A week ago I had prolapse surgery to repair my rectocele. You can ready about my decision to have surgery here .
Here is an account of my first 7 days post-op.
Day of Surgery
I had my surgery at about 1pm on Monday Dec 7th and was home by 4:30pm. I was sent home with a catheter and some packing in my vagina. I was also given some sexy hospital panties that were actually quite comfy and better than the mesh ones you get after giving birth.
I was quite dopy and even felt a bit woozy in the car but managed to not barf. I came home and went right to bed where I stayed for the rest of the day and night. My husband brought me some bone broth which was comforting,
The benefit of the catheter is not having to get up to go to the bathroom but I could really only sleep on my back which I like for short periods of time so I found that I did not sleep all that well the first night. I made sure to take my pain meds and stool softeners before I went to sleep. Used a peri-bottle with warm water after going to the bathroom which was super soothing!
Post-Op Day 1 (Tuesday)
When I woke up in the morning I was excited to take out the packing and the catheter. I stood in the bathtub and cut the tube as instructed which deflated the balloon in my bladder - it was a bit of an odd sensation but didn't last long. Then the tube slid out and I was catheter free!
Next came the packing. Have you ever seen the clowns who pull the endless scarves out of a hat? Well, that is what taking the packing out was like. It was never ending!
The rest of the day I stayed in bed and was only up to go to the bathroom. Speaking of going to the bathroom, I pooped! I was shocked! I did not expect to poop on the first day post-op but I did ...and it was shockingly successful! A bit tender and scary but I did it. That was one of my biggest worries...just like the first poop postpartum!
I used the hashtag #postoprecoveryday2 but was advised by a nurse who is following my journey, that it should have been day 1. Surgery is day 0 and the next day is post-op day 1.
I slept and watched cheezy Christmas movies on Netflix and slept some more. I sipped bone broth, drank a lot of water, ate soup and rested. I stuck to the pain med recommendation of 2 Tylenol Extra Strength ever 4 hours and 2 rectal suppositories a day. The pain was very manageable and I only ever had discomfort when I had a bowel movement or felt one coming on. (I had another really loose one later in the day).
I had a fantastic sleep!
Post-Op Day 2 (Wednesday)
I stayed on track with the pain meds for day 2 as instructed. I was in bed for the majority of the day but made sure to shift positions frequently. I took my pain meds and also my homeopathics - arnica and hypericum. I also had several VERY loose poops... partly due to stool softeners but also the pain meds. I also used calendula cream on the incision starting on day 4.
I sat in my herbs and read my book for about 15 mins. Then I dried off (gently) and laid down on a towel and heating pad for my red light therapy. I had been using my Orion LT device for a few months prior to my surgery to support my skin, sleep and thyroid. I know the benefits of red light therapy for tissue healing as well so made sure to include a daily session to support my vagina/perineum. #hoohabiohacking (If youi use code KVOPNI10 you can get a discount at www.orionlt.ca. I have the Orion 500 and LOVE IT!!!
I would open up my Chopra App and listen to a meditation while resting with the red light. Super soothing!
I am treating my post-op recovery much like postpartum recovery and using many of the principles from Mother Roasting. Staying off my feet, drinking broth, eating warms soups, using heat, resting, taking supplements to support tissue healing and immunity like Vitamin C and focusing on recovery.
I showered! After my sitz bath and red light therapy, I had a shower which felt good. I washed my hair, my face, my body and did not feel the need to shave. I soaped my hands and then gently washed my vulva and butt and then just let water rinse it gently.
I spent some time on the couch instead of all day in bed but did still stay off my feet for more of the day.
Post-Op Recovery Day 3 (Thursday)
Pretty much a repeat of Day 2. Wake up, bone broth, poop, sitz bath, red light session, shower, breakfast, rest, lunch, rest, dinner, rest, bedtime.
Post-Op Recovery Day 4 (Friday)
Stuck to my routine but noticed that some discomfort set in late morning so I used a suppository which helped.
Some observations I shared on social;
I looked at my vulva and perineum. I was a bit nervous but it is important to look to monitor healing. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I saw the 2 stitches and looked for any sign of swelling or infection. I started using the calendula cream after my showers to help with healing and to soothe it. It felt a bit sore and tight when I moved in some situations.
Post-Op Recovery Day 5 (Saturday)
I stuck to my usual routine and then late afternoon I had an outing. We went to get our Christmas tree. My husband drove, I got out to pick the tree and then my kids and husband took care of the rest while I went back to the car. We also made a stop a my fave ice cream place (they have vegan ice cream which is sooo good - we are all pretty much dairy free now and we all love their ice cream as a treat!)
Post-Op Recovery Day 6 (Sunday)
Stuck to my routine with a bit more movement around the house. No lifting and I made sure to sit and stand and adjust with caution.
I even spent a couple hours crafting which is something I do every year, typically with my mom and aunt and cousins but with covid...and my surgery...it was a solo effort this year.
Post-Op Recovery Day 7 (Monday)
One week since surgery and sticking to my routine but adding in some more kegels and pelvic tilts and bridges. Only 1-2 sets of 10 and doing them very slow and controlled.
I had a few hours of work scheduled too - I was interviewed for a podcast, I then interviewed someone for a summit I am hosting in Jan, I spoke to an amazing innovator in pelvic health from Hyivy Health and then taught my Prepare To Push™ 101 to a group of pregnant people at South Community Birth Program.
My family and I also decorated the tree last night. The kids did most of it and I supervised. I am now sitting and looking at the tree and starting to feel the Christmas spirit even though this year will be very different!
All in all, the first week has been easier than I had expected. I had much less bleeding than I had anticipated (especially since my period decided to show up 5 days before surgery!), and the pain has also been less than I had anticipated. I was very well prepared for my recovery which I know played a role in reducing the disruption. I am also being very diligent in my recovery and will be working to retrain my core/pelvic floor, seeing my pelvic floor physio at 8 weeks post-op and then beginning a gradual and progressive return to fitness.
Thanks for following along!