Okay, the title is misleading but in my head today marks the end of the designated six weeks of recovery. It’s slightly longer than six weeks but yesterday was my appointment with Dr Reid and today I’m flying home and have such a busy week ahead of me before I flee this stunning city and land in cold cold Denver.
Since Friday I’ve felt human. I’m crediting the massage from Pete. Best thing ever. He released my hips, eased my back and shoulders, and did a little work on the abs to ribs connection area. It was the perfect way to get some relief from the aches of surgery and subsequent sitting on my arse doing nothing.
Sunday I had what I’d think of as a normal Sunday. I got up and went for a walk then did groceries and traipsed around the shops looking for flight socks, then sat down on the floor and wrapped Christmas presents. All in a row and I didn’t feel bad at all, a little tired but not bad or achey. After an episode of something I baked Nutella banana bread. Get to it, it was awesome! It felt so good to be human again.
Monday I went and saw Dr Reid. It was lucky that I trusted my calendar and went in for 0900. Until about 0730 I’d thought the appointment was at 0930, a bit of a rush but no worries, I got there with five minutes to spare. I headed in and Dr Reid had a look at the vault and said everything is healing quite nicely. She said she put in dissolving stitches that will not dissolve until three months. She uses this tricky stitch that is continuous and barbed so she doesn’t have to try and tie knots using chop sticks 😀 that’s pretty cool, didn’t know they existed. She said I’m fine to go back to my regular life, though I’ll be slowed by my body, take it easy. There will be no lifting for a few months still.
I asked about the precautions for dvt on both these flights. She said 150mg of aspirin (half a tablet), wear flight socks (found them in Box Hill), drink water, bounce legs and move around as much as possible. Being in business class for the long flight is a huge help…you can put your feet up, win.
I even walked from Box Hill station to the hospital and back, and from Ferntree Gully Station to home as well. I felt so good even after about four hours of travelling etc.
Today I have had a pretty big day, I flew home and went to work. So I didn’t flap my wings and fly and I was only at work for a few hours. But both those things happened, so they count. The flight was fine in the reclined position; the take off took a bit longer than normal so I was vertical for quite some time, that got to be a bit achey. The landing was fine, it only took about 20 minutes of vertical. Then at work I sat in my chair for about half an hour then went to lunch with Pat and Steve, which was sitting for an hour on a stool, I was exhausted and went home after that. Had a lie on the couch for a while and got the car going. My abs and obliques feel all very tired but not painful, so I’ll just build this sitting thing. Funny story: When Kris got to mine she tried to start the car – nope. I got home from work and tried again – nope. I called RACV and they turned up, turned the key and hey presto. Irritating. So the old girl is sitting out the back running 🙂
Some things that I think have really helped me in this recovery (in no particular order):
1. Not being at home. I know it’s probably not practical advice for most people but I found that being away from my work and normal life meant that I wasn’t pushed to do too much too early. I was stuck relaxing for six weeks.
2. If you can take six weeks do. I don’t know how I would have gone if I’d had to return to work earlier. I guess I’d have found a way but it wouldn’t have been pleasant.
3. Have heat packs. Those first four days I really needed them on my shoulders and diaphragm. The nurses said not to put them on the incisions themselves to reduce chances of bruising, else was great for the gas pains. Plus they can be put in the freezer for ice packs if you get swelly belly, its felt nice on hot days at least 🙂
4. Join up a forum or Facebook group so you can chat with others in the same boat. It was really nice to see how people with operation dates around mine were recovering. Of course they are no substitute for a doctor if you’re in pain or bleeding but for everything else, very good.
5. Having something to look forward to. I had a huge reason to not do too much too soon and make sure I recovered properly…Denver! Find something to look forward to at the end of all this.
6. Shop around for a good surgeon. They make a huge difference to the impact on your body and the recovery time. And if you’re super lucky like I was you’ll find one who also looks after your head. Win.
7. Deep breathing. The first time I did it I felt like I was oxygen deprived after three breaths, but persevere. It was good to clear the lungs after surgery but also for calming before and after. I keep doing it to help calm my brain while thinking Denver.
Some big thank you’s (again, no particular order):
Mum thank you for coming and visiting me in Perth after the cone biopsy and in Boronia after the hysterectomy. It was great to have you for moral support and for doing everything for me those first few days/weeks.
Ben and Leanne a huge thank you for hosting me and putting up with me these last six weeks. Sure it’s my house but it’s your home and you welcomed me the whole time. Thank you.
And make sure you give Kenzi lots of cuddles from me! I’ll miss that chicken.
Onj a big thanks for picking me up after the LLETZ even though I think you were less well than I was!
Ally, Onj, Vic, Pete, Graham, Freebs, Noel, Al, Ma, and Pa for checking up on me and helping me to avoid the mad boredom.
Last but not least Dr Reid, an immense thank you for the wonderful job that you did. You were caring and helpful. So gentle in the surgery that I’m healing really well. So accommodating if my schedules. If every anyone needs a gyno in Melbourne, call Dr Reid…best you’ll find. She looks after both your head and body.