let my brother and sister-in-law know we would need their help with my parents should they need help – they said “we’re on it and will be wherever we need to be to help”.  And then there was my job.  I am beyond lucky – BEYOND – to be working for an amazing company where everyone let me know they were there to help in any way I needed.

I’m really lucky to have a family that has been through such ups and downs, but yet always comes together in times of need. My Aunt and cousin in particular were very blunt with me which is what I needed and said “you need this so that you can be out of pain and to be there for your mother.  Do it”. If they hadn’t just come out and said it like that I probably would have waited.

My life has been extremely challenging for quite a lot of years with a lot of unexpected “downs”, but all of those “downs” allow me to truly appreciate what is in my life today.  I don’t know if my family will ever truly know how thankful I am for their support.  I am a better person than I was 10 years ago with so much love and support in my life – I got this and will make sure to document how the surgery goes. I decided to go with December 12. At least it gave me a week to mentally prepare!