16 weeks post op, back at work and swelling?

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Hi,

I am about 16 weeks post op (posterior, anterior and vault suspension) and had an unremarkable recovery apart from a small setback when I became allergic to sanitary pads in the early days, and another when my pelvic floor muscles spasmed. Have been seeing a pelvic floor Physio who has helped overcome this and thought I was on track for a straightforward recovery.

My problem/question relates to my return to work. I delayed my return until 13 weeks post op, and had gradually built up to 30-40 minute walks and returned to gentle exercise at the gym the week before. Now that I'm back working I find that I'm not coping with full time. I work as a teacher and spend an inordinate amount of time either sitting on the floor or getting up and down, and standing. The past 2 weekends have been spent pretty much just resting in bed, trying to get more comfortable ready for the next week.

I'm not sure if I've had another small prolapse, or if the dragging feeling and discomfort/pain is from excessive swelling.

I have an appointment with my pelvic floor Physio next week and will find out more then, but since I'm off work today, trying to rest, just wondered if anyone has experienced anything similar or has any wisdom to share smile

Many thanks

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi julib,

    Sounds like you had a reasonably good recovery.

    I had A&P repairs but not a vault suspension.

    I was told once you have had repairs only light duties at work and that if I cause any down pressure at all my repairs will fail. While my job is not one of the heaviest it does involve some heavier work and sometimes being on my feet for a number of hours at end of the day who is going to employ someone who has had repeat repair surgery.

    So can only say to avoid down pressure where possible and if you have to bend or lift to watch your posture and pull insides up and hold by doing pelvic floor exercise. When sitting matron always use to say ' bum to back of chair' to ensure good posture and support.

    It is a long and slow recovery and I believe that 12/13 weeks is not long enough for most of us, obvious by so many failed repairs that don't seem to last. I went back at 12 weeks post op and looking back my recovery was steady but on return to work felt that it was 2 steps forward 1 step back and recovery slowed down dramatically. Like you I spent days recovering and had to fight to avoid being left on my feet for hours Occupational health was not supportive at all they wanted me back at 6/8 weeks and her lines were well rehearsed; she would not let me explain the nature of my repairs or what my consultant had advised.

    Anyway at just over 18 months post op my front repair is holding up and very strong, but when I have been on my feet for more than a couple of hours I start to get throbbing, dragging feeling again in my lower pelvic floor at the back end so not sure if it is the back repair failing. Still have to spend time recovering after my shifts but I do recover much quicker now.

    Can you maybe use a chairy and avoid the up and down at floor level, at least fod a few more months; they reckon the deeper tissues can take much longer to heal as does a posterior repair.

    Hope you find a way around difficult situations at work and that things improve soon for you.

    Phyl x

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    • Posted

      Thanks Phyl,

      I guess I'll just have to change things up a lot more than I anticipated. Still getting used to not being back to normal smile

      Sorry to hear your work place was not very supportive. Hopefully you're having a better time of it now. 

      Glad to hear your front repair is great. Its so worrisome wondering if its all still holding together isn't it? I find I am second guessing everything now!

      Juli x

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    • Posted

      Hi julib

      My initial swelling did not completely go down till around 16 weeks and still occasionally felt swollen for months afterwards and it does make you worry all the time that it's failed.

      I also use estriol topical cream which thickens up as strengthens the internal walls helping the repair to hold better.

      Phyl x

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    • Posted

      Update

      Happily I saw my Physio the other day and she thoroughly checked for return of prolapse. It hasn't recurred smile

      So I guess the big take away is that if you do too much the pain returns! And that recovery really does take months and months.

      I've modified the way I work and have had a better week, although stood for too long today and am now very sore.

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    • Posted

      That's goods news and must be reassuring that all is well with your repair.

      It really is just a matter of listening to your body. I believe our employers have a duty of care towards employees so they should be listening to what we say and helping us to work around our return to work. Some of the ladies return on a part time/reduced hours to start with.

      I had agreement direct with people manager that I could split my shift and do half of it on checkout at seat and other half on my feet. They did come and go for first few weeks then gradually left me on my feet longer and longer until I was on my feet for full shifts. I ended up having problems with scar tissue and has now put me back a good bit.

      The problem is we can't say we aren't ready to return to work as we can do a limited amount; but work being work we can't return on our terms without support and let's face it the work place is all about prioritising the needs of the business. Employers don't really understand and occupational health workers are not necessarily well informed and may not have any real knowledge of genitourinary conditions.

      Anyway keep up with the pelvic floor exercises as part of morning and evening routines and throughout the day as much as you can.

      Take care,

      Phyl x

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    • Posted

      You are so right about listening to our bodies.

      Luckily for me my employers are super supportive. Its my own 'teacher guilt' that makes me want to be there for my class. Guess I'll have to learn to relinquish some control 😊

      Sorry to hear your scar tissue has set you back. Hopefully you can get on the right track again really soon

      Juli xx

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    • Posted

      Thank's julib,

      Sometimes think I'm my own worst enemy ( I'm sure 1 0r 2 of the ladies would agree ) not good at taking my own advice.

      I know at work one of my colleges said I need to be more assertive and tell them wgat I can and can't do. Sometimes though the push too much when their short staffed.

      X

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