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