Two weeks ago today I had my laparoscopy at UCLH. The surgery lasted for three hours, during which endometriosis was removed from my ovaries, diaphragm, bowel, pouch of douglas, and peritoneum. In addition, my uterosacral ligaments were removed and my ovaries were unstuck from my uterus and peritoneum, and a large number of adhesions were. Overall this is a positive result, and no unexpected complications occurred for which I was at high risk- such as needing a colostomy bag and/or a second surgery to address my more complex areas of endometriosis. In all honesty the most difficult aspect of my admission was being last on the surgical list and having to wait around all day starving and dehydrating my butt off.
My bowel prep the day before was a whole other story though. I wasn’t that stressed about it beforehand, having undertaken one before when I had a colonoscopy. However, my body does love to troll me, so I spent the entire day before my surgery unexpectedly ‘firing from both ends’ (TMI I know- sorry) in my London hotel bathroom while my parents and husband awkwardly pretended not too hear in the bedroom next door. I don’t know what that was about as I was fine the last time I took one. The hilarious/ironic/awful thing was that the bowel prep didn’t even manage to complete itself as I was still going to the loo constantly throughout the next morning, so I ended up having to have an enema too. Life is so cruel!
Since having my surgery I have been approached by a number of people on endometriosis forums asking me to comment on the quality of care I received at UCLH, which is registered as a BGSE specialist centre, but seems to have a somewhat mixed reputation within the endo community. I have decided to write a more detailed post about this at a later point, once I have had my post surgery follow up with my surgeon, so do keep a lookout for that. For now I will say that overall I was pleased with my care throughout my admission and was impressed by how knowledgeable and compassionate my surgical team and nurses were.
I’m now recovering at home with the support of my husband and parents. Recovery is a tricky business isn’t it? Nobody ever prepares you for that. It is a given that you are going to be anxious when preparing for surgery, and people respond to this with understandable sympathy, but afterwards it seems like everyone expects you to be ‘fixed’, happy, and to just get on with life again.
I have been feeling slightly on edge because I am so desperate for this surgery to have worked to have some quality of life again. It’s weird because I think with most operations you know very quickly afterwards whether it has been a ‘success’ or not, whereas with endometriosis being a cyclical in nature it’s much more of a waiting game to find out whether the surgery has reduced or eliminated your symptoms. I don’t like waiting games, I am fed up with them now. Mr B and I also want to try for a baby soon, so I am beginning to secretly stress about that too. I’m really scared about whether I will be able to. I’ve never walked down infertility road but it looks a scary place to be from what I’ve read and the people I have talked to who have been there.
Being off work gives you a lot more time to think about these things. Too much time perhaps.I’ve been feeling quite flat, like I don’t know what to do with myself now. It’s like a big anti-climax as you spent so much time and energy focusing on and preparing for the surgery and then suddenly it’s all over.
On this plus side, I think I’ve been recovering really well. My scars are teeny tiny and healing well, I’m in little to no pain, and my family and friends have rallied around me this time so I am feeling really supported. I’ve never been good at relaxing and putting myself first, so that’s what I am going to work on over the coming weeks I think. I am also going to take up yoga when I’m well enough again to get this body as healthy and strong as it can be. Things ARE going to be better from now on I can feel it…they have to be.
I’m happy to answer any specific questions about surgery, bowel prep, or UCLH if you have any, or to hear about your ideas and tips for post-surgical coping and recovery.