7 weeks post op for rectocele & cystocele repair & sacrospinous fixation - update

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Hi Ladies, I have received so much information and support from this forum over recent months and hope that this will also prove helpful to others providing reassurance and also some gentle warnings to take care. Bottom line/abridged version  - rest, rest and more rest (even when you think you are feeling better) for a minimum of 6 weeks and likely for a lot longer (12 weeks) - this will give you the best chance of a good and full recovery. 

Foe me it has been a bumpy 7 weeks with lows, highs, more lows and then full on panic that the operation had failed, followed by tears of relief that all is actually healing fine, just taking a bit of extra time for the tissues to heal ..... a redhead trait - we are sensitive ones?! apparently. 

Unpleasant things that happened in the 7 weeks included anaemia due to blood loss in the operation (a trait of redheads also apparently) which led to fainting/weakness immediately post op which meant I couldn't get out of bed/alarms going off in the hospital/catheter in place longer etc. followed by usual 4 days of no bowel movement, followed by a very unusual 5 weeks of effectively faecal incontinence and loose bowels which took me to an untold low. Then a dose of a flu type bug with high temperature and lots of coughing and sneezing which was also miserable and had me bracing my tummy to keep everything in tact. 

I had to resort to cutting out practically all meds from iron tablets, codeine, ibuprofen and all of the stool softeners etc that had been prescribed to try an calm down my digestive system and I self-prescribed otc treatments to counter thrush, piles and practically nappy rash given the unexpected complications that visited me. Counter to everything that we are normally told, I had to move to lower fibre food, reduce fluid intake etc. All very strange and maybe a complication of my historical IBS, inflammation/upset from ibuprofen and antibiotics. 

But amongst all of this there were some highs. I had a look down below after week 1 or 2 and there was no bruising, no prolapses and a perfectly formed wonderful vagina was to be seen. Wept with joy at the prospect of feeling and looking normal again.

At 2-4 weeks, started to feel able to go out to get occasional fresh air/visit a friend etc. (albeit trying to manage discreetly problems with bowels). Bleeding stopped at about 2-3 weeks and was managing mainly on paracetamol but needed a lie down/rest during the day. Only very very short car journeys as a passenger could be tolerated and similarly not much sitting but a little walk around was fine. I finally started to ditch the pyjamas/leisurewear during the day and I managed to drive 1 mile or so to get meds for husband who had flu.

At 5 weeks, I was hit with flu bug (thanks husband), mainly in bed/on sofa feeling sorry for myself for a week.  At 6 weeks, I sat 2 hours in a car as a passenger, had dinner with friends,  sleep over, 2 hours trip back the following day. I was really uncomfortable and needed paracetamol.  I was desperate for fresh air after almost 2 weeks in flu ridden household, so walked for 20 minutes around neighbouring woodland/lake the day after the 'weekend away". I felt overjoyed to be in fresh air but despondent that had so little stamina for the walk and needed to lie down and recover when I got home. I had a look down below as the familiar prolapse type dragging feeling and pain there and I was distraught to see 2 apparent lumps/swellings just up from the entrance to my lady bits. Rested for 3 days solid, felt better and it looked a bit better. 

At week 6+ when allegedly we can engage in intercourse, I thought I ought to try driving more than a mile (less frightening than sex!). I found I was perfectly fine driving for 5 to 20 mins, but at week 7 drove 45 mins, had a lovely relaxing facial and pedicure followed by 30 minutes of freedom trying on clothes/shopping/like a kid in a sweetshop,  followed by killer 45 minute drive home ............This resulted in pain, soreness and what I thought was a return of the prolapses, cue tears, despair.......when is this going to end, feel better, when can I get back to normal life, work etc. and now I don't think I can even go to to the Christmas party I have bought the clothes for.......

Week 7 and 1 day, finally see my consultant. I tell him the highs - great that bladder working well, bowels now pretty much under control, no hematoma, no butt pain, no serious infection - but also explained the issues as above and concerns that whilst I could see I was no longer a stage 2 prolapse (2 apricots at opening) - I thought I could see a stage 1 prolapse (2 large sultanas front and back just inside), I was sore, dragging pain from driving/shopping the previous day etc.

He examined me - and got me to press down (instructions were to tell him as he rummaged around outside and in where it felt sore, then to cough, then bare down as if pushing out a poo, push harder as if pushing our a baby, pull up pelvic floor and squeeze, interspersed with relax, breath normally etc., ). He used lots of lube, was considerate and gentle under the circumstances and a nurse was on hand giving encouragement! Upshot was that what I can see is not a prolapse.............just normal swelling/healing and plump walls of the vagina. The nurse said she had a good look too (!) and absolutely could confirm that even when pushing out a 'baby', no prolapse came down. I had also though the soreness might be due to vaginal atrophy ( 57 and rather late, but started peri menopause a few months back, finally prescribed Vagifem and Estriol cream to help with atrophy and ultimately also HRT patches as getting so desperate with sudden onset of hormonal imbalances) However, his assessment was that I may have a bit of an infection which was leading to the soreness so he recommended a type of cream/ointment used for nappy rash which I can buy over the counter and that the tissues were otherwise appropriately moist and plump from the hormonal treatments (good to know I suppose!). 

I told him that we had not 'road tested' so to speak my new lady bits because of my concerns and he was emphatic that given on going healing for me, no intercourse for at least another 4 - 6 weeks (phew) and no pelvic floor exercises using the internal weights/Kegel8/Elvie appliances etc...but just to carry on as I have been with normal natural squeezes etc. (Pelvic floor and control all tested as ok).

I asked should I be trying to walk more, do more normal activities/exercise etc. start to challenge myself etc. ....again he was adamant, absolutely not. Rest, listen to body and allow the healing process, although he recognised it was difficult but important for me to accept as he knows how active I would normally be. Again he reiterated, I am still healing. Although some advice is 4-6 weeks, for some (especially fair skinned/redhead etc. according to the nurse at least) it can often taken a little longer. He wants to see me in another 4-6 weeks to check progression of the healing and hopefully if I continue to take it easy, all will be well. The dissolvable stitches are slowly dissolving and there are 2 nylon permanent stitches hitching up my uterus to the sacro spinous ligament.

I was so relieved to know that the op appears to have been a success and setting aside my personal and peculiar earlier complications, the intermittent discomfort I feel and little bumps I can see are just part of the healing. I am also reassured to know he will see me again to check and should contact him or GP in between times if anything concerns me and I suppose I have been given a 'don't feel guilty' pass to just 'STOP', RELAX and allow my body to heal.

Take care lovely ladies and I hope and pray you have the support and resources to enable you to allow your amazing bodies to heal and be kind to yourselves and try not to worry too much........ progress will be made in time and with care xxxx

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  • Posted

    Hi Redhead,

    Loved reading your lovely post, very imformative and reassuring. Lots of ladies will appreciate this post.

    I'm sure you will continue to do well and result will be a successful repair.

    So important to rest in these early weeks and you have shown this by being so sensible.

    Happy healing,

    Phyl x

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    • Posted

      Thank you Phyl. I can't say I was always 'sensible'! There are times when either cabin fever or false sense of security that I feel a bit better has lead me to walk too far, do too much housecleaning, go on an ill advised (and expensive) shopping sprees etc. .......But I really do properly understand with the benefit of hindsight to listen and respond to my body healing and not try and work through the pain and discomfort or mask it with painkillers as helpful as they are. My message to myself now is if it hurts or niggles .......stop and try to avoid getting to the point of it hurting, so shorter drives, not trying yet to get back to usual frenetic activity etc. Good luck ladies xx

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  • Posted

    Hi Redhead, from another (ex)redhead! I'm so glad you're healing well. It took me longer than usual, about 5-6 months but was warned by one of the clinic doctors beforehand that it may be longer than usual due to my (great) age, 74! twisted He was correct and I'm pleased he did say that or I would have worried all those months. As we grow older our tissues and skin lose elasticity and get thinner and more fragile so this, according to one of the nurses is why we take longer than younger women in say their 40's. Keep listening to your body and rest when it tells you to. You are still healing for months even if you can't see it happening. Best wishes, Pollyanna UK X rolleyes

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    • Posted

      Thank you Pollyanna for your good wishes and wise words. I find I am reliant on either estriol pessaries or cream applied to inside or outside of my ladybits are required to support the tissues elasticity and for general comfort. Oh to be young again! Take care x
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  • Posted

    Hello Ladies,

       I had my surgery and I Survived. My sons and sisters were there with me and we said a prayer before I went in and God truly answered our prayers. I was a stage 4 and had a repair surgery. I stayed in the hospital for 2 days and left without having a bowel movement.The first four days after surgery was terrible, I had a lot of gas and could not get a bowel movement. I was up in the middle of the night giving myself sitz bath which made everything feel a lot better. 

    When I was able  to have my first bowel movement that help with a lot of the pain but the gas return quickly. Everyday things got a little better, I was not able to sit because my left butt cheek hard so bad. One week after the surgery I was feeling good not 100% but 80%, I have to say I was surprise by the way I feeling because all that I have read, I thought I would be laid up in the bed in pain. I am still a little sore down there but it is getting better. 

       I went for my 2 week check and the doctor said everything is looking and healing good. I think that was the most pain I had in that week, when he had to examine me down there, that brought tears to my eyes and cause me to bleed a little but after a couple of sitz bath and the next day it was better. I am glad I went in scare cause I was expecting a lot worse. 

    Ladies, I pray that you all have a quick recovery and that you all heal successfully.

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    • Posted

      Hi Scare1963

      So pleased to hear you are making progress. I have learned however that even when the pain lessens to mild discomfort or even feels just fine, we are still healing and need to take care. It is on the days when I feel great that I have been at greatest risk of doing damage - because I will try and complete too many tasks, put too much in my shopping trolley, do another load of laundry, drive for 45 mins instead of only 10 mins etc. I then pay for it later that day or the following day with feelings of tugging and pulling, soreness etc. and for some ladies they experience a bit more blood loss. Do enjoy the days that you feel comfortable but still be careful for many more weeks and indeed I think we need to relearn some things when are allegedly fully recovered so we don't end up with the prolapse returning. I will not be doing any Body Pump classes again, or jumping up and down in Aerobics, keep on top of my IBS-C and IBS-D ...........and stick to Pilates, walks, swimming. 

      Wishing you an ongoing and full recovery. 

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    • Posted

      Hello Scare. It is so good to read your post and that you survived your surgery 😊

      Do take things very steadily and rests lots.

      I’m glad your post op check was positive. 

      Be very careful and give yourself the time you need to be really healed. The first 12 weeks are crucial and even after one has to very slowly increase activity.

      Please let us know how you get on with updates. Wishing you a speedy recovery .

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  • Posted

    Well done Redhead.

    It sound asif you can see the finish line. Its a process, 6 more weeks should do it.

    Its pretty cute forthe to tell us 6to 8 weeks when many ladies are taking 4 months.

    I have what have plus the mesh sling anchoring which is giving the most painful

    Lets see how we travel

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    • Posted

      Thanks Judith - It feels like the finish line seems to keep moving out of view and then coming back into view! When I started this thread, the after effects of the consultants internal rummaging around had not fully kicked in. I have been so sore and in pain again not unlike around the start of the post op experience for 2 days following and have had to just lie down and take full complement of ibuprofen and paracetamol and one dose of codeine. I felt like a hot poker had been taken to my lady bits and a horse had then kicked me in the pelvis. Miserable. But after pretty much a day in bed yesterday, I did manage to get to the Christmas party and wear a sparkly dress. No dancing and didn't stay long. Not sure if it was the bed rest, or the Gin and Tonic and copious amounts of wine last night, but feeling much better this morning - pain gone and soreness from infection/examination has calmed down. So finish line is back in view................hope yours is in view too. Take care.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Redhead.

      Still steady as you go.

      The needles have stopped for now although I have the soreness and ache.

      My bottom anchored sling stitches have hard deep scabbing which are not in any hurry to go.

      I can't sit yet so it is still reclining for me.

      I did sweep a floor today and moped.

      So will not pick up anything tomorrow.

      3 weeks post op tomorrow

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  • Posted

    Gosh! What a tale of ups and downs and highs and lows and hopefully a happy ending! I made need hysterectomy +fixation as well as major posterior and minor anterior repair. My info leaflets for the fixation (UK) say avoid sex for at least 2 months, so longer than for repairs. Sounds like you have a good surgeon who understands how long it can take for things to heal. I understand how hard it must be to be inactive but hope you can 'hold back' and things carry on going well. So glad it all seems to have worked for you - fingers crossed mine does too! 😊

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    • Posted

      Thanks Lizzie, I am in the UK too. Yes the surgeon has been helpful. In hindsight I should have contacted him earlier when I was experiencing the loss of control in my bowels. I feared nerve damage, rectal prolapse all sorts and he said I should have absolutely contacted him or my GP. However, it is tricky - you can't contact them directly so you end up leaving personal messages with their secretaries  - usually voice mails or unanswered emails and hoping it gets through. Similar thing in terms of getting an appointment with GP, plus I couldn't face any car journeys at that time. So I struggled on at home. Anyway, it all calmed down eventually after a few weeks with the measures I took. I have to learn patience, to slow down and trust that all will be well eventually if I take care.

      Wishing you all the very best with your future operation and recovery.

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  • Posted

    Hi Redhead it is with great pleasure that I read your wonderful resume of your post op journey. I am sorry you have had additional complications but I can also relate to much of your story at 5 weeks post op myself. This doubt that creeps in plays havoc. One day I feel almost normal and the next I’m exhausted and a bit miserable. I get frustrated as in my head I want to do stuff but my body won’t allow. I plan my day, little things and never achieve more than half of it.

    We all know we need to rest but also yearn for normality as you explain. I have CFS too and this plays a part I guess but I still lay on my bed in PJs although today I dressed for the first time! When sleeping throughout the day it’s more practical to be in nightwear!

    I still can’t sit yet and have not attempted to drive. Up for two hours cooking this morning set me back to bed for the rest of the day.

    Great you are doing so well now and wishing you continued strength and healing. Thank you x

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    • Posted

      Thanks Paddiwhack. 

      What you are experiencing in terms of the ups and downs seems to be the new normal for us at least for several months. Although I did find that gradually (barring setbacks like after the consultants internal), I have more energy. But even now at 7 to 8 weeks on, every day around 4 or 5 pm I have to just stop and rest up for 1-2 hours just so I can cope with the evening and settle down any nipping pains and restore my energy levels. I wish I had thought about getting one of those hospital type tables/desks that you recommended in a post to another Forum user - brilliant idea. I often just need to rest my body (and bed is best place) but brain is on overdrive wanting to sort stuff out so could have been getting comfy with my lap top and making progress on admin etc. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

      Do take it easy as much as you can. Gradually we can do a bit more but it seems it is trial and error even further down the line as I have found. I am the same - 2 hours of cooking sets me back too.

      Keep healing and resting. x

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    • Posted

      Hi Redhead. Happy Sunday!

      Thank you for your reassuring comments. It’s sill but something not feeling quite right causes a little anxiety. You would think after twenty years of nursing I would be more relaxed! I’m not the anxious type at all but I think we all have that fear of failed surgery.

      I am pleased to read that you too cannot do too much. I can’t wait till I can drive and do property checks to relieve my husband a bit!

      I slept 15hrs Friday night into yesterday afternoon. Up a few hours and slept again for 13 hrs. I now feel rating to go. So Christmas pressie wrapping in small bursts is my plan today with Christmas music.

      The table has been quite helpful although when in bed I gave a tray with all the bits I need next to new and semi recumbent with knees raised I can work con my laptop for a while. I had to do all the invoices for November this way with my lovely friend in and out of the office will files and collating and donning the calculator😂.

      I now have pink bleeding but think this is probably as stitches are dissolving. More noticeable after a bowel movement.

      Have a good day everyone. X

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