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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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