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Sunday, December 18, 2016

What I Wish I'd Known Before Having My Gallbladder Removed

I am 2 months post-op today.
I'm finally starting to feel "normal" again but I still have quite a bit of pain lifting or straining my abdomen.
Here are some things I'd wish I'd known about recovery from this surgery:
- I would wear elastic band waist pants for 4 weeks. 3 of my 4 incisions are right on my waist where I wear my pants. The first time I wore jeans was week 5 (Thanksgiving). I should've bought more nicer swear pants/joggers so I had more than 1 pant option to wear in public.
- I would take the daily maximum allowed dosage of ibuprofen for 7 weeks. I have only stopped taking ibuprofen in week 8. Happily, I don't need it any more but 7 weeks is a long time. I hope my stomach is okay (fingers crossed).
- I would have a BM every time I went to the bathroom (still is the case so we'll see how long this lasts).
- I would need to go back to work slowly. I started back to work full 8 hour days only a week post-op and that was my mistake. Here is my advice for next time: when you think you're ready to go back to work, take one more day off, and then go back half day to test the waters. I was out of PTO so I had to go back before I was ready and I really regret it. I think I could've recovered better/sooner if I had given myself the time, regardless of PTO.
- I would fall in love with ice packs. The hospital sent me home with the best ice pack that I kept reusing. I took it to work for the first week back. I used it almost every night when I got home from work week 2-4. I'm actually using it right now (hurt myself pretty good yesterday moving some boxes to the new house). I love this ice pack and would not have survived without it.
- I would have muscle spasms in my abdomen, like Charlie Horses that take my breath away. They would only last a few seconds but then I would ache for hours.
I'm sure there are more things I wish I would've known but these top the list.
I'm glad I had the surgery but any surgery is a big, life changing deal. Even if a gallbladder removal is typically an easy one to recover from, recovery is hard and everyone recovers differently. I was comparing myself to the stories I read online with people running 10 days later or having zero pain. My story is different from theirs and will be different from anyone reading this little blog post.
If you're having surgery soon or just had one, give yourself time. Our bodies are amazing if we let them do their job and heal.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

4 Weeks Post-Op

It has been 4 weeks since my surgery. I am still in a lot of pain but each day gets a little better. 
I was finally able to wear jeans for the first time yesterday. I missed my elastic band pants. The waistband of the jeans got caught on my steri-strips in my belly button and actually pulled them off when I went the restroom. OUCH!! It was like ripping off a bandaid times 10. 
I still take the max allowed 200 mg ibuprofen tablet each day. I have a hard time bending over, and I cannot lift heavy things. 
This has been a challenge in so many ways but even more so now we are renovating our house. I feel useless so I just sweep, vacuum, and take pictures. I tried to help move the formica counter tops and that was a really bad idea. It is really hard not to over do it.  
My family keeps telling me, "it's okay, pace yourself" but I feel like a lazy bum while they are all sweating and working hard. 
I know this surgery was the best thing for my health in the long-run but I am so tired of being in pain all. the. time.  The outside is healing, I just need to be patient with my inside healing. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Cat is out of the bag...

We bought a house!! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016

I dressed up as Tuesday Addams, Wednesday Addams' blonde cousin.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

1 Week Post-Op

I had surgery 1 week ago. 
My recovered has been interesting. Highs and lows in surprising places. 
Day 1. I don't have much memory of surgery day but I remember Lesley got me a chocolate shake from Chick-Fil-A and it was amazing!
Day 2 was pretty great. I felt good. I had very little pain and was happy to have visitors throughout the day. My sister brought me a strawberry banana smoothie that was the delicious. 
Day 3 post-op was the lowest of lows. I woke up super nauseated and vomited most of the morning which really hurt my incisions, especially my belly button. I could hardly eat anything all day until my grandma brought me magic rice pudding and I ate all of it which really helped. My mom came and watched TV with me and helped me shower. I was too scared to change my bandages because they were bleeding and I was afraid I would split open. I ended up doing it myself later in the day when I wasn't so shaky. 
Day 4 I was back up to the high of day 2 and felt good. TMI but I finally pooped after using lots of stool softeners. (I'm still taking the stool softeners and it's day 8)
Day 5 I started to taper off the pain meds and transition more to ibuprofen. It was tough but okay. I was really happy to have my twin back (she had left on day 2 to go to LA for a few days). 
Day 6 was tough. It was Sunday and I knew I had to go back to work the next day. I tried not to take any opioids and only ibuprofen- that did not go well. I ended up taking a Percocet after dinner so I could sleep. I did put real clothes on and went to my grandma's house for dinner so that was a big step; first time leaving the apartment. I didn't realize most of my incisions are right around my waist line, where I like to wear my pants. Bring on the joggers/fancy sweat pants! Jeans are out of the question for right now. My incisions were still tender and 2 were still oozing. 
Day 7- back to work! The day started out okay but I was in tears after 8 hours of work and only took Tylenol and ibuprofen. I should have practiced sitting up in a desk chair throughout the week but I only laid on the couch or in my bed with a few time of sitting at a table to eat. I feel so much better when I lay down! I took my last Percocet to sleep and had a good nights sleep. 
Day 8- I am back to work but plan to take more breaks. All of my incisions have stopped oozing and I am going band aid free (the adhesive was starting to give me a rash). I still have an ice pack which helps with my incision pain. My side and belly button hurt the worst of the 4. I did not plan on ice packs in my pre-op preparation but I am so glad to have them. They are wonderful!!

I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Incisions

The nurse blew my veins trying to get IV in. It's okay but looks pretty bad.
> I have 4 incisions and they are tender and painful.
> They also filled my abdomen full of air so I'm super bloated.
> Good news is I don't have nausea and my should pain is gone!!
>

Pre-Op Video

video

Gallbladder Removal Surgery

I had my gallbladder removed today via laparoscopic surgery at IMC (Intermountain Medical Center). I'm in a fair amount of pain and on pain killers so I'll write more later.
I'm so glad it was out patient so I'm already home.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Our Day Park Hopping from Disneyland to California Adventure