Endometriosis is a challenge, one that sometimes feels like it takes away everything that is good. Surgery can be a life-changing event and healing properly and fully is vitally important; here are my ways of dealing with it…
Before the operation:
- Check Endometriosis UK for advice beforehand, always useful;
- Have a shower and remove all jewellery and nail varnish;
- Tell family and friends what will be happening and how you are feeling (I’m not always so good at this one);
- Eat clean food (gluten-free is always a winner 😉 ) and drink lots of water, usually there’s a 12 hour-ish nil by mouth rule, no chewing gum during that time either;
- Write down any questions for your surgeon/anaesthetist beforehand, often the mind turns to mush just before;
- Take your comfy dressing gown and slippers with you (I forgot this time and had to wear a hospital dressing gown more suited to Hodor from Games of Thrones);
- Get used to the incredibly attractive white anti-DVT knee-high stockings;
- Ensure you have someone waiting for you after surgery to hold your hand.
After the operation:
- If anaesthetic/morphine makes you feel horrifically sick like me, be sure to ask for anti-sickness medication. Literally took my nausea away in 2 minutes (even if it took me a couple of hours of writhing with nausea to remember to ask for it);
- Have lots of magazines, books and phone nearby to distract from the pain/discomfort;
- Try to eat even if you don’t want to – the weakness increases the longer you don’t eat;
- Attempt to get up as soon as possible even though it really hurts and wiggle your toes as often as you can;
- Drink lots and lots of water to flush your system through (hopefully with the help of an award-winning straw-in-a-cup-holder like my other half);
- The laparoscopy gas will be weaving its lovely way through your body and can cause excruciating shoulder and stomach pain – peppermint tea is a winner, my other saviour is the electric heat pad;
- Ask the person with you to take notes when you get feedback from your surgeon, even now, 6 days after, I realise how poor my memory has been from all the painkillers etc;
- If you are travelling by car take a blanket or a cushion to protect your precious tum from the seatbelt;
- Take plenty of time off work, have things around you that you enjoy that don’t hurt your tum (for me: booksbooksbooks, Netflix, my phone, laptop, healthy food);
- Watch loads of things that make you laugh (even though laughing hurts), which can include Anchorman, Role Models, Brooklyn Nine Nine, David Brent clips, Parks & Recreation, outtakes from Derek, Greg James & Chris Smith on Radio 1 etc etc;
- Eating codeine like there’s no tomorrow? Buy in bulkloads of prunes. Not the most trendy of fruitage but absolutely necessary. You know what I mean.
- Try not to feel negatively towards those who are not the greatest of support – focus on those that are really there for you;
- If you feel low or want to talk about endometriosis to someone that understands, you might want to call the Endometriosis UK helpline.
For those of us that have been through this a few times this will be like sucking eggs. I have another major operation due soon and I’ll be reading this before I go in fo sho!
All the best, Emma x