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I am currently 6 days post-op from my diagnostic laparoscopy procedure and wanted to share my experience to help others who may be interested!
1. HISTORY | I am a 20 year-old female who has been struggling with the frequent development of large ovarian cysts. I am fairly small, fit and active, therefore these cysts have been creating problems for me. The common cyst size that causes me pain ranges from 3-5cm. I have been taking various birth controls over the years, and they have not been much help to prevent the cysts. Due to their size, I have pain during day-day activities when the cyst is large, and having sex is very painful. After my most recent large cyst measuring at 5cm, my GYN and I decided to perform a diagnostic laparoscopy to see what is going on inside as well as remove my cyst.
2. BEFORE SURGERY DAY | After scheduling the surgery which is normally a same-day outpatient procedure, I was given pre-op instructions to follow along with receiving a special soap to reduce bacteria on my operating site. The evening before my surgery, I was told not to consume caffeine, and drink as much water as possible to avoid any dehydration. The night before surgery, I showered following the instructions and washed my stomach area with the special soap I was given. I was also instructed to stop drinking and eating after midnight and was also told not to shave that day. After my shower, I put on CLEAN clothes, and slept on freshly washed bed linens.
3. SURGERY DAY - PRE OP | After waking up in the morning, I had to take a shower once again, using the special soap once more. After showering and getting dressed, I made my way over to the hospital with my mother driving me as you NEED someone to drive you after the procedure, again, I was to be going home the SAME day. When we arrived at the hospital, we checked in, I gave a urine sample to test for pregnancy, and was changed into my gown and laid down on my bed. Nurses came by to test my vitals, gather medical history, and administer an IV with fluids to hydrate me. Next, the anesthesiologist came down to brief me on my surgery procedure and ask important medical questions to make my procedure easier for me personally. After explaining to nurses that I DO get motion sickness and nausea, they decided to place an anti-nausea patch behind my ear called Scopolamine. After waiting, I was taken upstairs where I said my goodbye to my mother, and was prepped for surgery. Several nurses came in to ask me some final questions, my GYN who would be operating asked me some questions, and then my personal anesthesiologist came in and administered some kind of medication to relax me (made me very sleepy and calm) into my IV. I was then wheeled on my bed into the operating room and the rest is a blur.
4. SURGERY | As I was clearly asleep during the procedure, I can speak on what I know was done to me as I was briefed before hand. After I was put under, I had a catheter inserted, I was intubated, I was on the operating table for 1 hour and 2 minutes, I had 3 incisions made ( 1 on each side of my lower abdomen and 1 in my belly button), and for the procedure to be performed safely, I had carbon dioxide gas injected through a needle into my lower abdomen to provide more room for the instruments to move safely inside of me. My GYN performed a pelvic exam vaginally, removed my 5cm cyst and any other pathogens, and performed a diagnosis to ensure everything looked normal.
5. POST- OP | When I woke up, I saw the 3 incisions which were simply glued shut, despite receiving many drugs, I was not loopy and felt okay despite some cramping pains which I was given Fentanyl for which did not help and surprisingly the nurses gave me Motrin and my pain went away right away! After being monitored for 30 minutes, I was taken back downstairs to recovery and was met with my mom and my nurses. I was told I had to urinate before I could leave which I ended up having to do right away anyways. When I did urinate, it was painful and burned due to the catheter, and there was some light bleeding which is normal. After I was ready to go, I was given my discharge instructions, changed, and left the hospital with a scheduled post-op visit.
6. RECOVERY AT HOME | Overall, I was not sent home with any strong pain medication as I am a small girl, and taking Tylenol & Motrin worked perfectly fine for me. I was sore in my lower belly for about 3 days in which I walked slow and was in a bit of pain but nothing crazy. I put myself on the BRAT diet to take things slow the first day, drank lots of water, AND WALKED! Despite being sore, it is VERY VERY important to do slow walking as much as possible. The slow walking helps get your bowels moving again, promotes healing faster, and most importantly, helps the carbon dioxide gas reabsorb and come out. I did have trouble sleeping the first 2 nights as it was most comfortable for me to sleep on my back and slightly elevated. Besides being sore, and very bloated, my recovery progressed well.
7. NOTES | Overall, I learned that the more I walked, the faster my CO2 gas pains went away. For me, the gas pains and bloating are the most uncomfortable part of recovery. Some patients commonly get shoulder, chest and back pain as the gas travels around your body however, I had no pain from the gas except in my stomach. The gas takes TIME to reabsorb so be prepared and be patient. Like I said, water, having a bowel movement, farting, walking, being elevated, and taking activated charcoal tablets can all help the gas pains.
8. TAKEAWAY | Being 6 days post-op, my incisions are healing and have "crusted up", I no longer sleep on my back and can sleep normal, and at this point, the CO2 gas is almost all absorbed. The surgery was quite the experience, a little painful the first couple days but .... the recovery is faster than you think. Take care of yourself, and again make sure you walk around and move slow as your body will let you, it WILL help. I feel great and pretty much back to normal 6 days later, and have my post-op appointment in a couple days. My procedure consisted of my cyst being removed and sent to the lab which I will be receiving the new on later. My GYN did not find anything to be abnormal or wrong such as her initial fear of endometriosis. I am glad that I had the procedure done and I hope this information helped any of you to gain information based on experience and possibly calm nerves for first time patients. This was my first surgical procedure and it is safe to say... it was a lot less scary than I had expected.
Thank you for reading and blessings to you all!
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