Monday, April 30, 2012

Ovarian Cyst Surgery and Recovery Process

Hi Y'all!  So I'm back, not fully recovered kind of back but semi recovered back ;)  

It has been one week since my surgery and I just wanted to share this whole process with all my fellow women readers to help you know how to deal with something like this happening to you or even how to react if this is happening to a loved one or friend of yours.  

Surgery in general is scary (especially if it is your first procedure) and I hope that by reading this it might help take some of the fear of the unknown away.  

Also, I want to give a HUGE thank you for all the love, support and prayers!!!  It turned out to be a BENIGN ovarian cyst and tumor :)  

aka my huge ovarian cyst

Day 1 
(pre-op, the day before the surgery)

No shaving this day.  No eating or drinking after 6pm. Take off all finger and toe nail polish.
When I went into my appointment my OBGYN made me sign a waiver making big decisions about if I wanted to save the ovary or not and all the other "if they found this then they will take that" scenarios.  I recommend bringing your husband or loved one with you to this to help make the right choices together. Then I had a lot of blood work done, a full physical exam and a surgery prep talk with a nurse.  I have gotten a lot less afraid of blood work lately, I quickly discovered that the idea of it was more scary than the actual drawing of it.

After my pre-op appointment, I went home to pack for the big day.  I brought slippers, a moomoo (long nightgown), Burt's Bees tinted chapstick (it will make you look like you have some kind of color and keep you lips from being so dry), a small and regular sized pillow for the car ride home.  As I was putting everything in my bag my husband gave me one last thing to put in it, a diamond studded cross necklace that he bought for me to wear after the surgery, since you can't wear anything during it, including make up, lotion, deodorant or jewelry.  

I kissed him and then drank this awful drink they make you take to "clear your system."  Don't panic if it takes a few hours to work (try to take this earlier in the day as opposed to later at night or you will still be going in the morning).  And I skipped that dang enema - NO WAY was I going to do that, my doctor said so long as I only had a liquid based soup before 6pm and drank the whole bottle of that nasty lemon flavored stuff, then I could skip it ;)

Day 2

I honestly don't remember much of this day, besides the fact that I was scared to death in the pre-operating waiting room by myself to the point that I started crying and the nurse let my husband come in and be with me while they gave me the iv and asked about 900 questions 900 times.  The waiting was definitely the hardest part, the surgery itself was the easiest part for me.  You are there and you have to do it, so you just kind of suck it up and face it.  Plus, they start giving you all the pain meds early and the nurses are all really sweet.  I even had an epidural and couldn't feel a thing because I chose to have the pain meds before hand (I highly recommend doing that if you have the option!)  The iv is uncomfortable but not nearly as painful as I thought it would be.  Then they do the anesthesia and next thing you know you are waking up and the procedure is all over.  

My surgeon was the first person to see me and immediately showed me the photo I requested of this monster growing inside me and then he told me the procedure went beautifully, they were able to save my ovary and reconstruct it and also took out my appendix (which is actually very small, like the size of a lime, I didn't know that) to prevent any future infection.  All three doctors were very proud of their work, they said because I was so skinny they were able to use disposable stitches instead of the staples, thank you God, and they were able to keep it all below my belly button :)

I don't remember how I got to my room but when I woke up I had lots of beautiful flowers sent from friends and family, which was much appreciated and a great thing to do for a friend in this situation (I have other ideas listed later, too).  Oh and I baked white chocolate hazelnut cookies and brought them for all the nurses (I guess that's the little chef in me!)  They will treat you extra special if you bring them goodies ;)

The rest of the day I was pain FREE and had a morphine pump that I could push anytime I started to feel pain, everyone told me to stay ahead of the pain, so I just pushed it every 12 minutes or so which the nurse recommended.  You will be very tired.

Day 3
(1st full day of recovery in the hospital)

This day is a little painful and a lot uncomfortable.  Morphin pump got taken away and I was switched to pain meds through my iv which my vein was super sensitive to and that wrist swelled up quite a bit.  You will NOT want visitors, at least I didn't.  I was way too out of it and vulnerable for anyone other than my husband, mother and father to be there.  The less people the better, you won't have the energy to speak to or entertain anyone and you won't feel like being asked any questions or hearing multiple opinions.  

This day your catheter is taken away and they make you get up and walk to go to the bathroom.  You will see yourself in the mirror on the way and your face will be very white and puffy, see photo below (which actually is deceiving, I didn't look anything near that good, lol!)

Then they want you to walk around the hospital later that afternoon, which Prescott and I did a couple of times.  The more you walk in moderation, of course, the better and more speedy your recovery.  USE YOUR GIRDLE!!!  It makes you feel so much more secure.

PS the hospital food sucks!

Day 4
(I get discharged in the PM)

More pain again this day, but not from the incision, from the gas and air that get trapped in your body from the surgery.  My left shoulder had sharp pains in it from trapped air.  I got put on a soft food diet this day.  EAT NON GASEOUS FOODS!  I have remained on a non-gaseous food diet this whole time to keep away the terrible gas pain.  Here is a great list of items to avoid: 

Walked more around the hospital this day, did more of my breathing exercises to prevent pneumonia and was able to be discharged that evening :)

Day 5 and on

I have been walking 2-3 times a day in small increments, sitting in a rocking chair full of pillows (that was very comfortable) and trying to lay sitting up with pillows all around me.  Also, I got a small bumpy rash from my girdle, so I put it on the outside of my gown instead of directly on my skin.  

This is when you will start to be okay with visitors in small increments.  Great gifts are books, nightgowns, popsicles and magazines (some of my favorites are below)

Again I want to give a special thank you to God (first and foremost), my amazingly supportive husband, my loving mother and my optimistic dad.  Of course all of my incredible friends, neighbors and family...
Crystal, Darby, Robin, Amber, Clavel, Jodi, Kathy, Marshall, Kyle, Margaret Anne, Maggie, Anna, Genevieve, Christina, Abby, Bob and Lonnee, Nina, Ashleigh, Sarah, Kate, Casey, Sam, Erika, Constanza, Martha, Stefanie, Jezanah, Tina, Leah, Sangita, Sini, Grandkay, Nana, Grandma, Theresa and Barbara Lee


  1. How did that thing fit inside of your tiny self?!? Glad it is over, you sound like a model patient, so I'll not boss you with any of my nursey advice ;) I had three laparoscopies and I well remember the shoulder and belly pain from being inflated with air during surgery. It takes a few days to resolve, but it does. If you need anything (housecleaning, cooking, errand-running), do Facebook me. I am just across the way and eager to help! And I don't mean that in a cliche kind of way.

    All God's richest blessings during your recovery,

  2. Thanks Leah! I can't believe what an amazing group of neighbors that we have... so supportive. What a great place to spend a recovery ;)

  3. Oh my gosh!!! Carolyn I had no idea you went through all of this last week (til I saw on fb)! I wish I had known, I would have sent you something at the hospital. I am SO glad the surgery went well and you are feeling better though. Also so glad it was benign. You + Prescott are in my thoughts! (and PS you isn't it great to have a hubby to take care of you in the scary times!) xoxoxoxoxoxo ashleigh

  4. Awww, thanks Ash! Yeah, I didn't want to make a big deal out of it or scare anyone because they thought it might be cancerous and I wouldn't know until after the surgery if it was or not, which it wasn't - thank God! So now I just want to share my story for others who might have to go through it, so that they might find a little hope :) And yes, loving, supportive hubbys are the best!!!

  5. I had no idea :( I am so sorry and I can only imagine how frightening it was at first. I am so glad you are okay and that it was only a cyst! Thank you for posting all of that information about it. It makes us women realize how important these checkups are. I'm so glad it all went well! Big hugs darlin

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